Adolescence, the period between childhood and adulthood, brings with it physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes and is the most important period in the development of human beings. Adolescence brings with it an enormous series of growth and development both from a physiological point of view, as well as from social and cognitive ones.
Regarding the efficiency of the measures implemented within the context of youth justice, studies show the importance of implementing programmes, especially those based on cognitive behavioural theories, in order to reduce the risk of reoffending. Furthermore, from the point of view of efficiency and quality, highly recommended practices for youth offenders include: the use of valid and standardised tools of assessment for inmates with the aim of identifying any action necessary; and the introduction of spaces and services appropriate for the risks and needs found, as well as for the needs of these inmates and for identifying said action so that the potential of young offenders can be developed.
In the case of minors and young people who have committed offences, rehabilitation related approaches are aimed at constructing/developing socially acceptable behaviour and preventing them from reoffending. Specific education and assistance for vulnerable persons includes educational, therapeutic, sports, recreational and cultural programmes, designed in accordance with the time they are to spend in custody so that the period of detainment is constructive.
The defining concept that must condition all action taken is the fact that a young person with a problem is no different from the rest. This means that, during the rehabilitation process for young offenders, the first and most important step is to allow them to be responsible for and acknowledge the consequences of their behaviour, thus meaning that punishment is not a solution in itself if it does not deal with the real problem.