Perceptions of participation. The views of male adolescents on the care process in a juvenile justice facility


  • Mijntje D.C. ten Brummelaar University of Groningen
  • Lisanne Gerrits University of Groningen
  • Wendy J. Post University of Groningen
  • Annemiek T. Harder University of Groningen
  • Margrite E. Kalverboer University of Groningen
  • Tamara A. Pultrum University of Groningen
  • Erik J. Knorth University of Groningen


adolescents, juvenile justice facilities, decision-making, participation


In the Netherlands, adolescents who have committed, or are suspected of committing a crime can be placed in a (residential) juvenile justice facility (JJF). These adolescents often have severe emotional and behavioural problems, and have dealt with aversive experiences in their past. In this paper we look at their perceptions on whether they feel that their views have been taken into account in decision-making processes during their stay in the facility. We held semi-structured interviews with 18 adolescents staying in a JJF. In these interviews we focused on their perceptions of participation. We transcribed the interviews using Atlas ti, version 7. We used both theory-driven as well as data-driven codes to analyse the data. In the results we distinguish between the content and setting of decisions (everyday versus higher order decisions), and the general perceptions of adolescents with regard to their participation in decision-making. Results indicate that within the structured context of the juvenile justice facility, there is a degree of freedom in which the adolescents are actively stimulated to participate. Overall, adolescents express forms of participation (feeling listened to, sharing views). This is both the case with everyday decisions and higher order decisions. However, some of the adolescents do not always feel that their participation is meaningful. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of looking further into the factors that underlie the possibilities of participation within coercive care.

Author Biography

Mijntje D.C. ten Brummelaar, University of Groningen

Department of Special Needs Education and Youth Care, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.