While numerous residential programs for mentally retarded adolescent offenders have been established throughout this country, no empirically-based population characteristics have been compiled which are sufficient to guide their systematic design. This study assessed 65 such young offenders along various treatment-relevant dimensions, and used the resultant data to portray an average, hypothetical youth. Based on that profile, a compatible habilitation model was derived. It was concluded that a basic point economy, augmented by timeout procedures and supported by a secure (locked) setting, seems to be a viable approach for initiating treatment with these youth. Thereafter, programming should continue in a nonsecure group home, and finally, on an outpatient basis, in the generic community service system.