- In fiscal year 2012–2013, how successful were Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act programs and initiatives, as measured by the six state-mandated outcome measures and county-mandated supplemental measures?
California's Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act was designed to provide a stable funding source for juvenile programs that have been proven effective in curbing crime among at-risk and young offenders. It provides funds to counties to add evidence-based programs and services for juvenile probationers identified with higher needs for special services than those identified for routine probationers, at-risk youth who have not entered the probation system but who live or attend school in areas of high crime or who have other factors that potentially predispose them to criminal activities, and youth in juvenile halls and camps. The Board of State and Community Corrections is required to submit annual reports to the California state legislature measuring the program's success for six outcome measures: (1) successful completion of probation, (2) arrests, (3) probation violations, (4) incarcerations, (5) successful completion of restitution, and (6) successful completion of community service. Each county can also measure supplemental outcomes. For the six state-mandated outcomes, differences between program participants and comparison-group youth are mostly positive, though relatively small. County-developed supplemental outcomes, which measure performance of program participants at program entry and again at a later time, tend to be more favorable.
Program Youth Showed Significantly More Positive Outcomes Than Comparison-Group Youth
- In programs that used historical comparison groups, only a few big six outcomes differed significantly between the two cohorts, thus meeting the program goal of doing at least as well as the previous year's cohort.
- Simple comparisons between the groups were, for the most part, supported by difference-in-differences analyses.
- With the exception of School-Based Probation Supervision for High School Probationers (SBHS-PROB), programs that used contemporaneous comparison groups were small and showed no significant differences between program and comparison-group youth.
- SBHS-PROB participants showed more positive outcomes for three of the big six outcomes, while comparison-group youth did significantly better on two outcomes.
- Programs that used a pre-post evaluation design targeted mostly at-risk youth, who showed no significant differences between pre- and post- measurement periods.
- Results within any given program showed very small year-to-year differences in outcomes over the years that we have been evaluating Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) programs in Los Angeles County.
- For most programs, the largest contributor to total juvenile justice cost was the cost of administering the JJCPA program itself.
- Comparing costs in the six months following program entry and the six months before program entry, several programs did produce average savings in several important outcomes, including the costs of arrests, court, and camp.
- Several programs had smaller samples for supplemental outcomes than for big six outcomes.
- This report is based on officially recorded outcome data only and makes no attempt to evaluate the quality of program implementation.
- Increase the amount of data available for supplemental outcomes for all Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act programs.
The research reported here was conducted in the Safety and Justice Program, part of RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment, a division of the RAND Corporation.
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