Journal of Juvenile Justice
Unnecessary involvement in the juvenile justice system generally results in negative long-term outcomes (Annie E. Casey Foundation Website, 2008). The problem lies in determining when involvement is unnecessary and when it is necessary. A juvenile’s path to detention often begins years prior. Research indicates that unnecessary court involvement may contribute to worse outcomes, which can ultimately culminate in detention (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2006). Youth who are formally processed through court are more likely to be under closer supervision, which, in turn, increases their chances of being caught violating curfew, missing school, or committing another technical violation. To test the effect of system involvement, we examined youth enrolled in two early intervention programs: Juvenile Diversion, which involves formal processing and services, and Early Assessment, a process designed to screen youth out of system involvement. Only low-risk, juvenile law offenders are eligible for either of these two programs. Using propensity score analysis we examined whether youth who participated in Early Assessment were less likely to recidivate than their peers who participated in the Juvenile Diversion Program. Our findings indicate that, 24 months after program completion, Early Assessment participants were significantly less likely to have a new law violation compared to youth who participated in Juvenile Diversion.
Hobbs, Anne M.; Wulf-Ludden, Timbre; and Strawhun, Jenna, "Assessing Youth Early in the Juvenile Justice System" (2013). Academic Publications. 1.