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Adolescents in Legal Jeopardy - Initial Success and Replication of an Alternative to the Criminal Justice System (From Effective Correctional Treatment, P 103-123, 1980, Robert R Ross and Paul Gendreau, ed. - See NCJ-73342)

NCJ Number
E Seidman; J Rappaport; W S Davidson
Date Published
22 pages
This article describes the development, operation, and results of a multifaceted juvenile diversion program that has been effective in two midwestern American cities in diverting delinquents from deeper penetration into the juvenile justice system.
Thirty-seven youths were referred to the diversion project by juvenile officers as an alternative to a juvenile court petition being filed. Following preassessment by four different interview-based test instruments, two-thirds of the youths were randomly assigned to the experimental group, with stratification for sex, race, police department, and order of referral. The remaining one-third was assigned to a control group. Trained college students matched on the basis of race, sex, and mutual interests worked with youths individually for 6 to 8 hours per week for an average of 4 and one-half months. Strategies used by students combined relationship skills, behavioral contracting, and child advocacy (targeting of community educational, vocational and recreational programs). Results showed that, compared to controls, experimental subjects had fewer police contacts of lesser severity and fewer court petitions filed during the first and second year followup intervals. Also, 71 percent of youths in the experimental group were still enrolled in school at project termination, while only 50 percent of the control group remained in school. It is concluded that further testing is required before this diversion model can be disseminated to other locations. Thirteen graphs, 3 data tables, and 30 references are provided.