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Fresh Start: A Meta-Analysis of Aftercare Programs for Juvenile Offenders

NCJ Number
Research on Social Work Practice Volume: 25 Issue: 2 Dated: 2015 Pages: 201-212
Date Published
12 pages

This document reports on a meta-analysis aimed at exploring the effectiveness of aftercare programs in reducing juvenile recidivism rates for those who reenter their communities after a period of custody.


A meta-analysis was conducted in order to generate more understanding regarding the efficacy of aftercare programs in reducing the recidivism rates of juvenile offenders reentering their communities following a period of custody. Thirty eligible primary studies were obtained through a systematic literature review and were coded. Recidivism was the outcome variable, and 11 moderating variables were grouped according to either a sample, treatment, methodological, or study characteristic. A summary effect size was computed while moderator analyses and meta-regression were also conducted. The summary effect size of aftercare programs was non-significant, but subgroup univariate and multivariate analyses yielded significant treatment effects for samples of youth who averaged over 16.5 years of age and whose predominant index offense was violent. Well-implemented aftercare programs also yielded substantial treatment effects. The findings suggest that under specific conditions aftercare can reduce recidivism rates for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2015