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Adolescent Diversion Program: A First-Year Evaluation of Alternatives to Conventional Case Processing for Defendants Ages 16 and 17 in New York

NCJ Number
Michael Rempel; Suvi Hynynen Lambson; Carolyn R. Cadoret; Allyson Walker Franklin
Date Published
January 2013
59 pages
This paper presents the results of an evaluation of New York State's adolescent diversion program.

This paper presents the results of an evaluation of New York State's adolescent diversion program (ADP) for offenders aged 16 to 17. Key findings from the evaluation of the program include the following: across the nine pilot counties where the program was implemented, 9 percent of all 16- and 17-year-old defendants participated in the program and 15 percent of all defendants meeting local eligibility criteria participated in the program; 82 percent of ADP participants were arraigned on a misdemeanor, 22 percent of participants were female, 33 percent of participants had a prior arrest, and 21 percent had a prior conviction; the effect of the program on re-arrest rates was relatively the same for ADP participants (22 percent) and those in a comparison group (21 percent); and ADP participants were less likely than comparison cases to be re-arrested within 6 months on felony charges and less likely to be re-arrested on violent felony offense charges. This evaluation was conducted to determine the effectiveness of New York State's Adolescent Diversion Program aimed at keeping 16- and 17-year-old defendants out of adult criminal courts. The evaluation examined all criminal cases that began in the first six months the program was in operation in the nine pilot counties selected for inclusion in the program. The program provides a rehabilitative, developmentally appropriate approach to dealing with late adolescent criminal behavior in order to reduce the use of conventional criminal penalties for this group of offenders. The findings suggest that the program does not jeopardize public safety, it produces a lower re-arrest rate for new felonies, and it is most successful with high-risk offenders. Study limitations are discussed. Tables, references, and appendixes