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Effectiveness of Multisystemic Therapy for Gang-involved Youth Offenders: One Year Follow-up Analysis of Recidivism Outcomes

NCJ Number
Children and Youth Services Review Volume: 73 Dated: February 2017 Pages: 107-112
Paul Boxer; Meagan Docherty; Michael Ostermann; Joanna Kubik; Bonita Veysey
Date Published
February 2017
6 pages
This article reports on a study that examined the longer-term (12 months post-discharge) outcomes of gang-involved and uninvolved youth who were referred for multisystemic therapy by their local justice authorities.
This is the first systematic investigation of longer-term outcomes for gang-involved youth in treatment. From an initial sample of 421 youth, the study applied an intent-to-treat analysis to 409 youth with available recidivism data (97 percent retention). Data were analyzed on re-arrests, using non-parametric and event-history analytical methods. Overall, there was a re-arrest rate of 30 percent. This rate did not differ significantly as the function of gang involvement (gang re-arrest, 35 percent; non-gang re-arrest, 29 percent). Also, there were no significant differences between gang and non-gang youth in the number of re-arrests nor in the time to re-arrest. Although gang youth had higher rates of arrest for violent offenses (18 percent) compared to non-gang youth (13 percent), this difference was not statistically significant. Thus, this first study of the longer-term impacts of treatment for gang-involved youth suggests that evidence-based intervention can be effective for this population. Future research should examine whether there are particular components of or different approaches to intervention that are necessary to achieve positive change among gang-involved youth. (Publisher abstract modified)