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Evaluation of the Juvenile Diversion Program in the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office - A Preliminary Evaluation

NCJ Number
G D Litton; L Marye
Date Published
60 pages
This preliminary evaluation of an Orleans Parish (La.) juvenile diversion program indicates that it has thus far met its goals of at least 80 percent successful completions and less than 20 percent recidivism within 1 year of program completion.
The District Attorney's Juvenile Diversion Program, which is intended for preadjudicated juvenile first offender felons (excluding murder, rape, and robbery) and first offender high misdemeanants, provides evaluation, family and individual counseling, parent involvement, restitution to the victim, tutorial services, and use of community resources. The program also purchases needed community services not provided by the program. The program was expected to decrease significantly the number of delinquency cases handled annually by the juvenile court and provide an alternative to informal probation. To arrive at a tentative conclusion about how successful the program was in reducing delinquency, two comparison groups were developed. The first group consisted of persons refused admittance to the program, and the second group was composed of a sample of juveniles informally handled by the probation department in lieu of prosecution. After 1 year of operation, the diversion program shows a recidivism rate of 2.7 percent, while the control groups showed a significantly higher recidivism rate. The goal of 80 percent successful completions was met, and there was a 10.9 percent decrease in the number of juveniles appearing before the juvenile court. Tabular data and recommendations for improvement are provided.