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Implementing Proven Programs For Juvenile Offenders: Assessing State Progress

NCJ Number
Peter W. Greenwood; Brandon C. Welsh; Michael Rocque
Date Published
December 2012
40 pages
This study assessed how well individual States are doing in providing the best of evidence-based (proven) programming for juvenile offenders, with attention to common factors among States most strongly committed to such programming.
Using the number of "therapist teams" from "proven programs" divided by the total population as the performance measure, the survey found a wide spread between the top five States (Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, and New Mexico) and the other States. There was also a significant difference between the States in the middle range of progress and those that have made little progress. The top five States shared a number of common characteristics. All of them administer juvenile justice programs separate from and not subservient to adult corrections and probation. Four of the five States started exploring evidence-based programming (EBP) in the late 1990s; Louisiana began taking an interest in EBP in 2006. The similarities among these five States suggest how other States might proceed in launching EBP for juvenile offenders. First, turn an identified crisis (ineffective juvenile programming and services) into opportunity (try programs proven to be effective in other jurisdictions. Other features of progress are the structured involvement of all key stakeholders in juvenile justice, the emergence of advocates who persist in installing EBP, the development of local expertise, the pilot testing of new evidence-based programs, the creation of information resource centers, and the designation of a small number of EBPs with State support. Other suggestions are the establishment of special funding for designated EBPs and technical assistance to counties for needs assessment, program selection, and implementation. 8 figures and 49 references