Aug. 6, 1999
Contact: Carey Hoffman
Cincinnati -- A new study conducted by University of Cincinnati researchers suggests a commitment to higher quality juvenile justice programs in Ohio can pay off in significantly reduced future criminal involvement by juvenile offenders.
In an in-depth study of Ohio's Community Correctional Facility (CCF) system, youths who completed the best-rated programs had less than half the rates of recidivism of youths who completed the lowest-rated programs.
"The real value of this study is that it demonstrates that there is a very strong relationship between program quality and how well the youths did after they completed the programs," said Ed Latessa, principal investigator for the study and head of UC's criminal justice division.
The study was conducted by researchers from the criminal justice division and funded by the Ohio Department of Youth Services. It examined the nine locally-controlled facilities set up over the last seven years as part of the CCF system.
Using evaluation tools including data on offender populations and interviews with officials and the Correctional Program Assessment Inventory (CPAI), the study concluded that the Community Correctional Facilities program has been a largely effective alternative program, but that there was a great deal of variability among the nine centers examined. Two of the programs were rated "very satisfactory" on the CPAI scale, two more were rated "unsatisfactory" and the remaining five were either "satisfactory" or "satisfactory but needs improvement." Click here for table.
Overall, the studies' authors recommended the continuation and expansion of the Community Correctional Facilities program, with a warning that closer attention be paid to individual program quality. In particular, they identified educational deficiencies and substance abuse as problems that needed more attention.
"These programs match an interest in offering more effective treatment for these kids,"said Latessa. "Program quality is a significant factor. The two highest quality programs in terms of CPAI results were the Butler and Hocking facilities. These programs should serve as the models for new program development."
The CPAI consists of a battery of measurements in areas such
as program implementation, program characteristics and staff
Individual facilities in the CCF study
A second recent study conducted by the criminal justice researchers found that Ohio's juvenile justice system has individual bright spots, but overall is only doing an average job in providing effective intervention for youthful offenders compared to systems in other states.
In a study that looked at 28 facilities around the state ranging from a group home with eight beds to a 350-person diversion program results were in line with similar surveys of other states' juvenile justice systems.
"Although our study found a great deal of variation in the quality of juvenile justice programs in Ohio, the state appears to be very committed to improving the services and interventions offered youth," said Latessa, who was also principal investigator for this study.
A copy on the final report from the second study sponsor, the
Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, is on the World Wide
Web at http://ww