A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative

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Crime & Justice

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There is an increasing movement throughout the United States and abroad to develop cost-effective and evidence-based strategies that enhance public safety, decrease recidivism, and reduce the number of inmates held in correctional facilities. One such recent approach to achieve these goals is the use of justice reinvestment strategies, which promote the reallocation of funds initially designated for imprisonment into other community-based alternatives. Although the available research generally indicates many of the reinvestment initiatives undertaken so far are effective in achieving these goals, much less empirical attention focuses on what aspects of these programs are effective. In response, this study fills a critical gap in this literature by evaluating how different treatment services and offender risk levels influence the recidivism of youth involved in a justice reinvestment program in Ohio. The findings of this study indicate youth who were incarcerated were nearly two times as likely to recidivate during a one-year follow-up compared to similarly matched youth who participated in the justice reinvestment programming. This study also found that the effectiveness of treatment was also moderated to a large extent by treatment modality and offender risk level. The policy implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are also discussed.



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Journal of Crime and Justice