Published In

Journal of Juvenile Justice

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016


Administration of juvenile justice -- Outcome assessment, Juvenile detention, Administration of juvenile justice -- Evaluation, Recidivism


The assumption underlying juvenile detention alternatives is that youth on probation receiving programming or treatment are less likely to recidivate, whereas youth in detention will be more likely to recidivate. Under a coordinated justice reform effort, a juvenile justice court system serving two southeastern counties in Washington state developed a program (the FAST program) for probation violators that offered 2 sessions of accountability skill development to address targeted criminogenic needs in lieu of a formalized hearing and a subsequent stay in detention. The goal of the FAST program for participating youth was to reduce future probation violations and detention stays. This paper presents an evaluation of the FAST program using propensity score modeling of 434 juvenile probation violators. A comparison of matched groups shows the program does not reduce recidivism or future probation violations among participants, though it does produce the same result as those who received detention. Our explanation makes the case for increasing the dosage (number of sessions) of violator programs, which may be what is necessary to provide a more effective alternative to detention.


Originally appeared in the Journal of Juvenile Justice, volume 5, issue 2, Fall 2016. May be accessed at

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Criminology Commons