Chat with us, powered by LiveChat What is the Purpose? The purpose of this assignment is for you to think about the effectiveness of get tough approaches, learn about a different approach (justice reinvestment), assess the effect - EssayAbode

What is the Purpose? The purpose of this assignment is for you to think about the effectiveness of get tough approaches, learn about a different approach (justice reinvestment), assess the effect


What is the Purpose? The purpose of this assignment is for you to think about the effectiveness of “get tough” approaches, learn about a different approach (justice reinvestment), assess the effectiveness of one program using this approach, and reflect on the implications of this for juvenile justice.

What do you need to do?

· To complete this assignment, you need to read the following: Labrecque, Ryan M., Myrinda

Schweitzer, and Kelsey L. Mattick. 2018. “A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative.” Journal of Criminal Justice 41(1): 49-61. You can find the reading in Course materials under “Weeks 11-16” in the “Chapter Summaries and Additional Readings” folder.

· You then need to answer the following questions about the reading:

1. Reflect on the “get tough” strategies by answering the follow: (pp. 50-51)

1. What are TWO problems with the use of “get tough” strategies such as prisons?

2. What effects do these have on recidivism (reoffending)?

2. What is justice reinvestment (p. 51) and how is Targeted RECLAIM in Ohio an

example of justice reinvestment (p. 52)?

3. In terms of the research methods:

1. What are the TWO groups that are being compared? (p. 53)

2. Give brief examples of TWO types of programs that were part of Targeted

RECLAIM? (pp. 53-54)

3. What is the outcome that the researchers are focusing on? (pp. 54-55)

4. Reflect on the overall findings in this study by answering the following:

1. What is the overall big result comparing the two groups of youth? (p. 57)

2. How did the effectiveness of Targeted RECLAIM vary by the risk level of the youth? (pp. 57-58) Just bring out two main points here. You do not need to cover all the details.

5. Reflect on this reading and answer

If you were hired by New York State to help improve juvenile justice outcomes, what are some of the things that you would recommend?

· Summarizing and Quoting: In preparing your write-up, you can use some targeted short quotes. If you do so, please cite the page number. What I would really like to see you do is summarize the main ideas in many of your own words. This helps to demonstrate your level of understanding of the material. Please check any summaries against the original text. If the words are too close, it is considered plagiarism. If you want/need to use the exact words, you must quote and provide the page number.

· Answering: I have set-up the assignment into 5 short answer essay boxes for you to address each question individually. I recommend that you write your answer in a text file and then copy and paste the answer to each question into the appropriate answer box.


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Journal of Crime and Justice

ISSN: 0735-648X (Print) 2158-9119 (Online) Journal homepage:

A quasi-experimental evaluation of a juvenile justice reinvestment initiative

Ryan M. Labrecque, Myrinda Schweitzer & Kelsey L. Mattick

To cite this article: Ryan M. Labrecque, Myrinda Schweitzer & Kelsey L. Mattick (2018) A quasi- experimental evaluation of a juvenile justice reinvestment initiative, Journal of Crime and Justice, 41:1, 49-61, DOI: 10.1080/0735648X.2016.1194222

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Published online: 09 Jun 2016.

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Journal of Crime and JustiCe, 2018 Vol. 41, no. 1, 49–61

A quasi-experimental evaluation of a juvenile justice reinvestment initiative

Ryan M. Labrecquea, Myrinda Schweitzerb and Kelsey L. Mattickb

adivision of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Portland state university, Portland, or, usa; bschool of Criminal Justice, university of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, oH, usa

ABSTRACT 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.

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 through the use of justice reinvestment strategies. Justice reinvestment involves reallocating funds that were initially designated for imprisonment into other community-based alternatives in an effort to reduce the incarcerated population and the costs associated with such confinement (Austin et al. 2013; Clear 2011). The available research indicates that many of the reinvestment initiatives undertaken so far have been effective in achieving these goals (e.g., Armstrong et al. 2011; Butts and Evans 2011; Latessa, Lovins, and Lux 2014; Latessa and Lowenkamp 2008; Maloney and Holcomb 2001; Moon, Applegate, and Latessa 1997; Tyler, Ziedenberg, and Lotke 2006). However, it should be noted that reinvestment strategies are not consistent across jurisdictions and much less empirical attention focuses on what aspects of these programs are effective. Such knowledge would certainly be useful to policy-makers and corrections officials in designing and implementing their specific justice reinvestment strategy.

ARTICLE HISTORY received 19 february 2016 accepted 23 may 2016

KEYWORDS Juvenile justice; reinvestment strategies; incarceration; recidivism; deinstitutionalization

© 2016 midwestern Criminal Justice association

CONTACT ryan m. labrecque [email protected]


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 pro- gram in Ohio. This study first examines the context in which imprisonment has emerged as a dominant penal policy in the United States and then explores the reinvestment approach that was undertaken in Ohio to reduce the number of youths incarcerated in the state’s juvenile correctional facilities.

The ‘get tough’ movement

The push for justice reinvestment is not unwarranted given the more recent demand for changes in cor- rectional policy and empirical evidence in support of these strategies. Following the 1970s, the United States experienced a sharp escalation in rates of incarceration (Clear 1994; Cullen and Gilbert 1982). This time frame was marked by a very conservative, ‘nothing works’ approach to corrections rooted in the philosophies of deterrence and incapacitation (LaVigne et al. 2014). Criminal justice reforms seemed to coincide with this punishment orientation. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, state prisons experienced a 50% increase in the rate of incarceration (Wooldredge 2012). Thus, it was believed that rehabilitative efforts were ineffective and that the only solution to dealing with the offender population was by ‘locking ’em up and throwing away the key’ (Cullen and Gilbert 1982).

These ‘get tough’ policies and practices extended beyond the adult system to also impact juvenile offenders. In particular, states that initially promoted indeterminate sentencing – in which the length of sentence was dependent on the amount of time needed to rehabilitate the youth, increasingly began to adopt determinate sentencing. As a result, youthful offenders were given a fixed sentence length based on the committed offense and corresponding statute (Moon, Applegate, and Latessa 1997). Further, legal reforms were designed to get tough on juvenile crime and expand the types of offenses and offenders who were eligible to be transferred from juvenile to adult court without consideration of individual circumstances. Finally, in 1980, an amendment was passed that permitted the institution- alization of status offenders who violated court orders (Moon, Applegate, and Latessa 1997).

Consequently, many attribute the mass incarceration of more than 100,000 juveniles by the end of the 1990s to these conservative policies and practices (Sickmund et al. 2013). Moreover, these drastic increases in incarceration were occurring despite evidence of a decline in youth crime rates (Holman and Ziedenberg 2006). Although these facilities were intended to hold youth at high risk of recidivism or those unlikely to appear in court, the facilities instead became crowded with non-violent juveniles who often did not meet these criteria (i.e., 70%; Holman and Ziedenberg 2006). Following the 1990s, approximately 39% of all juvenile detention and confinement facilities had more residents than avail- able beds (Sickmund 2002).

The mass incarceration of Americans, both young and old, was not inconsequential. Many features of prison have been found to produce undesirable effects. First, prisons are portrayed as ‘schools of crime’. As such, these institutions create a learning environment in which low-risk offenders are able to learn more extensive criminal behavior by socializing with higher risk offenders (Gendreau and Smith 2012). In addition, offenders are also cut off from potential conventional connections within the free com- munity and their risk for recidivism upon release may be increased (Cullen and Jonson 2012). Second, prisons are artificial environments. The skills that offenders learn in treatment while incarcerated may not necessarily generalize or be easily transferable to more natural settings once released back into the community (Gendreau and Goggin 2013). Third, prisons are often characterized by a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach (Clear 2007). This contradicts with the concept that the causes of crime differ for each offender and should therefore be addressed through individualized treatment (Cullen and Gendreau 2001). Subsequently, treatment in prison often does not target the specific factors that influence each offender’s criminal behavior (i.e., criminogenic needs), and the environment itself appears to be detri- mental to the rehabilitative effects of treatment.

These effects have been found in both adult and juvenile populations. A growing amount of litera- ture suggests that incarceration of youth can lead to harmful psychological and behavioral outcomes (Holman and Ziedenberg 2006; Lane et al. 2002; Mulvey 2011). Juveniles who are placed in confinement


tend to demonstrate increased aggressive behaviors due to increased exposure to antisocial peers as well as inmate norms that support violence (see Lambie and Randell 2013). Research suggests that the incarceration of youth does not decrease future delinquency and can negatively impact mental and physical well-being (Holman and Ziedenberg 2006; Mulvey 2011). Considering the past reliance on incarceration to address juvenile delinquency, these effects are alarming and urge policy-makers to consider making a shift.

Criminal justice policies and practices that encompass the deterrence and incapacitation philoso- phies have failed to target the known criminogenic needs associated with recidivism. despite the belief by deterrence advocates that the use of incarceration will reduce recidivism, the research shows that the overall impact of imprisonment may be iatrogenic and may actually increase criminal behavior among some offenders (Cullen, Jonson, and nagin 2011). Studies have shown that between 50 and 70% of youth released from correctional facilities are rearrested between one and two years post-release (see Austin, Johnson, and Weitzer 2005). In contrast, correctional research has provided evidence revealing that offender treatment programs in a community setting produce greater reductions in recidivism than does incarceration (see Andrews and Bonta 2010). Thus, incarceration of youth may not be effective in achieving its intended effect, and there is a need for correctional systems to explore other alternatives.

The more recent shift away from a ‘nothing works’ ideology toward the adoption of rehabilitative efforts has provided some desirable results. not only is there meta-analytic support for reductions in recidivism through rehabilitative efforts in general (see Lipsey and Cullen 2007), but there are also findings favorable to the treatment of youth in the community. There is mounting evidence to sug- gest that youth who receive rehabilitative services locally experience greater reductions in antisocial behavior compared to those in placement settings (dembo et al. 2005; Lipsey 1992). Further, these community-based alternatives reduce incarceration, while also serving to reduce long-term recidivism among youth (Armstrong et al. 2011). The corrections literature indicates that serving juveniles in the community can be a successful approach that accomplishes the goals of reducing the number of incarcerated youth while also producing positive behavioral outcomes.

Alternatives to incarceration

In response to the financial and social costs of imprisonment, the United States has more recently experienced a shift in correctional practices that focus on prevention efforts within the community. In the 2000s, many jurisdictions began to launch justice reinvestment strategies as a mechanism for promoting these efforts and for building on the growing demand for evidence-based practices within corrections (Butts and Evans 2011; LaVigne et al. 2014). Specifically, these justice reinvestment initiatives have aimed to reduce the use of incarceration and instead allocate that designated funding to local, community-based alternatives (see Clear 2011).

Further, these reinvestment strategies often involve multiple stakeholders (e.g., judges, prosecu- tors, defense attorneys, and victims’ advocates) in order to gain support for these policy modifications and incorporate legislative initiatives that promote the use of evidence-based programming (LaVigne et al. 2014; Taxman, Pattavina, and Caudy 2014). As part of this process, states have incorporated various incentives to motivate county officials to serve youth locally. These tactics include: (1) financially reimbursing counties for costs incurred to manage youth locally; (2) requiring the county to pay part of the cost of confining a child in a state institution; (3) increasing the costs for counties to send youth to state institutions; and (4) providing funding to develop programs locally (Petteruti, Velázquez, and Walsh 2009). Other implemented strategies have also incorporated allocating state funding based on reductions in recidivism and revocations for technical violations (LaVigne et al. 2014).

By incentivizing these stakeholders, states can more easily implement key policy reforms to meet the goals of the justice reinvestment model. These reforms have already been seen across multiple states including Arkansas, delaware, Georgia, north Carolina, and Ohio. Of the states that have imple- mented a justice reinvestment strategy, Ohio has been particularly noticeable in its evaluation efforts (Armstrong et al. 2011).


Justice reinvestment in Ohio

Ohio was no exception to the ‘get-tough’ era, and by the early 1990s the state experienced a rapid increase in committed youth. In 1992, the Ohio department of Youth Services (dYS) facilities were running at 181% of their capacity (national Center for Justice Planning 2012). The following year – in response to the severe overcrowding concerns – Ohio developed the Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors (RECLAIM) program in an attempt to divert youth from their state institutions. Through the RECLAIM initiative, Ohio’s counties were finan- cially incentivized not to send youth to the state dYS system, but rather to treat them with correctional interventions in their local community (Moon, Applegate, and Latessa 1997).

After much initial success in reducing the juvenile correctional population (see Lowenkamp and Latessa 2005; Moon, Applegate, and Latessa 1997), in 2009, the state recognized that 6 out of the 88 Ohio counties constituted 63% of dYS’ total commitments, but were only receiving about 26% of all RECLAIM funding (national Center for Justice Planning 2012). In response, Ohio decided to extend this reinvestment initiative by developing an additional Targeted RECLAIM program. Targeted RECLAIM was established to provide more economic resources to those larger counties that were responsible for committing the largest proportion of youth into the dYS system.

In Targeted RECLAIM, participating counties are required to submit yearly proposals for the funding of various evidence-based services to dYS. In these proposals, counties are given the opportunity to advocate for which programs or services they believe are needed in their jurisdiction (e.g., residential programs, cognitive-behavioral interventions, and family interventions). Once approved by the state, counties are able to use this money to pay for these interventions that will serve the youthful offenders in their communities locally. As part of this contract, counties are given targeted goals for reducing their dYS commitments. Counties that fail to reach these goals are placed at risk to receive reduced funding in the following year.

Another requirement for counties accepting these funds for services is to participate in quarterly work group meetings to discuss and address barriers to program implementation. In order to ensure quality assurance, the University of Cincinnati and Case Western Reserve University also serve as support to program providers (Labrecque and Schweitzer 2012). Types of support include, but are not limited to, monthly coaching sessions, skill competency booster sessions, direct observation of services with feedback, modeling of service delivery, co-facilitation of services, and regular implementation meetings to problem-solve and ensure effective implementation of services.

Support for the effectiveness of Targeted RECLAIM can be found in two places. First, since its incep- tion, the dYS population has continued to decrease. Overall, admissions have decreased from 1,579 in 2009 to 522 in 2013 (Ohio department of Youth Services 2013). Further, in the six counties alone, there was a reduction of 712 admissions in fiscal year 2013 (n = 277) compared to the fiscal year 2009 (n = 989; Ohio department of Youth Services 2013). Second, there are now two outcome evaluations that have concluded Targeted RECLAIM is more effective in reducing recidivism than being placed in dYS custody (Labrecque and Schweitzer 2012; Lovins 2011). Given the successes of the program, in 2012 Targeted RECLAIM was extended to include eight more counties and in 2013, one more additional county was added. Thus, Targeted RECLAIM now includes 15 Ohio counties.

Current study

Targeted RECLAIM has been successful in restructuring the investment of funds to particular counties in Ohio and in reducing the number of commitments. Further, there is promising research regarding subsequent reductions in recidivism (Labrecque and Schweitzer 2012; Lovins 2011). However, what has not yet been fully explored is the impact of risk level on the success of youth involved in this program. This is an important concept to address, given that the ‘what works’ literature emphasizes the need to focus treatment primarily on moderate to high-risk youth in order to achieve greater reductions in recidivism (see Andrews and Bonta 2010). Therefore, inclusion of this measure will help to further inform


policy-makers and practitioners of the implications of treatment dosage based on level of risk. Further, Targeted RECLAIM has provided counties with an opportunity to select from a variety of evidence-based treatment options. However, little is known about which treatment approach may be most effective for these varying levels of risk. As such, emphasis should also be placed on analyzing which program types may produce the greatest behavioral change generally, and particularly for those youth who pose greater risk to the community. Likewise, this study fills a critical gap in the literature by evaluating how different treatment services and offender risk levels influence the recidivism of youth involved in the Targeted RECLAIM program.



The participants in this study are youth offenders (ages 12–21) who were brought before the juvenile justice system in the state of Ohio. The experimental group of this evaluation consists of youth who participated in a Targeted RECLAIM service in 2012 (n = 730). County officials selected program partici- pants based on the individual risk and needs of the offender, as well as the availability of programming. A matched comparison control group was selected from those youth who were released from the dYS custody during the same time period (n = 698). The dYS sample was used as a comparison group because without the availability of the Targeted RECLAIM services, many of the youth in the experimental group may have alternatively been incarcerated in the dYS system.

Sample demographics

descriptive characteristics of the sample include gender (1 = male, 0 = female), race (1 = white, 0 = non- white), age, and risk level. Youth were classified into one of the three risk categories: low-, moderate-, or high-risk to reoffend according to the standardized cut-off scores of the Ohio Youth Assessment System (OYAS) as defined by Latessa, Lovins, and Ostrowski (2009).

Treatment services

There are many different types of services offered through Targeted RECLAIM funds. This study has grouped these services into three general types: residential programs, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) programs offered in the community, and family interventions in the community. A brief descrip- tion of these services is now provided.

Residential programs The residential programs that receive funding through the Targeted RECLAIM program vary consid- erably in terms of what types of services are offered within the facility, how youth are admitted to the program, and how long youth remain in the institution.1 A full analysis outlining the differences between these programs is beyond the scope of the current study. However, in general the residential programs offer more intensive services – in terms of dosage and number of services offered – and are designed to target higher risk youth compared to the other Targeted RECLAIM options. Some of the treatment services offered within these facilities include: orientation classes, educational services, mental health services, vocational and job readiness services, substance abuse treatment, recreational services, as well as other cognitive-behavioral structured treatment curricula.

CBT community There are three CBT programs offered in the community that received funding through the Targeted RECLAIM program: Thinking for a Change, Aggression Replacement Training®, and Effective Practices in Community Supervision.


Thinking for a change Thinking for a Change (T4C) is a cognitive-behavioral problem-solving program that consists of both cognitive restructuring and social skills interventions (Bush, Glick, and Taymans 1997). Thinking for a Change is comprised of 25 lessons and is designed to target pro-criminal attitudes and anti-social thinking for change. Thinking for a Change has been endorsed by the national Institute of Corrections and has received favorable evaluation results (see Golden 2002; Wingeard 2008).

Aggression Replacement Training Aggression Replacement Training (ART®) is a cognitive-behavioral program that teaches participants new thoughts, attitudes, and skills necessary to prevent aggressive behavior (Goldstein, Glick, and Gibbs 1998). The ART® curriculum is comprised of three coordinated components: Skillstreaming, Anger Control Training, and Moral Reasoning Training. Aggression Replacement Training has also received favorable evaluation results (Gundersen and Svartdal 2006; Washington State Institute for Public Policy 2004).

Effective Practices in Community Supervision The Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS) model was designed to teach community supervision officers how to restructure the content of their face-to-face interactions with offenders in order to better adhere to the principles of effective correctional intervention (Smith and Lowenkamp 2008). Specifically, this model encourages officers to increase the intervention dosage of treatment to the higher risk offenders, to focus on criminogenic needs, and to use a cognitive-behavioral approach in their interactions with offenders. There have been several evaluations of the EPICS model to date, which have revealed a wide range of positive outcomes, including increased time spent on criminogenic needs (Smith et al. 2012), improved offender–officer relationships (Labrecque, Schweitzer, and Smith 2013a), increased use of core correctional skills (Labrecque, Schweitzer, and Smith 2013b), improved offender attitudes (Labrecque et al. 2013), and reduced recidivism (Latessa et al. 2

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