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Evaluating the Impact of Alternative Placement Programs for Juveniles in a Southwestern State, 1983-1995: [United States] (ICPSR 2991) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study addressed the question of whether alternative correctional programs were more effective than traditional training schools in reducing recidivism among juvenile offenders. Alternative programs were defined as halfway homes, group homes, foster homes, ranches, camping programs, and specialized vocational programs, while training schools were defined as secure, restrictive custody programs in institutional settings. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of alternative program placements versus training school for a 12-year period on 266 juvenile delinquents remanded to youth facilities in a southwestern state in 1983. Subjects chosen for the study were 298 youth who had been committed by a county court to a statewide juvenile corrections program between January 1, 1983, and July 1, 1983. The sample was representative of the youth commission's population of juvenile offenders in terms of age, race, and sex. All were first time commitments, and the original commitment offense for a majority of the youth was a nonviolent property crime, such as burglary or theft. From this original sample, 32 juveniles were eliminated from the study because they were not adequately exposed to either an institutional or alternative program. The final sample consisted of 266 juvenile offenders, of which 164 were placed in institutions and 102 were placed in alternative programs. Youth were not randomly assigned to programs. Juveniles with particular characteristics were automatically assigned to certain types of programs. All violent offenders were placed in institutions. The study was designed to include a lengthy follow-up period, a focus on subject by program interaction effects, and the use of survival analysis to examine the timing of recidivism as well as its incidence. Recidivism was defined as the first arrest or parole revocation that took place within the follow-up period. The follow-up period was approximately 12 years, from the parole assignment until September 1, 1995. Data were collected primarily from the administrative records of the state youth commission. The commission also obtained additional follow-up data from the state Department of Public Safety and the state Department of Corrections. Additionally, family background data were collected from each youth's parole officer in response to a survey conducted specifically for this study in September 1994. Demographic variables include commitment age, race, and sex. Psychosocial variables include family environment and IQ. Other independent variables include program placement status, delinquency risk scales, and program adjustment measures. The dependent variable is recidivism, measured as both a discrete variable indicating whether an arrest occurred and time until first arrest offense after parole.

Access Notes

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Dataset(s)

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Documentation:
Data:

Study Description

Citation

Fendrich, Michael. EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF ALTERNATIVE PLACEMENT PROGRAMS FOR JUVENILES IN A SOUTHWESTERN STATE, 1983-1995: [UNITED STATES]. ICPSR version. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois at Chicago, Institute for Juvenile Research [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02991.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-IJ-CX-0108)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   alternatives to institutionalization, correctional facilities (juveniles), institutionalization (persons), juvenile detention, juvenile offenders, juvenile recidivists, program evaluation, recidivism, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1983-01-01--1995-09-01

Unit of Observation:   Individuals

Universe:   All juveniles who had been committed by a county court to the juvenile corrections program in a southwestern state between January 1, 1983, and July 1, 1983.

Data Types:   administrative records data, and survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide and codebook are provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   A central issue in research on juvenile crime concerns the effectiveness of correctional programs in promoting rehabilitation and reducing recidivism among delinquent youth. This study addressed the specific question of whether alternative correctional programs were more effective than traditional training schools in reducing recidivism among juvenile offenders. Alternative programs were defined as halfway homes, group homes, foster homes, ranches, camping programs, and specialized vocational programs, while training schools were defined as secure, restrictive custody programs in institutional settings. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of alternative program placements versus training school for a 12-year period on 266 juvenile delinquents remanded to youth facilities in a southwestern state in 1983.

Study Design:   Subjects chosen for the study were 298 youth who had been committed by a county court to a statewide juvenile corrections program between January 1, 1983 and July 1, 1983. The sample was representative of the youth commission's population of juvenile offenders in terms of age, race, and sex. All were first time commitments, and the original commitment offense for a majority of the youth was a nonviolent property crime, such as burglary or theft. From this original sample, 32 juveniles were eliminated from the study because they were not adequately exposed to either an institutional or alternative program. The final sample consisted of 266 juvenile offenders, of which 164 were placed in institutions and 102 were placed in alternative programs. Youth were not randomly assigned to programs. Juveniles with particular characteristics were automatically assigned to certain types of programs. All violent offenders were placed in institutions. On average, those with a prolonged or more serious history of delinquency, those who had committed more serious crimes, or those who showed lesser adjustment upon their admission to the youth commission were more likely to have been assigned to institutional rather than alternative programs. The study was designed to include a lengthy follow-up period, a focus on subject by program interaction effects, and the use of survival analysis to examine the timing of recidivism as well as its incidence. Recidivism was defined as the first arrest or parole revocation that took place within the follow-up period. Parole assignment dates for youth in the study varied from mid-summer 1983 until September 1984. The last arrest record found for any case was dated August 1995. The follow-up period was approximately 12 years, from the parole assignment until September 1, 1995. Data were collected primarily from the administrative records of the state youth commission. The commission also obtained additional follow-up data from the state Department of Public Safety and the state Department of Corrections. Additionally, family background data were collected from each youth's parole officer in response to a survey conducted specifically for this study in September 1994.

Data Source:

Administrative records data were gathered from the state youth commission, the state Department of Public Safety, and the state Department of Corrections. Survey data were collected from each youth's parole officer at the time of first commitment.

Description of Variables:   Demographic variables include commitment age, race, and sex. Psychosocial variables include family environment and IQ. Other independent variables include program placement status, delinquency risk scales, and program adjustment measures. The dependent variable is recidivism, measured as both a discrete variable indicating whether an arrest occurred and time until first arrest offense after parole.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   Scales were created to measure family problems, offense seriousness, prior delinquency, and observed behavior. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS IQ) was also used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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