Evaluation of Utah's Early Intervention Mandate: Juvenile Sentencing Guidelines and Intermediate Sanctions, 1996-2000 (ICPSR 3502)
Principal Investigator(s): Van Vleet, Russell K., University of Utah, Graduate School of Social Work; Davis, Matthew J., University of Utah, Graduate School of Social Work; DeWitt, John, University of Utah, Graduate School of Social Work; Brynes, Edward C., University of Utah, Graduate School of Social Work; Barusch, Amanda, University of Utah, Graduate School of Social Work
This study was an evaluation of changes initiated by the State of Utah to reduce youth crime: a program of early intervention comprised of Juvenile Sentencing Guidelines and a new intermediate sanction called State Supervision. Together, the Sentencing Guidelines and State Supervision sanction were designed to bring about a reduction in juvenile recidivism rates and subsequently reduce the number of offenders placed out of the home in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections by 5 percent. Researchers combined quantitative measures of sentencing guidelines compliance and recidivism rates with qualitative interviews of juvenile justice system personnel and youth offenders. Data were gathered on all offenders receiving a sentence to probation for the first time from January to June during 1996 and 1999, enabling a comparison of offenders before and after program implementation (Part 1, Juvenile Information System Data). Part 1 data include demographic data, prior charges, age at start of probation, detention use, reoffense, and commitment to Youth Corrections. Interviews with 168 court and corrections personnel were conducted in two interview rounds, from June to December 1999, and again from July to September 2000, soliciting their views of the sentencing guidelines, state supervision, and probation (Parts 2-3, Juvenile Justice System Personnel Interviews, Rounds 1 and 2). Interviews with 229 youth offenders obtained information on their involvement with and views of the sentencing guidelines, state supervision, and probation during a single interview in either the first or second round (Parts 4-5, Youth Offender Interviews, Rounds 1 and 2). A random sample of paper case files for pre- and post-guideline offenders was selected to analyze changes in contact and interventions provided (Part 6, Youth Offender Case File Analysis). These files were examined for documentation of contact frequency and type with offenders and their families and the number and types of programs used.
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Van Vleet, Russell K., Matthew J. Davis, John DeWitt, Edward C. Brynes, and Amanda Barusch. EVALUATION OF UTAH'S EARLY INTERVENTION MANDATE: JUVENILE SENTENCING GUIDELINES AND INTERMEDIATE SANCTIONS, 1996-2000. ICPSR version. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03502.v1
Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03502.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (98-JB-VX-0111)
Scope of Study
(1) Due to the high number of youth offender case files that could not be found and the low number of files obtained that contained sufficient offender and family contact information, the researchers did not conduct an analysis of the paper case files. Self-reports from offender interviews were substituted. (2) The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided by ICPSR as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. 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.
Study Purpose: This study was an evaluation of changes initiated by the State of Utah to reduce youth crime: a program of early intervention comprised of Juvenile Sentencing Guidelines and a new intermediate sanction called State Supervision. Utah's Juvenile Sentencing Guidelines were an attempt by a sentencing commission to structure juvenile court sentencing flexibly, using advisory, offense-based guidelines that covered the continuum of sanctions available for juvenile offenders. Policymakers designed a sanction intended to create locally-designed, intensive service programs that would be largely in-home efforts, with short-term out-of-home placements in a community setting when needed. Taken together, the Sentencing Guidelines and State Supervision sanction were designed to bring about a reduction in juvenile recidivism rates and subsequently to reduce the number of offenders placed out of the home in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections by 5 percent. The objectives of this evaluation were to: (1) assess the ability of a state to implement juvenile sentencing guidelines and an intermediate sanction designed to intervene earlier in the lives of juvenile offenders, (2) assess the effectiveness of this earlier intervention program on reducing criminal activity and rates of commitment to Youth Corrections, and (3) identify local approaches to the new program that show promise.
Study Design: Researchers combined quantitative measures of sentencing guidelines compliance and recidivism rates with qualitative interviews of juvenile justice system personnel and youth offenders. Using the Juvenile Information System database, the researchers gathered data on demographic characteristics, prior charges, age at start of Probation, detention use, reoffense, and commitment to Youth Corrections for all offenders receiving a sentence to probation for the first time from January to June during 1996 and 1999, enabling a comparison of offenders before and after program implementation (Part 1, Juvenile Information System Data). Interviews with 168 court and corrections personnel were conducted in two interview rounds, from June to December 1999 and from July to September 2000, in their place of employment (Parts 2-3, Juvenile Justice Personnel Interviews, Rounds 1 and 2). All adults in the first round were solicited for the second round in order to allow participant feedback on results from the first round. Court and corrections personnel interviews were typically one hour long during Round 1 and one-half hour long during the second round. Five research assistants conducted the interviews, two during the first round and three during the second. The 229 offenders were interviewed once in either the first or second round (Parts 4-5, Youth Offender Interviews, Rounds 1 and 2). Interviews with most offenders were held at the probation office, detention center, or other placement facility. Six offenders were interviewed in their homes. All offenders were interviewed alone with the exception of four youths whose parent(s) requested to be present during the interview. Offender interviews typically lasted between 15 and 25 minutes. Offenders were given three hours of work credit for participation. In addition, a random sample of paper case files for pre- and post-guideline offenders was selected to analyze changes in contact and interventions provided (Part 6, Youth Offender Case File Analysis). These files were examined for documentation of contact frequency and type with offenders and their families and the number and types of programs used.
Sample: Purposive sampling (Miles and Huberman, 1994) was employed to create a qualitative sample that adequately reflected the wide range of persons involved in the new program and in each geographical area. Study participants were chosen as follows: All permanent judges, trial court executives, and chief probation officers in the state of Utah were solicited to participate due to the centrality of their contributions to the new program. All probation officers who specialized in provision of State Supervision services and program providers were solicited for participation to ensure a complete description of State Supervision programs. Forty percent of all full-time intake and probation officers in each judicial district and assistant regional directors and case managers in each correctional region were solicited for participation. These participants were chosen at random from a list provided by the chief probation officer in each court district and the central administration of the Division of Youth Corrections, respectively. Additionally, a list of prosecutors and defense attorneys provided by each chief probation officer was used to randomly solicit participation from one person in each category in each judicial district. Finally, interviews were sought from five offenders on each participating field or State Supervision probation officer's caseload. These offenders were randomly chosen from a list provided by the officer. Participants were recruited using the following protocol: The head of each agency sent a letter to employees of the agency requesting accommodation of the evaluation. Informed consent was obtained from all adult participants and parents or guardians of minors. Case files for 10 percent of offenders receiving a sentence to probation for the first time in the first six months of 1996 (n = 87) and 1999 (n = 110) and 10 percent of first-time State Supervision offenders in 1999 (n = 45) were selected. Forty-three percent of files were unable to be located, resulting in a total sample of 122 files.
Data were gathered from three sources: the Utah Juvenile Information System's computerized database, interviews with juvenile justice personnel and youth offenders on Probation and State Supervision, and paper case files of Probation and State Supervision offenders.
Description of Variables: Variables in Part 1, Juvenile Information System Data, include judicial district, rural or urban district, cohort year, date probation began, ethnicity (white or minority), sex, age at first offense, age at start of probation, total prior offenses, total prior offenses by type (felony, misdemeanor, violent, sexual, drug or alcohol, person, property, public order, and technical), days to reoffense, whether reoffended, days to reoffense by type, committed to Department of Youth Corrections (DYC), days to DYC commitment, one year prior and one year follow-up offenses (total and by type), days on probation, days in detention or observation, and days in DYC community placement. In Parts 2-3, Juvenile Justice Personnel Interviews Rounds 1 and 2, judges, probation officers, State Supervision officers, youth corrections staff, program providers, and prosecuting or defending attorneys were asked whether the sentencing guidelines were helpful, whether others in the juvenile justice system were aware of the sentencing guidelines and their purpose, whether youth and their parents were aware of the guidelines and their purpose, what areas of the guidelines were confusing or problematic, and whether the sanctions recommended by the guidelines were overly intrusive, appropriate, or too lenient. In Parts 4-5, Youth Offender Interviews Rounds 1 and 2, interviewers asked youth offenders about their familiarity with Utah's sentencing guidelines, how long they had been on probation, whether they were on probation or State Supervision, the frequency and types of contact with their probation officers, which after-school/rehabiliation/counseling programs they had participated in as part of State Supervision, which programs were helpful and why, and what the differences were between probation and State Supervision. In Part 6, Youth Offender Case File Analysis, variables include probation office where the youth was interviewed, whether the youth was on State Supervision or probation, days on probation, contact history, family contacts, and programs the youth was involved in as part of State Supervision.
Response Rates: The response rates for juvenile justice system personnel were as follows: Judges, chief probation officers, combined field/intake officers, and program providers: 100 percent. Field probation officers: 93 percent. Intake probation officers: 90 percent. Youth corrections administrators: 83 percent. Youth corrections staff: 75 percent. State supervisions officers: 73 percent. Trial court executives: 67 percent. Overall, 20 percent of adult participants from Round 1 dropped out, 24 had left employment with the court, and 8 withdrew from participation, resulting in a 14-percent attrition rate. The response rate for juvenile offenders was 84 percent. The response rate for all interviewees was 86 percent.
Original ICPSR Release: 2003-07-03
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