Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $785,819)
This is a four-year study of The Bronx-Osborne Gun Avoidance Program (BOGAP), a community based diversion program in New York City for individuals ages 16- 30 with open criminal cases involving first-time felony charges of loaded-gun possession. Incorporating employment training, therapeutic services (cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy), mentorship, and engagement facilitated by credible messengers, the program works to improve participants’ non-violent conflict resolution skills while increasing their mental wellbeing, community connections, social support, and employment readiness. Participants are either mandated to the program as part of a plea deal or they participate pre-mandate as an alternative to incarceration or while an alternative is being considered. The study includes a process and outcome evaluation that compares program participants with a comparison group of similar individuals who qualified for the program but were unable to be served. The study will answer several key questions: 1) Does successful completion of BOGAP result in improved conflict resolution skills, mental health and resilience, social support, and community connections? 2) Does successful completion result in disengagement from criminal behavior and decreased recidivism? and 3) Does successful completion result in lasting, positive attitude changes?
Researchers will measure program effects with five surveys with program participants and the comparison sample as well as analyses of administrative data (program records) and measures of two-year post-program recidivism (rearrest) created with criminal history data. The study will also convene community stakeholder groups to gather input on community needs and issues related to young people arrested for non-violent, gun-related charges. Measuring the potential benefits of BOGAP will help practitioners and policymakers to design similar interventions to successfully reduce gun violence without incarceration in other communities affected by gun violence. CA/NCF