Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $316,712)
The goal of the proposed project is to develop, apply, and evaluate improved techniques to investigate the simultaneous effects of neighborhood and program forces in preventing juvenile recidivism. For many years, program evaluation researchers have presented the question, 'What works to prevent delinquency for whom under what circumstances?' In community settings, answering this question presents a unique challenge, since 'circumstances' includes the home neighborhoods of youths participating in correctional programs. Understanding how programs and neighborhoods jointly shape youth behavior and identifying conditions under which rehabilitative programs are successful are fundamental to planning programs that facilitate positive trajectories for physical, social, cognitive, and affective youth development. Using a number of data sources from Philadelphia, we propose to investigate the simultaneous effects of neighborhood, program, and individual characteristics (including family) on juvenile recidivism using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial data mining. GIS provides the technology to integrate diverse spatial data sets, quantify spatial relationships, and visualize the results of spatial analysis. In the context of juvenile recidivism, this approach will facilitate the investigation of how, and why, recidivism rates vary from place to place, through different programs, and among individuals.