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Young Adult Court: A New Approach to Justice

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $783,834)

The applicant proposes to partner with the Superior Court of California, Orange County (OC) to conduct a prospective randomized controlled trial of a new Young Adult Court (YAC) in Orange County. The goal of YAC’s is to provide an alternative to regular justice processing that takes the developmental differences between young adults and older adults into account. Successful completion of YAC results in a reduction of felony charges to either misdemeanors or to dismiss them completely. Without evidence on the effect of YACs, the potential of YACs to reduce the impact of a criminal record remains untested. Findings from this research have the potential to improve criminal justice decision-making by providing evidence on the impact of YACs. The OC YAC will be modeled off the existing San Francisco (SF) YAC that has been in operation for three years. Researchers will interview 40 YAC male graduates from the SF YAC for qualitative interviews to assess their experience with the program. In OC, researchers will recruit a sample of 180 males between the ages of 18-25 who are charged with felonies and randomize them using a computerized random number function to either treatment or control groups (90 treatment, 90 control). Over the course of the three-year project, participants will be recruited, randomized and interviewed a total of seven times to assess change in behavior, perceptions, and social experiences. The researchers hypothesize that participants involved in the OC YAC will demonstrate reductions in recidivism and improvement in social/developmental outcomes compared to the randomized control group.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: August 31, 2018