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Bulletin 6: Changing Lives: Prevention and Intervention to Reduce Serious Offending (Study Group on the Transitions Between Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime)

NCJ Number
Date Published
Brandon C. Welsh, Mark W. Lipsey, Frederick P. Rivara, J. David Hawkins, Steve Aos, Meghan E. Peel, David Petechuk
This final bulletin of the series of six bulletins on the findings from the National Institute of Justice Study Group on the Transitions From Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime (the “Study Group”) reviews effective prevention and intervention programs intended to reduce serious offending in early adulthood.
Five conclusions are drawn about the literature reviewed. First, there is a paucity of high-quality evaluations of programs that have measured the impact on offending in early adulthood. Second, there are some promising signs that early prevention programs can produce lasting effects on offending. Third, there are some promising signs that family-based interventions for adjudicated delinquents that operate outside the juvenile justice system can reduce offending in early adulthood. Fourth, evidence on intervention modalities used with both juvenile and adult offenders indicates their effects are substantially similar. Fifth, there are a number of evidence-based programs for juvenile and young adult offenders that can produce monetary benefits that exceed costs. The focus of the literature review is on the highest quality research studies, i.e., randomized experiments and non-randomized quasi-experiments that establish equivalence between groups. Also included are the most rigorous research reviews, i.e., systematic and meta-analytic reviews. Inclusion of evaluation studies was restricted to those with a sample size of no less than 50 individuals and an outcome measure of criminal offending. Three other criteria were used in the selection of studies. First, the programs implemented during the later juvenile years (ages 15-17) measured their impact on offending in early adulthood (ages 18-29). Second, the programs implemented in early adulthood measured their impact on offending up to age 29. Third, the programs implemented in early childhood measured the impact on offending in early adulthood. Following program summaries, a separate section of the bulletin considers the benefits and costs of selected evidence-based programs. 1 table and approximately 100 references
Date Created: July 21, 2013