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Improving Programming in Juvenile Detention: The Impact of Project Safe Neighborhoods Youth Outreach Forums

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Dated: May 2024
Date Published
May 2024

This study assesses the impact of Project Safe Neighborhoods Youth Outreach Forums in ameliorating programming in juvenile detention settings.


The results of this study suggest juvenile detention centers may better reduce the future criminal behavior of residents by implementing similar programs to the youth outreach forums program. A growing body of evidence suggests focused deterrence strategies successfully reduce criminal behavior. Very little of this evidence comes from randomized experiments. This paper takes a step toward filling this gap in the literature. Researchers present the results of a randomized experiment evaluating a series of youth outreach forums that leverage several focused deterrence strategies. This paper presents the results of a randomized controlled trial of a youth outreach forums program run in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center (JTDC) by the Northern Illinois Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force. Researchers found the program caused a 20 percent reduction in the number of new spells at the JTDC in the eight months after random assignment and reduced total arrests by 18 percent in the first year after random assignment. While both of these impacts are somewhat imprecisely estimated, the reduction in total arrests is driven by statistically significant 43 and 40 percent reductions in arrests for violent and drug crime, respectively, and a large but less precisely estimated 30 percent reduction in arrests for property crime. These correspond to very valuable and proportionally large reductions in the social costs of crime. Estimates also suggest the forums increase attachment to school. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: May 1, 2024