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NCJ Number: 63157 Find in a Library
Title: EVALUATING A DELINQUENCY INTERVENTION - A COMMENT
Author(s): A C GORDON; M D MALTZ; D MCDOWALL; R MCCLEARY
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Illinois Dept of Corrections
Springfield, IL 62794
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS CRITIQUE OF AN EVALUATION BY THE AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH (AIR) OF A DELINQUENCY INTERVENTION PROGRAM DISPUTES THE ORIGINAL EVALUATION FINDINGS.
Abstract: THE SUCCESS OF THE ILLINOIS UNIFIED DELINQUENCY INTERVENTION SERVICES (UDIS), WHICH OFFERS A BROAD RANGE OF ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUTHS WHO WOULD OTHERWISE BE INCARCERATED IN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (DOC) INSTITUTIONS, WAS CONFIRMED BY AIR WHEN RESEARCHERS COMPARED THE RECORDS OF YOUTHS IN UDIS WITH THOSE OF YOUTHS SENT TO DOC. THE AIR AUTHORS FOUND LITTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UDIS AND DOC IN TERMS OF THEIR EFFECTIVENESS IN REDUCING RECIDIVISM. THEY REPORTED A PROFOUND DECREASE IN THE DELINQUENT ACTIVITY OF YOUTHS PLACED IN EITHER UDIS OR DOC. THIS CRITIQUE FOCUSES ON THREE MAJOR AREAS: (1) VALIDITY OF THE AIR FINDINGS, (2) PERSUASIVENESS OF THE EXPLANATIONS GIVEN FOR THOSE FINDINGS, AND (3) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECIDIVISM AND THE QUALITY OF CARE. CRITICISM OF THE MAJOR FINDING--THAT DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR WAS PROFOUNDLY 'SUPPRESSED' IN BOTH PROGRAMS--CENTERS ON THE AIR FAILURE TO MAKE CLEAR THAT OVER 30 PERCENT OF THE DELINQUENTS WERE OBSERVED FOR LESS THAN 1 MONTH IN THE POSTINTERVENTION PERIOD. ANOTHER POINT OF CONTENTION FOCUSES ON THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE AIR REPORT ABOUT THE COMPARATIVE EFFICACY OF THE VARIOUS PROGRAM OPTIONS WITHIN UDIS. THE AIR REPORT CLAIMED THAT THE 'LEVEL 3' PLACEMENTS, THE MOST INCARCERATIVE, WERE THE MOST EFFECTIVE. THE AUTHORS ASSUMED THAT LEVEL 3 PLACEMENTS WERE MORE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE MORE 'CONVINCING' TO THE YOUTHS AND THEREFORE WERE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY. THEY ARGUED THAT GROUP HOMES WERE NEITHER PLACEMENTS AT HOME NOR 'DRASTIC' ENOUGH TO AFFECT THE YOUTHS. CRITICISM OF THESE CONCLUSIONS HINGES ON THE ARBITRARY CATEGORIES USED, THE MEANING OF PLACEMENT LABELS, AND IMPACTS OF REGRESSION AND MATURATION ON BEFORE-AND-AFTER COMPARISONS. FINALLY, THE USE OF RECIDIVISM AS A SINGLE MEASURE OF PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS IS A SINGULARLY MISLEADING MEASURE FOR CHARACTERIZING WHAT UDIS MEANT TO ACCOMPLISH. THE AIR EVALUATION DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO MEASURE THE QUALITY OF THE UDIS PROGRAM, WHICH SHOULD BE CRUCIAL TO ANY EVALUATION. NO REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Critiques; Evaluation techniques; Illinois; Juvenile program evaluation; Juvenile rehabilitation; Program evaluation; Recidivism
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63157

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