In 1987, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) initiated a research and development program to design, test, and disseminate information on an intensive aftercare program for serious, chronic juvenile offenders released from secure confinement.1 OJJDP's desire to focus attention on aftercare was sparked by multiple concerns, including:
  • Escalating juvenile crime rates.

  • Dramatic increases in the number of youth entering secure care.

  • Spiraling costs.

  • The juvenile correctional system's demonstrated ineffectiveness in controlling or reducing delinquent behavior among aftercare populations.
Previous research has shown that recidivism rates among juvenile parolees are quite high, ranging from 55 percent to 75 percent (Krisberg, Austin, and Steele, 1991), and that a large percentage of previously incarcerated juvenile offenders continue their criminal involvement into adulthood (Hamparian et al., 1984). The crux of the problem was that an already overburdened juvenile corrections and aftercare system was increasingly likely to face the kind of youth whom the system historically had either ignored or failed: serious, chronic offenders. The OJJDP initiative was an attempt to develop more effective aftercare interventions to improve the Nation's track record with this most difficult youth population.

The OJJDP intensive community-based aftercare research and demonstration program—known as the Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP)—is a multistage project conducted by David Altschuler, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies), and Troy Armstrong, Ph.D. (Center for Delinquency and Crime Policy Studies at California State University at Sacramento). The project's current and final phases consist of implementation of the IAP model in selected sites and completion of process and outcome evaluations by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD).2 During initial implementation, the participating sites were:

  • Clark County (Las Vegas), NV.

  • Denver, Arapaho, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties (Metropolitan Denver), CO.

  • Essex (Newark) and Camden Counties, NJ (participation ended in 1997; see page 3).

  • City of Norfolk, VA.

To support implementation of the IAP model, OJJDP awarded each site multiyear grants and supplied ongoing training and technical assistance through Drs. Altschuler and Armstrong. Implementation was staggered. Virginia started operations in mid-1993, even before Federal funding for the project was assured; Nevada piloted a small-scale version in mid-1994; New Jersey started operations in the spring of 1995; and Colorado began its program in August 1995. All the sites except Colorado started the project before NCCD began the process evaluation.

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Implementation of the Intensive Community-Based Aftercare Program Juvenile Justice Bulletin July 2000