Juvenile Justice Bulletin --July 2000 --Notes


1 The terms "aftercare" and "parole" are used interchangeably in this Bulletin. Both refer to the period of community supervision subsequent to release from secure confinement.

2 Previous stages included (1) a comprehensive literature review and onsite assessments of promising aftercare programs; (2) the development of a theory-driven, multifaceted intensive aftercare paradigm; (3) the design of policies, procedures, and training curriculums to support the model; (4) orientation and training provided to eight jurisdictions; and (5) selection of the four demonstration sites.

3 This Summary is available through OJJDP's Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse by calling 800-638-8736 or visiting OJJDP's Web site, www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org.

4 This Bulletin is based on an interim report to OJJDP entitled The Intensive Aftercare Program Demonstration Project: Interim Implementation Assessment (November 1998). The assessment report provides a cross-site summary of IAP implementation and detailed individual reports on each of the four sites. The data presented in the report and in this Bulletin are somewhat different in that the assessment report covered the period up to June 1998 while the Bulletin includes information through December 31, 1998.

5 The model's three program elements must be considered in local IAP design and implementation. They include (1) external environment and organizational factors, which call attention to the need to ensure that the locally developed model takes into account its unique context (e.g., administrative structures) and the need to build support across the entire spectrum of agencies that could be involved in or affected by IAP; (2) overarching case management; and (3) management information and program evaluation, which stresses the need to monitor the IAP program carefully to ensure ongoing program integrity and the need to assess program impact through a formal comprehensive evaluation.

6 Outcome data collection began in fall 1998 for the first wave of IAP and control participants, i.e., those who entered the project during 1995 and 1996 and who were released from the institution prior to August 1, 1997. Because program enrollments continued through at least November 1998, final outcome data will not be available until spring 2001.

7 Because New Jersey was dropped as a demonstration site, the focus of this Bulletin is on Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia. However, because New Jersey's experience is instructive, there are frequent references to that site.

8 The primary example of this was in New Jersey, where the Juvenile Justice Commission redesigned its entire parole system and included several IAP features in the new design. The change was such that the IAP pilot had reduced significance and IAP lost some of its uniqueness. A less dramatic example occurred in Virginia, where a Department of Juvenile Justice policy change resulted in the elimination of furloughs and early releases from institutions. This eliminated IAP's ability to use early release to a transitional group home as a major incentive for program compliance.

9 In New Jersey, the problem was never really resolved. The original parole officers made little progress in adapting to the new model of supervision. They were replaced in early 1997 by two younger, more energetic staff. For a variety of reasons, however (including the project's end), these staff never had sufficient opportunity to master intensive supervision.

10 The rationale for targeting high-risk offenders is to ensure that the intensive services available through the IAP model are targeted to those most likely to commit future offenses, thereby increasing the program's potential to reduce crime. With outside technical assistance, the sites developed risk measurement tools using a cohort of juveniles released to parole in the early 1990's and outcome measures that included any new arrest or revocation within a 1-year period after release. The youth identified as "high risk" on each of the scales had recidivism rates of 60 to 70 percent, depending on the site. In Colorado, for example, the recidivism rate among high-risk youth was 68 percent, while it was 41 percent for medium-risk youth and just 22 percent for low-risk youth.

11 In New Jersey, the low number of intakes combined with a high rate of program terminations during the institutional phase had a major impact on the planned use of the community-based transitional facilities. New Jersey's 12-bed facilities were envisioned originally as "IAP only" transitional units, with attendant IAP-specific services. In fact, there were rarely more than one or two youth in them at any given time, and no IAP-specific services were delivered.

12 All data on youth characteristics include both IAP and control youth.

13 As used in this discussion, "transition" refers to those activities intended to reintegrate youth gradually into the community, regardless of when the activities occur during the institutional and aftercare phases. This is a slightly broader definition than one that will be used subsequently, which focuses on activities occurring during the 30 or 60 days immediately preceding and subsequent to release from the institution.

14 These services are provided by the institutional-community liaison. The vacancy in this position from February to October 1998 created significant problems for this transitional component. IAP staff from Las Vegas filled some of the void when they made their institutional visits.

15 Colorado IAP youth are seen by their case managers on average 2.5 times per month (versus 1.2 for controls), Nevada youth on average 6.7 times per month (versus 2.0 for controls), and Virginia youth 10.4 times per month (versus 4.8 for controls).

16 The Nevada project has been quite successful in creating and sustaining relationships with (1) a wide range of businesses that have contributed goods or services that can be used as part of the IAP's system of rewards, (2) several volunteers who have provided no-cost specialized classes for program participants on topics such as sexually transmitted diseases, and (3) a group of employers who frequently hire IAP youth.

17 Nevada's reward system, for example, uses four levels of incentives, ranging from food items and compact discs (level I) to concert tickets or $50 gift certificates (level IV). The system also specifies which behaviors or accomplishments should be rewarded—and at what level—in each of several areas of functioning. These include treatment plan compliance, good home behavior, and good school performance. Similarly, the sanction system lists 23 different potential violations and specifies the appropriate range of responses for each.

18 The appeal of IAP had ramifications for juvenile parole generally in the sites. In Colorado and Nevada, experience with the pilot has led to discussions about how the model might be implemented systemwide. Virginia's early IAP experience strongly influenced a decision to hire 20 intensive- supervision parole officers to implement portions of the model throughout the State. In New Jersey, the new aftercare system draws heavily on key components of IAP.

19 New Jersey's leadership issue needs to be viewed, however, within the larger context of the organizational change and the Juvenile Justice Commission's more pressing priorities. That is, limited leadership was a factor in weakening the program, but it also was related to larger issues.

20 These comments are intended to describe how crowding and diversion affected IAP implementation, especially with respect to achieving planned sample sizes for the evaluation. They are not meant to suggest that other sites implementing the IAP model should discontinue efforts to divert youth from institutional placement simply in order to create a larger pool of IAP-eligible youth, or that institutional crowding and diversion practices somehow prohibit successful implementation of the IAP model.

21 This is not to argue that highly experienced case managers cannot or do not make good IAP staff. What has proven problematic is assuming that they will and therefore making experience a primary criterion for selection.

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