The IAP Model

The goal of the IAP model is to reduce recidivism among high-risk parolees. It is rooted in research on the dynamics of recidivism and a theoretical model that integrates the explanations of strain, social learning, and social control theories. The model posits that effective intervention with the target population requires not only intensive supervision and services after institutional release, but also a focus on reintegration during incarceration and a highly structured and gradual transition process that serves as a bridge between institutionalization and aftercare. Altschuler and Armstrong suggest the following:
[The] IAP model is most clearly conceptualized as a correctional continuum consisting of three distinct, yet overlapping, segments: pre-release and preparatory planning during incarceration; structured transition that requires the participation of institutional and aftercare staff prior to and following community re-entry; and long-term, reintegrative activities that ensure adequate service delivery and the necessary level of social control (1996:15).
The research evidence and the tenets of integrated theory led Altschuler and Armstrong to identify five principles that should underpin all intervention efforts geared toward structured reentry and community normalization for high-risk parolees:
  • Prepare youth for progressively increased responsibility and freedom in the community.

  • Facilitate youth-community interaction and involvement.

  • Work with the offender and targeted community support systems (e.g., schools, family) on qualities needed for constructive interaction and the youth's successful community adjustment.

  • Develop new resources and supports where needed.

  • Monitor and test the youth and the community on their ability to deal with each other productively.

Central to the model—and the sites' programs—is the notion of "overarching case management." This IAP program element5 focuses on the processes required for successful transition and aftercare and includes five subcomponents:
  • Assessment, classification, and selection criteria. IAP focuses on high-risk offenders in order to maximize its potential for crime reduction and to avoid the negative outcomes previously demonstrated to result from supervising low-risk offenders in intensive supervision programs (Clear, 1988). To accurately identify these high-risk youth, implementing jurisdictions need to use a validated risk-screening instrument.

  • Individualized case planning that incorporates family and community perspectives. This component specifies the need for institutional and aftercare staff to jointly identify youth's service needs shortly after commitment and plan for how those needs will be addressed during incarceration, transition, and aftercare. It requires attention to youth problems in relation to their families, peers, schools, and other social networks.

  • A mix of intensive surveillance and services. IAP promotes close supervision and control of high-risk offenders in the community but also emphasizes the need for similarly intensive services and support. This approach requires that staff have small caseloads and that supervision and services be available not only on weekdays, but also in the evenings and on weekends.

  • A balance of incentives and graduated consequences. Intensive supervision is likely to uncover numerous technical violations and program infractions. The IAP model indicates the need for a range of graduated sanctions tied directly and proportionately to the seriousness of the violation instead of relying on traditional "all or nothing" parole sanctioning schemes. At the same time, the model points to a need to reinforce youth progress consistently via a graduated system of meaningful rewards.

  • Creation of links with community resources and social networks. This element of case management is rooted in the conviction that the parole agency cannot effectively provide the range and depth of services required for high-risk, high-need parolees unless it brokers services through a host of community agencies and resources. Moreover, because interventions will focus on family, school, peer, and community issues, the case manager and service agencies need to create strong working relationships with these social networks.

The IAP model is prescriptive in the sense that each of the implementing sites was required to use the intervention framework, the program principles, and the program elements as the foundation for the local program design. However, each site had considerable flexibility to develop the specific design that would provide the best fit between the model's parameters and the local context. As a result, the sites share key IAP features but also have program characteristics that clearly distinguish them from each other.

The NCCD Evaluations

To test whether and to what extent IAP addresses the critical issues outlined above, OJJDP awarded a grant to NCCD in 1995 to conduct process and outcome evaluations in each site. The evaluations are using an experimental design to determine the extent to which IAP differs from standard institutional and aftercare practices and to assess the program's impact on youth outcomes. In each site, NCCD randomly assigns committed youth who are assessed as high risk either to IAP or to a control group that receives traditional services. For each group, data are collected on youth characteristics, the extent and nature of supervision and services provided each month, and intermediate and longer term youth outcomes. The primary goal of the process evaluation is to document and assess the extent to which the sites have implemented the programs in accordance with the national model and their local design. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, NCCD has been routinely assessing all dimensions of program implementation. The implementation evaluation can inform policymakers, juvenile justice officials, funders, and others about program successes and shortcomings, factors that facilitated or impeded implementation, and lessons learned from the demonstration projects.

The outcome evaluation will examine recidivism among the IAP and control groups using a 1-year, postrelease followup period and multiple measures of reoffending behavior.6 A series of pre- and post-standardized tests will also be used to assess intermediate outcomes in selected areas of youth and family functioning.

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