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FY2005 Continuations - Demonstration Programs Division

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $1,499,817)

This study follows 1200 serious adolescent offenders, ages 15 to 17 at baseline, for six years after court involvement for a felony offense. The project is currently in its 4th year of data collection. The goals of the study are to: 1) identify initial patterns of desistance from antisocial activity in serious adolescent offenders; 2) describe the role of social context and developmental changes in promoting positive behavioral change; and 3) compare the effects of juvenile justice sanctions and interventions in promoting positive change and desistance from criminal behavior. Adolescent offenders are drawn from two large metropolitan areas, Phoenix and Philadelphia. Subjects with substantial offending histories are recruited at intake, disposition, and release from incarceration; and will be interviewed twice annually for a minimum of three years, followed by annual interviews after that. Interviews include a review of relevant official records. Data will be collected on background characteristics (e.g., service and sanction history), mediating factors (e.g., vocational opportunities), changes in functioning (e.g., drug and alcohol use), and juvenile justice sanctions and interventions. Data analysis will focus on identifying subgroups of offenders and estimating the impact of life events, interventions, and sanctions on desistance from and continuation of criminal behavior. The grantee will report on performance measures relevant to the project, such as the percentage of youth who complete interviews within the appropriate timeframe (i.e. the study's retention rate), and activities related to data cleaning, analysis and reporting. NCA/NCF

The Pathways to Desistance Study (the 'Pathways Study') is a multi-site, collaborative research project that follows 1,355 serious juvenile offenders from adolescence to young adulthood. Interviews are conducted regularly with these adolescents as well as their family members and friends over a several year period after their involvement in court for a serious (overwelmingly felony level) offense. This investigation provides rich information about different patterns that serious adolescent offenders follow when stopping antisocial activity, the role of social context and developmental changes in promoting these positive changes, and the effects of sanctions and interventions in this process. The study provides the empirical information needed to improve decision making by court and social service personnel about potential future risk and amenability to treatment. It also provides useful guidance for ongoing policy debates about alternative approaches for dealing with serious adolescent offenders. NCA/NCF

The work proposed in this application augments the ongoing activities of the Pathways to Desistance study. The award funds will cover two smaller studies. The first is a qualitative investigation of the factors related to observed reductions in antisocial activity and increases in positive adjustment in a selected sample of high-offending adolescents, based on adolescent self-report. The second investigates the connection between adolescent involvement in antisocial behavior and earlier abuse/neglect experiences and involvement in the child welfare system. The grantee will report on performance measures related to qualitative and quantitative research results. Relevant measures include: the number of adolescents interviewed for the first study, and the number of study youth for whom data on earlier abuse/neglect and child welfare experiences is obtained. NCA/NCF

Date Created: September 20, 2005