Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $811,447)
The Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters, in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Family Services, propose to expand a restorative justice, pilot program targeted at adjudicated youth, entitled: Progressive Youth. The program is intended to hold youth accountable for actions that harmed the community; reintegrate youth into their communities safely; and help youth become competent members of their community. The program provides youth with quality mentoring, academic assistance, meaningful community service and job training, community and family support services, and positive recreation opportunities. One year after initial implementation in just one Wyoming community, the pilot program was expanded to include two additional target populations for testing: pre-adjudicated youth (diversion), and re-entry populations (juveniles released from state detention facilities). Two years after implementation, results from the pilot program suggest that it is a cost-effective program with promising results. Quasi-experimental studies of the pilot program show a 54 percent reduction in recidivism, 80 percent reduction in drug use, 63 percent reduction in out of home placement, and a 30 percent improvement in school progress. Expanding this program to additional Wyoming communities would enable implementation at a scale large enough to allow for formal experimental research and eventually potential practical application nationwide.