Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $250,000)
Pima Prevention Partnerships proposes to conduct experimental research on its Pima County Teen Court juvenile justice diversion program to demonstrate its effectiveness as an innovative approach in specifically reducing youth drug recidivism. The Pima County Teen Court (Teen Court) is a juvenile justice early intervention program that has been widely used in Pima County, AZ, for the past 12 years as a strategy for substance abuse prevention and intervention for first and second time juvenile offenders (12-17). Averaging over 400 court-referrals each year (4,400 since program inception), the Pima County Teen Court is the largest Teen Court in the U.S. and participates actively at a national level with other Teen Courts and their Juvenile Court and Probation partners.
As such, it provides a rich proving ground to foster innovation and advancements in juvenile justice practice at the regional and national level by focusing research efforts to measure its effect in reducing drug and alcohol recidivism. Due to funding constraints, the efficacy of Pima County Teen Court has never been tested through experimental research. The proposed evaluation of Teen Court will contribute significantly to local and national knowledge regarding juvenile court diversion programs and could position Pima County as a leader and national resource in the juvenile court diversion field. An evaluation of Teen Court is expected to expand the local and national knowledge base and contribute to effective practice in the following three ways: 1.) distinguishing effective elements of the Teen Court model; 2.) providing data on minority youth populations; and 3.) examining the effectiveness of a peer-led restorative justice model. CA/NCF