This article presents the results of a study that compared long-term recidivism arrest and school outcomes among students diverted through the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program and comparable students arrested in Philadelphia schools.
In response to school-based arrests representing a growing proportion of youth arrests nationwide, several programs have emerged to divert youth from school-based arrests. However, few such initiatives have undergone empirical evaluation, and none have been evaluated with a focus on long-term (i.e., 4- to 5-year) youth outcomes. To address this gap, this study compared long-term recidivism arrest and school outcomes (i.e., out-of- school suspension, dropout, and on-time graduation) among students diverted through the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program (n = 427) and comparable students arrested in Philadelphia schools (n = 531). Mixed-effects logistic regression results revealed that diverted youth were significantly less likely than matched arrested youth to experience a recidivism arrest within 5 years of their initial school-based incident. However, the authors did not observe significant between-group differences for school-related outcomes once relevant covariates were considered. Findings indicate small yet significant long-term program effects on public safety and potential time-limited effects on exclusionary discipline. (Published Abstract Provided)