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Evaluation of the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program

Goals and Objectives

The overall goal of the project is to learn if the Police School Diversion Program has an impact on justice involvement and educational outcomes for youth in Philadelphia schools. To conduct the study, researchers at Drexel University are partnering with the Philadelphia Police Department, the School District of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.

This project extends and expands a previously conducted evaluation to study outcomes for diverted youth 5 years after program implementation. Researchers are examining whether diverted youth, when compared to a group of youth arrested in schools prior to program implementation, will have:

  • Lower rates of recidivism, as measured by arrest,and longer time to recidivism when arrest does occur.
  • Lower rates of exclusionary disciplinary sanctions in terms of suspensions, expulsions, and disciplinary transfers.
  • Greater school attendance, grade completion, and graduation rates as indicators of academic success and school attainment.
  • Lesser disparities in police and school disciplinary sanctions by race/ethnicity and special education status.

Additionally, beyond conducting the quasi-experimental comparison, the evaluators will assess whether the program-level success observed in the first 3 years is sustained over 5 years. These outcomes include:

  • Reductions in the city's number of school-based arrests.
  • Reductions in the number of school-based behavioral incidents as indicators of school safety.
  • Higher rates of youth and families accepting voluntary diversion services.

Next: Milestones

Date Created: March 16, 2020