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Evaluation of the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program


This project builds upon an initial evaluation of the first 3 years of program implementation of the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program, which was initiated city-wide in 2014. This diversion program is designed to reduce schools' referral of students to Philadelphia's juvenile justice system, keep low risk youth in school and out of the justice system, and maintain a safe school environment. The initial evaluation found a significant reduction in number of arrests, expulsions, and school disciplinary transfers, while also seeing a reduction in number of school-based behavioral incidents, indicating that school climate can improve even when students remain in school following minor incidents. Researchers from Drexel University are using a quasi-experimental design to compare the police and school-related outcomes of participating youth who commit first-time, low-level misdemeanor delinquent acts on or about school grounds to those students who are arrested for similar offenses in the school year prior to program implementation. Participation in the program is not available to students accused of high-level offenses, such as drug dealing, gun possession, sexual assault, or arson. OJJDP is funding this evaluation under its FY 2017 Field Initiated Research and Evaluation Program, which supports innovative and methodologically rigorous research and evaluation efforts that inform policy and practice to advance effective delinquency prevention and juvenile justice system interventions.

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Date Created: March 16, 2020