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Long-Term Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Risk Assessment and Risk-Need-Responsivity Reforms in Juvenile Justice


The University of Massachusetts Medical School is evaluating the long-term impact of basing individual programming decisions for juvenile offenders on risk and criminogenic needs. The current study is building on existing data and research findings from the MacArthur Foundation-funded Risk/Needs Assessment in Juvenile Probation: Implementation Study, a quasi-experimental, pre-post prospective study that documented changes in system and youth outcomes associated with the implementation of a risk and needs assessment instrument with a risk-need-responsivity approach in six juvenile probation offices in two states. The current study is gathering data on a cohort of youth from five of these departments 7 years after the states implemented their valid risk and needs assessment instrument and risk-need-responsivity-related case management practices (Cohort 3) to compare them to statistically equivalent cohorts of youth before implementation (Cohort 1) and 1-year after implementation (Cohort 2). The study will assess whether the impact on system and youth outcomes, public safety, and cost-effectiveness observed 1 year post-implementation was sustained, improved, or worsened over time.

OJJDP is funding this project under the Assessing the Impact of Juvenile Justice Reforms Program, which supported research and evaluations to investigate whether certain juvenile justice policies and practices produce better outcomes for youth, improve public safety, and/or achieve a greater return on taxpayer investments.

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Date Created: March 26, 2020