The California Youth Authority and Randomized Field Trials

Ted Palmer, California Youth Authority
Anthony Petrosino, American Acad of Arts & Sci./Harvard Univ

During the 1960s and 1970s, the California Youth Authority embarked on a series of randomized field trials to test interventions for juvenile and young adult offenders. This paper examines the institutional and political reasons why rigorous tests were adopted for such interventions as the Community Treatment Program. It also describes what impact these trials had on the agency and California justice. In the end, the experimental method became less frequently used in the Youth Authority and we explore some general reasons why this happened.

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Updated 05/20/2006