Intensive Supervision of First-Time Probationers: Lessons From an Experimental Outcome Evaluation

Karen A. Hennigan, University of Southern California
Cheryl L. Maxson, University of California, Irvine

Over the last several years, the California Legislature has challenged county departments of probation to develop innovative solutions to gaps in service identified by local action plans. To address a lack of programming for mid risk youth, a large southern California county designed a community-based intensive supervision program for first time probationers. Eligible youth were randomly assigned to the new program or to regular probation beginning January 2000 through December of 2001. Outcomes were coded from official records and by self-report for the 1800 youth participating in the experiment. This presentation analyzes the impact of the program six months after the yearlong intervention vis-a-vis the youths' further offending and further insertion in the juvenile justice or adult correction system. Differential impact of the program for youth at low, mid and high risk levels is investigated. We conclude with an assessment of the implications of the experiment for programs to help reduce further offending by youth at various risk levels.

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Updated 05/20/2006