We compared juvenile offenders' recidivism following nonrandom assignment to juvenile diversion (JD, n = 137), JD plus skill training (ST, n = 55), or JD plus mentoring (MEN, n = 45). Intake characteristics that distinguished intervention groups were used to calculate assignment propensity scores. After propensity score blocking balanced intake characteristics, ST proved more cost effective than MEN, achieving a 14% relative reduction in recidivism at a savings of $33,600 per hundred youths. In ST, 37% were rearrested 2 years or more after intake, compared to 51% in MEN and 46% in JD. In two of five propensity subclasses, time to first rearrest was longer in ST (M = 767 days) than in MEN (M = 638 days) or JD (M = 619 days). These results argue for an experimental comparison of ST and MEN and for observational studies with propensity analysis when randomization to juvenile justice interventions is infeasible.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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