The Impact Of Two Los Angeles County Teen Courts On Youth Recidivism: Comparing Two Informal Probati
Gase et al. (2016)
This study examines the results of a juvenile justice system diversion program (Teen Court Program) in which youths are judged by their peers and given restorative sentences to complete during a period of supervision. These results were compared between the 654 Contract program currently operating in Los Angeles County.
Treatment juveniles were enrolled in the Teen Court program focus on restorative sentencing without establishing a formal criminal record. This consisted of a hearing and a supervision period. Teen Courts are grounded in seven different theoretical perspectives: peer justice, procedural justice, specific deterrence, labeling, restorative justice, law-related education, and skill building.
The 654 Contract program was selected as the comparison group. Minors who sign a 654 Contract are required to meet regularly with a community- or school-based DPO and comply with the terms outlined by that officer, including obtaining counseling, mental health services, drug treatment, or other community- based resources.
1) Teen Court program participants were less likely to have any subsequent arrest; 20 Teen Court participants (18 %) had any rearrests compared to 38 (25 %) office-based and 17 (40 %) school- based 654 program participants.
2) School-based 654 program participants were found to have 3.07 times the odds of being rearrested, compared to Teen Court program participants, after controlling for follow-up time, age, race, gender, and risk level.
3) On average, Teen Court participants were 20% less likely to be rearrested than school-based 654 program participants, all else being equal. Teen Court participants were 6% less likely to be rearrested than office-based 654 program participants, all else being equal.
4) For every one point increase on the risk scale, youths had 1.05 times the odds of being rearrested after controlling for program type, follow-up time, age, race, and gender.
5) African Americans were significantly more likely to be rearrested than Hispanics, after controlling for other factors in the model. This effect was no longer significant after controlling for any history of DCFS.