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Recidivism findings for the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s mentoring program: Final report (Drake 2006)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Moderate Causal Evidence

Citation

Drake, E. (2006). Recidivism findings for the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s mentoring program: Final report. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Highlights

    • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Washington State Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s mentoring program on recidivism.
    • The author estimated the effect of the mentoring program using administrative data to compare outcomes among youth released from a juvenile rehabilitation facility who applied to participate in the program with the outcomes of similar youth who did not apply.
    • The study did not find any statistically significant effects of the mentoring program on recidivism.
    • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to the Washington State Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s mentoring program, but other factors might also have contributed. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Intervention Examined

The Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s Mentoring Program

Features of the Intervention

The mentoring program aimed to assist youth in setting and fulfilling educational and vocational goals and in living drug- and crime-free upon their release from a juvenile rehabilitation facility. Youth were matched with adult mentors based on their gender, ethnicity, personality, and interests as assessed by the program manager. Mentors were expected to meet monthly with and call or write weekly to youth during the last five to six months of the youths’ confinement in the rehabilitation facility. After the youth returned to the community, mentors were expected to meet with them weekly.

Features of the Study

In this study, the treatment group included 78 youth released from a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration facility to King and Pierce Counties from February 1997 to September 2000. All of these youth had applied to participate in the mentoring program. The 78 youth in the comparison group—who did not apply to participate in the mentoring program—were released during the same time period to King, Pierce, or Snomish Counties, and were matched to the treatment group youth on release timing, gender, race and ethnicity, number of previous admissions to a juvenile rehabilitation facility, and risk for reoffense. The author estimated the effect of the mentoring program by comparing the average recidivism outcomes among youth in the treatment and comparison groups.

Findings

    • The study did not find any statistically significant effects of the mentoring program on recidivism for any crime, felonies, or violent felonies at one, two, or three years after release.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Although the treatment was defined as participating in the mentoring program, it is unclear what this meant in practice. For instance, the report did not provide information about whether all youth were matched with mentors, or had to have a certain number of contacts with a mentor, to count as participants. In addition, the report did not explain the process of selecting participants for the mentoring program or whether all applicants were selected into the program. Comparison youth did not apply to participate in the mentoring program, which might indicate a difference in their underlying commitment to rehabilitation. In addition, the study included a small number of youth in the treatment and comparison groups, making it difficult to detect statistically significant program impacts.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we would be somewhat confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to the Washington State Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s mentoring program, but other factors might also have contributed. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Reviewed by CLEAR

March 2016