Recent Juvenile Aftercare Initiatives
Since 1987, OJJDP has been funding research and development activities in the area of intensive juvenile aftercare. A decade ago, growing concerns about crowding in juvenile corrections facilities, high rates of recidivism, and escalating costs of confinement prompted OJJDP to examine the juvenile aftercare philosophy and practice and to explore options for reform. As originally formulated, the program had four stages:
Initiated as a research and development project conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies in collaboration with the Division of Criminal Justice at California State University at Sacramento, the IAP project culminated in a four-State national demonstration designed to test a model of intensive aftercare developed by this Bulletin's authors. The four pilot programs are as follows:
For a more detailed description and discussion of these sites, see Altschuler and Armstrong (1995b, 1996, 1997). Details of program eligibility and selection are found in table 3.
These demonstration projects followed 7 years of research, development, and training activity and are presently in the midst of their third year of operation, with the exception of the New Jersey site, which has been discontinued due to implementation difficulties related to restructuring and system reform.
The IAP model currently being tested is theory-driven, risk and needs assessment based, and empirically grounded (Altschuler and Armstrong, 1995a, 1994a, 1994b, 1994c, 1991). The model emphasizes the identification, preparation, transition, and reentry of "high-risk" juvenile offenders from secure confinement back into the community in a gradual, highly structured, and closely monitored fashion. Consequently, it can be viewed as a form of reintegrative confinement. A multifaceted and integrated approach to community reentry, the IAP model requires an overarching case management process that guarantees substantial control over released juvenile offenders and enhanced service delivery focusing on recognized risk and protective factors. To reduce the level of recidivism and relapse, the IAP model also requires that working collaborations be forged across diverse professional and agency boundaries.
A number of previous research and program development efforts have developed frameworks for intervening with serious and chronic juvenile offenders (Elliott and Voss, 1974; Elliott, Huizinga, and Ageton, 1985; Weis and Hawkins, 1981; Fagan and Jones, 1984), but these projects have generally not directed much attention to the special structural and systemic problems that must be confronted in devising strategies that will enable high-risk offenders to make a successful transition back into the community. Distinctive to the IAP model is the focus on the numerous issues and concerns arising from the mostly disconnected and fragmented movement of offenders from court disposition to juvenile authority and/or institution, to aftercare supervision and discharge. Consistent with this approach, a number of principles for programmatic action have been identified and incorporated as a foundation for the IAP model:
The demonstration programs have been given flexibility to structure and apply the IAP model within local contexts, as long as the program meets certain specifications. Many of these requirements revolve around the IAP design for overarching case management. It is this dimension of the model that defines how clients are identified for particular levels and types of supervision, how clients can be tracked through the system without falling through the cracks, and how specific techniques can aid in the provision of supportive activities and sanctioning measures necessary for client supervision in the community. The requisite components of case management are:
To date, the demonstration sites have been engaged in selectively fine-tuning and elaborating certain components and features in their particular program applications. The major challenge has been the need to adapt the generic IAP model to the specific problems, needs, and circumstances of the individual jurisdictions. As a group, all have identified and acted on the following programming strategies vital to following the basic framework of the model:
The IAP initiative has been funded to include an independent evaluation that incorporates random assignment using an experimental design. The evaluation, which is being conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), includes both process and outcome dimensions. Because IAP participants have only recently begun to be discharged from aftercare, outcome results involving substantial numbers of participating youth are not yet available.