Program

Sep 19, 2007

OVERVIEW

The Mississippi Department of Correction’s Project Aware
Program is a non-confrontational, prisoner-run juvenile delinquency deterrence
program. In a random assignment study, juvenile delinquent males assigned
to receive the Project Aware Program were compared with juvenile delinquent
males assigned to receive no intervention. During the year after program
implementation, subjects assigned to receive the Project Aware intervention
were significantly less likely to drop out of school than were subjects
assigned to the control group. Treatment subjects did not differ
significantly from control subjects with regard to frequency of criminal
offenses, severity of criminal offenses, or number of unexcused absences from
school, however.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: juvenile delinquents

The Mississippi Department of Correction’s Project Aware
Program is a prisoner-run juvenile delinquency deterrence program.
Project Aware is non-confrontational and does not employ scare tactics.
Prisoners meet with juvenile delinquents for five hours at the Mississippi
State Penitentiary and educate them about the consequences of a life of
delinquency.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Cook, D.
D. & Spirrison, C. L. (1992).Effects of a Prisoner-Operated Delinquency Deterrence Program: Mississippi’s Project
Aware. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 17(314), 89-99.

Evaluated population: 176 juvenile delinquent males
served as the study sample for this investigation. These males were
randomly selected from the files of various county youth courts across the
state of Mississippi
in the early 1990s. Subjects were between the ages of 12 and 17, with an
average age of 15. 64% of subjects were black and 36% were white.

Approach: Juvenile delinquent males were randomly
assigned to either the treatment group or the control group. Subjects
assigned to the treatment group were exposed to a five-hour, prisoner-run
Project Aware session at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. Subjects
assigned to the control group were not exposed to the program. This
educational intervention intentionally employs no confrontation, intimidation,
or scare tactics.

The research team retrieved data from subjects’ criminal and
school records. Name and number of criminal offenses committed during the
year leading up to the Project Aware Program were recorded as were number of
absences from school during that time period. Subjects in the treatment
group did not differ significantly from subjects in the control group on any of
these measures.

During the year after implementation of the Project Aware
Program, criminal offenses and absences from school were again recorded.

Results: During the year after program
implementation, subjects assigned to receive the Project Aware intervention
were significantly less likely to drop out of school than were subjects
assigned to the control group. Treatment subjects did not differ
significantly from control subjects with regard to frequency of criminal
offenses, severity of criminal offenses, or number of unexcused absences from
school, however.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Cook, D.
D. & Spirrison, C. L. (1992). Effects of a Prisoner-Operated Delinquency Deterrence Program: Mississippi’s Project
Aware. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 17(314), 89-99.

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), Youth, Clinic-based,
Provider-based, Behavioral Problems, Juvenile Offenders, Gender-Specific (Male
Only), High School Dropout, Conduct Problems,
Violence, Delinquency, School Attendance, Criminal Offenses, White or
Caucasian, Black or African American.

Program information last updated on 9/19/07

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