Program

Oct 05, 2007

OVERVIEW

The South Oxnard
Challenge Project (SOCP) is designed for adolescents who have received
probation as a result of a citation or an arrest or have violated their
probation. The program provides extra services and increased staff
contact to attempt to prevent future arrests and further escalation in the
justice system. The program was effective in increasing the amount of
contact with staff, the amount of time that was spent on a child’s case, and
the child’s use of referral services. The program had no impacts on
recidivism rates and had few impacts on substance use, subsequent restitution
sanctions, and assigned community service.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Children ages 12-18
years old who have received probation

The SOCP program was located in a local community center
which employs a variety of staff such as probation officers, service
coordinators, child and family services social workers, substance abuse
specialists, mental health workers, mentors, police officers, community
outreach workers, and restorative justice advocates. These staff help the
child access needed services, provide more frequent face-to-face contact with
the child and family, and generally spend additional time working on the
child’s case than would normally be received if a child only had access to a
probation worker. The SOCP program also provides a variety of services
that are not normally received under routine juvenile probation. These
services include mental health, substance abuse, anger management, parenting
skills, child protective services, mediation, City Corps, community service and
development opportunities, and day reporting services. Children are
assigned to the program for 7 months if they are under informal probation and 9
months for formal probation.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Lane, J., Turner, S., Fain, T., & Sehgal,
A. (2005). Evaluating an experimental intensive
juvenile probation program: Supervision and official outcomes. Crime
and Delinquency, 51
(1), 26-52.

Evaluated population: 539 children ages
11-18 years old. To be eligible for the program, children had to live in
South Oxnard or Port Hueneme,
California; have a citation,
arrest, or violation of probation; and score at least 12 points on a local risk
assessment conducted by probation officers. The sample was 80% male, and
half of the sample was between the ages of 15 and 16. The racial
breakdown of the sample was 8.4% white, 81.0% Hispanic, 6.6% African-American,
and 4.0% other. Around 35-51% of children used alcohol at least
moderately, 41-48% used drugs at least moderately, and 34% had gang
associations.

Approach: Children were selected from the South Oxnard and Port Hueneme of California area and
matched to eligibility criteria. Children were then randomly assigned to
the South Oxnard Challenge Project (SOCP) or to a control condition of “routine
probation”. A total of 264 children were assigned to the SOCP condition
and 275 to the control condition. The intervention period ranged from 7
to 9 months depending on the severity of the case, treatment in the comparison
group ended when the probation case is closed.

Children in the SOCP condition received extra services in
addition to all of the services that the control condition received; these will
be broken down by area. For case management, children in the SOCP
condition were assigned an interagency team based on the individual needs of
the child and the control group was assigned only a probation officer.
For contact with youth, the SOCP condition received an initial home conference,
2 family contacts by a service coordinator, and 1 hour per week of face-to-face
contact with a case navigator; the control condition received an office visit
once per month and a field visit once every 3 months. For social services
availability, mental health, alcohol/drug, anger management, parenting skills,
child protective services, mediation, City Corps, and day reporting services
were all located onsite for the SOCP condition whereas the control condition
were referred to outside agencies. For victim services, in the SOCP
condition probation officers call the victim or refer the child to an on-site
restorative justice advocate; in the control condition probation officers send
a restitution letter or refer the child to a local nonprofit for
mediation. For community services, in the SOCP condition children had
access to community outreach workers, community advisory groups, community
development events, and community service projects; children in the control
group did not have access to any of these.

Youth were assessed at 5 points throughout the program:
baseline, posttest, 6-month follow-up, 12-month follow-up, and 18-month
follow-up. The two main assessments of the youth across the intervention
and follow-up period were recorded contacts with youth, families, or victim’s
by probation officers or other staff and official outcomes were also tracked
using probation files.

Results: Children and their families in the SOCP
program had significantly more contact with case staff such as probation
officers, case navigators, treatment providers, City Corps staff, and other
staff than children and their families in the comparison condition. More
time was spent on each case by staff for children in the SOCP program compared
with children in the control condition. Children in the treatment
condition were more likely to receive services; substance abuse treatment,
educational, mentoring, recreation, vocational, and family services than
children in the control condition. Children in the treatment condition
were equally likely as those in the control condition to receive services in
counseling and physical health.

The program had no impact at the posttest or at the 18-month
follow-up on arrest rates, petition rates, or incarceration rates of
children. Children in the control condition were more likely to have
completed their probation at the end of the intervention compared with children
in the treatment group. The authors maintain that this finding is the
result of more contact with staff and subsequently, the children were more
likely to remain on informal probation.

Children in the treatment condition were more likely to be
tested for drugs and were more likely to have tested positive for drugs at
posttest than children in the control condition. Children in the
treatment condition were still more likely to test positive for drug use at the
18-month follow-up but were equally likely to be tested as those in the control
group. Children in the treatment group were more likely to be assigned
restitution sanctions at both posttest and at 18-month follow-up, but were no
more likely to pay restitution than children in the control group. The
program had no impacts on the number of children who were assigned community
service as restitution but the program impacted the number of hours completed
by children such that those in the treatment condition completed more community
service hours on average.

Note: Analyses were not designed to adjust for the effect of
clustering within schools.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Lane, J., Turner, S., Fain, T., & Sehgal,
A. (2005). Evaluating an experimental intensive
juvenile probation program: Supervision and official outcomes. Crime
and Delinquency, 51
(1), 26-52.

 

KEYWORDS: Adolescence
(12-17), Young Adulthood (17-24), Youth, Juvenile Offenders, Substance Abuse,
Community Service, Provider-Based, Social/Emotional Health, Community-Based,
Skills Training, Counseling/Therapy, Family Therapy, White or Caucasian, Hispanic
or Latino, Black or African American, Alcohol, Home Visitation, Service
Learning, Education, Mentoring, Behavioral Problems, Physical Heath, Civic
Engagement, Positive Citizenship.

Program information last updated 10/5/07