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ERIC Number: EJ792303
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1097-6736
How Much of a Good Thing Is Too Much? Explaining the Failure of a Well-Designed, Well-Executed Intervention in Juvenile Hall for "Hard-to-Place" Delinquents
Parker, Robert Nash; Asencio, Emily K.; Plechner, Deborah
New Directions for Evaluation, n110 p45-57 Sum 2006
Although the decade of the 1990s witnessed a decline in adult crime and violence rates in California and the United States in general, juvenile crime and violence remained a significant problem. In California, juvenile assault arrests remained at 12.5 per one hundred thousand between 1994 and 1999; adult arrest rates for the same crime declined nearly 12 percent. In San Bernardino County, juvenile murder arrest rates more than doubled in 2000, from five per one hundred thousand youth to nearly eleven per one hundred thousand. In response to the seeming intractability of juvenile offending, the California Juvenile Justice system engaged in a get-tough campaign, which resulted in a 30 percent increase in the caseload of the county juvenile justice system. Youthful offenders with consistently escalating patterns of offending were thought to benefit from a secure placement away from home and community influences and one that also offered rehabilitation services such as moral guidance, behavioral therapy, psychiatric treatment, and vocational training. In San Bernardino County, these placements increased from 306 in 1996 to more than 600 in 1998. A number of youth were placed out-of-state at significant expense; in 1998 the state restricted such placements to reduce costs, resulting in an even bigger demand for local placements. The county also saw an increase in hard-to-place offenders; by 1998, 17 percent of out-of-home placements were hard-to-place youth. This article is a report of an unsuccessful evaluation of a program for "hard-to-place" juvenile offenders in San Bernardino County, California. The program was well designed and reasonably well executed, with problems of implementation and fidelity typical of field interventions. Yet as the analysis presented in this article demonstrates, every hypothesis proposed from the outset was rejected.
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; United States