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ERIC Number: EJ841748
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-1050-9674
Economic Impact on the Justice System from Reductions in Diversion Program Funding
Dembo, Richard; Wareham, Jennifer; Chirikos, Thomas N.; Schmeidler, James
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, v41 n3 p63-91 2005
Following a national trend of "getting tough" on increased juvenile crime, the Florida legislature eliminated one of the primary community service-oriented juvenile diversion programs, the Juvenile Alternative Services Program (JASP). JASP was subsequently replaced with four other diversion programs, two of which (the Walker Plan and an expanded Arbitration program) permitted greater penetration into the juvenile justice system. In a previous paper, we examined the impact of net-widening effects of diversion programs on youth participant recidivism for a six-month post-program period resulting from this shift in program funding. The results indicated that youths placed in the JASP program had significantly lower rates of new arrests and new arrest charges than each of the other four diversion programs. One of the consequences of the net-widening effects reported in this previous study could be an increase, rather than decrease, in the direct costs of a number of key justice services. The present study examines this issue by presenting the results of an economic impact analysis focusing on the direct costs incurred by various justice system agencies resulting from the youths' recidivism during the six-month post-program period. Stepwise multiple regression analyses predicting the cumulative cost (adjusted for inflation and overhead expenses) of providing justice services to the youths found that JASP had a lower direct cost rate with respect to the justice system than any of the JASP alternative programs. These findings, combined with those of our previous study, run contrary to one of the major concerns of policy makers: attaining better outcomes among at-risk youth while making the best use of scarce public resources. Theoretical and policy implications based on these results are discussed. (Contains 7 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida