U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Assessing Impacts of Rhode Island Juvenile Justice Reforms

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $110,426)

This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants and cooperative agreements for research and evaluation activities to organizations that OJJDP designates.

This study explores the impact of juvenile justice system practices on adolescent development, particularly tactics that may produce stress and trauma. Rhode Island has followed national trends to deinstitutionalize delinquents using family-centered, in-home outpatient care that is community- and locally-based aiming to divert most delinquents from the state's failing youth prison. They have inadvertently overlooked the successful Ocean Tides (OT) program for adjudicated boys in the state as a viable alternative for boys whose families are either incapable or unwilling to participate in a non-residential treatment program. These events have curtailed rehabilitation efforts in the state and threaten the viability of an important program.

Results are widely applicable to advise policy beyond Rl since 39% of residential programs are not youth prisons but have been lumped into the same category with no evidence that they too harm children. This is not a program evaluation. It will test the effects of the Rl System of Care on the ability of the Ocean Tides program to continue to effectively rehabilitate youthful offenders. This research directly tests changes in outcomes for juveniles: program completion rate, violent behavior, noncompliance, academic achievement, alcohol and drug use, program cooperation, and legal infractions. The PI created a database containing over 1,900 variables for 1,585 adjudicated boys in Rl ages 13-17 who entered OT from 1975-2006. The current project proposed to add 541 cases to that database through 2015. Data will be collected from Oct. 2015-April 2016. Four part-time employees will record the data, and the PI will supervise these efforts, check, clean, and merge the data into the main database. One unique contribution of this database is that it contains information on adjudicated boys that come from multiple sources of information - social workers, police, teachers, home visits, clinical reports, interviews with parents; which means the information is cross-checked for accuracy and encompasses multiple perspectives on the boys' experiences increasing reliability and validity.

The PI will analyze the data and write reports through Oct. 1, 2016. SPSS software will be used to compare between- and within-group outcome differences between the first and second time frames controlling for relevant factors as indicated by previous research and theory.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 24, 2015