Young people and crime: costs and prevention


This study by the Australian Institute of Criminology sought to provide an overview of the costs of juvenile justice in Australia and to assess the cost of benefits to the nation from the expenditure on juvenile crime prevention and the juvenile justice system.

Report to the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Training, Youth Bureau, July 1989.

Note: The attached PDF does not include the Appendices. Appendix C is available in html (See below).

  • Appendix A: NSW Children's Court tables (Not currently available)
  • Appendix B: work sheet (Not currently available)
  • Appendix C: examples of international program evaluation (See below)
  • Appendix D: persons consulted for the purposed of this report (Not currently available)

Appendix C : Examples of international programme evaluation

David Williams

Examples of international programme evaluation

While there is extensive international evidence of literature focussing on descriptions of programmes in the juvenile justice field, there is a limited amount of empirical data through which policy decisions may be accurately addressed. Wright and Dixon (1977) reviewed 6,600 abstracts of juvenile delinquency projects mostly from the United States, and concluded data that had policy utility.

Similarly, Luudman et. al. (1976) reviewed 6,500 delinquency prevention programmes and located outcome data regarding only 25 of them. They concluded that measures of the operational success of programmes were not correlated with positive outcomes and that most studies failed to demonstrate differences in outcomes between treatment and control groups.

For this reason, it is appropriate to briefly examine a limited range of overseas programme evaluations which provide possible directions for policy decision making in Australian jurisdictions, as well as a view of the present 'state of technology' in overseas evaluation techniques. The material chosen does not necessarily signify the most 'important' work but rather, attempts to outline a cross-sectional representation of fields of study and evaluative techniques within the general scope of juvenile justice policy.

Pre-court programmes

This section considers a number of evaluated programmes in the area of pre-court decision making while still within the criminal justice system, such as police and court intake diversionary programmes. Programmes which operate outside juvenile justice system but attempt to influence criminal justice outcomes will be considered in section 2.4.

PRATT, J. 'Deversion from the Juvenile Court', British Journal of Criminology 26(3), July 1986

This article gives an historical analysis of police cautioning in Britain as the now predominant from of disposition and sanction of juvenile offenders. Greater emphasis was given to cautioning through policy initiatives such as Home Office White Papers 'Children in Trouble' (1986), 'Juvenile Offenders' (1980) and 'Cautioning by the Police : A Consultative Document' (1984) and through legislation in the 1969 Children and Young Person's Act, as a primary form of diverting juveniles from formal processing. Pratt notes that the heightened use of cautioning has instead generated an 'inflationary spiral in the processing of delinquency cases, leading to greater regulation in the lives of young people.

GRAHAM, J. and MOXON, D. 'Some Trends in Juvenile Justice', Home Office Research Bulletin, 22, HMSO.

Graham and Moxon outline recent research which support the conclusion above by Pratt that police cautioning 'widens the net' of juveniles experiencing intervention, although also find that cautioning slightly reduces the proportion of 10 to 13-year-olds entering the criminal justice system.

This article also describes research by Bowden and Stevens (1986) regarding a Juvenile Liaison Bureau Project in Northampton (U.K.) aiming to divert juvenile offenders from courts and reducing the use of custodial sentences, involving five agencies responsible for work with juveniles. The Bureau encourages agency liaison through all stages, from initial police recommendations regarding a particular offender, to the monitoring of all aspects of the local juvenile justice system and the development of community resources for the youth.

Bowden and Stevens report success in a number of aspects the number of juvenile prosecutions between 1980-1985 fell by 80%, the number of custodial sentences by 65%, the number of orders' by 82%, and remands in custody by 641. Further, the commission of juvenile crime as a percentage of all detected crime fell from 33% to 22% over that period whilst the numbers of crimes known to have been committed by juveniles fell by 3%. These measures are estimated to have resulted in an annual saving of some £500,000 in the Northampton juvenile justice system, quite apart from savings that may have been achieved through any reductions in crime.

DECKER, S.H. 'A Systemic Analysis of Diversion : Net Widening and Beyond', Journal of Criminal Justice, 13:207-216, 1985.

This article focuses on the operation of a juvenile diversion programme in a large U.S. metropolitan area, where youths who had committed status offences and would otherwise have been processed to the Juvenile Court were instead referred to the Status offender Service Unit for counselling treatment after police cautioning. Contrary to the aims of diverting youths from the juvenile court, Decker found that the existence of this programme led to an increase in referral activity, both directly in status-offence patterns and indirectly in other offence categories. Using these results, Decker questions both police commitment to the goals of diversion and the legal safeguards in juvenile processing.

These results of diversion programmes leading to a net increase in juveniles receiving justice system attention are supported in many other studies, for instance, Blomberq (1977, 1978, 1980), Blomberg and Carabello (1979), Bohnst (1978), Klein et. al. (1976), Lemert (1981) , Pearson (1984)

PALMER, E.B. and LEWIS, R.V. 'Differentiated Approaches to Juvenile Diversion', Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 17(2):209-229, 1980.

Palmer and Lewis considered in overview 74 juvenile diversion projects operated by the California Youth Authority, and using quasi-experimental design, closely evaluated 15 representative projects to determine (1) how much-diversion was occurring; (2) whether recidivism (illegal behaviour) was being reduced; and (3) how much diversion was costing. The 15 projects concentrated on direct service provision to the juveniles as an alternative to formal processing, with no attention on community development or primary prevention.

Palmer and Lewis found that delinquent behaviour of diversion clients was reduced relative to that of a matched comparison group, and that modest financial savings resulted for justice system referrals. Significantly, they found that no single type of programme and no single programme all or even most youth setting were found to be optimal for all or even most youth deemed appropriate for diversion; a series of programmes and settings are recommended for specific groups of youths. The researchers also focus on the question of when intervention in a youth's criminal career might be most desirable in balancing conflicting goals and interests.

SCHNEIDER, A.L.and SCHRAM, D.D. 'The Washington State, Juvenile Justice System Reform : A Review of Findings' Criminal Justice Policy Review, 1(2):169-197, 1986.

This article outlines substantial changes to the Washington State juvenile justice system through legislative and structural change in 1978. As a result of considerable research detailing failures of the poreus patriae model of the juvenile court (e.g. Wheeler 1978, Empey, Barton 1976), the Washington State legislature completely amended juvenile justice legislation (House Bill 371), changed Probation and Prosecution responsibilities and developed diversionary programmes and sentencing guidelines with very different emphases.

Schneider and Schram note that the changes to the Washington State system reflect many of the terrets a 'just deserts of justice' model as articulated by commentators such as Von Hirsch (1976). The intent of the Washington system is to hold juveniles accountable for their crimes and, simultaneously, to hold the system accountable for what it does to juveniles.

The justice model emphasises fairness, uniformity and proportionality in the court's response to juvenile offences, through both the philosophy and operations of the court and associated structures.

Schneider and Schram's evaluation of the reforms highlighted numerous changes in system decision-making. The practice of informally adjusting cases at intake was completely eliminated, and sentences were considerably more uniform and more proportionate in the post-reform era. The overall level of sentence severity, however, was actually reduced at least during the first two years after the law went into effect. Status offences were removed from court jurisdiction without any noticeable net-widening effect but with considerable relabeling.

While Schneider and Schram attempted to evaluate the effects of the reformed system on recidivism through recontact rates, methodological flaws resulted in confounding between changes in system processing and changes in actual behaviour of the youths.

Court-based programmes

There has been an extensive international history of reforms at the adjudication phase of the juvenile justice process, i.e. at the court itself. Indeed, the earliest reforms focussed on this phase rather than police actions or alternative correctional policies, such as the Illinois decision to create a separate jurisdiction for decision making in juvenile justice matters.

However, this section will concentrate on relatively recent international examples of programme evaluations within the court stage of processing. Given that reforms at this stage of the process have particular relevance for some Australian jurisdictions, it is interesting to note that there are relatively few international evaluations of programmes at this level.

TRIGG, S. 'Diversion and the Delinquency Prevention Division of the Travis Country Juvenile Court', American Journal of Criminal Law, 9(1):89-111 1981.

Trigg describes the operations and goals of a branch of Travis County (Texas, U.S.) JUVENILE COURT known as the Delinquency Prevention Division, which was established in 1971 within the general diversionary policies of the U.S. Federal Government. In contrast to the widespread practice of setting up Youth Service Bureaux outside of the court structure (see Palmez- and Lewis article on Californian model), Travis Court established the Division within the operational and funding structure of the juvenile court, using court probation officers as staff.

In her evaluation of almost a decade of operations of the Delinquency Prevention Division, Trigg found that the Division's role within the system of providing counselling, probation supervision and resource referral had led to a strong identification with the legal process of the court and an emphasis on the coercive functions of the juvenile justice systems. As a consequence, Trigg identifies a basic contradiction between the diversionary goals of the Division and the joint staff roles of counselling and petition to court on breakdown. Trigg identifies the funding and staffing structure as leading to these frustrations and operating difficulties.

MARTIN, F.M. and MURRAY, K. 'The Structure and Operation of the Children's Hearings System', in STEWART, V.L. (ed.) Justice and Troubled Children Around the World, New York Univ. Press, N.Y. 1981.

This article sets out the philosophy and operation of the Children's Hearings system in Scotland, introduced in 1971 by the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. Contrasting quite sharply from the system then (and now) prevailing in England, responsibility for dealing with children and Young people in trouble was transferred from the courts to a new and largely welfare-oriented system of 'children's hearings', made up of voluntary community members, advised by a full-time officer, the Reporter. This officer is also a gatekeeper to the system with considerable discretionary powers as to whether the circumstances of a case indicate the juvenile being in need of 'compulsory measures of care', which are then referred to the children's hearings.

Initial referrals to the Reporter may come from any source and for reasons of an alleged offence, truancy, or because they are believed to have been neglected or harmed by parents. On average, Reporters refer some 50% of cases to the Children's hearings, where private consultations are held with the three-member panel, reporter, social worker, the child and parents, If the facts or interpretation of law are in dispute, the case may be referred to the Sheriff's Court for resolution of that point only, and referral back to the Reporter for disposition. The Lord Advocate retains the power to direct prosecution of children in serious cases.

Martin and Murray outline some criticisms which have been made of the Scottish system by commentators such as Brown and Bloomfield (1979), Curran (1976) and Bruce (1978). In particular there has been criticism of the dual focuses of welfare and control leading to conflicting practice across Scotland, and a net-widening result through the acceptance of non-offending juveniles as referrals on a 'preventative basis'. The narrow make-up of the members of panels has also been criticised; however, this is also a criticism of the English system where the lower courts hearing most juvenile matters consist of lay magistrates.

Martin and Murray point out that a full assessment of the operations of the hearing system was not possible at that stage, as evaluative research on the outcomes of the system had been 'small in scale, limited to particular geographical areas, and unduly concentrated on a small number of relatively peripheral topics'. Such a conclusion highlights relatively peripheral topics'. Such a conclusion highlights the need for accurate and reliable evaluative research in considering the outcomes of a complete system reform, such as has occurred in Scotland.

After-court programmes

Evaluations of the operations and outcomes of post-court services forms by far the largest number and greatest diversity of research in the juvenile justice area, in particular with regard to U.S. material. This section will attempt to provide an indication to the nature of evaluative research carried out on differing types of programmes.

RUTHERFORD, A., Growing out of Crime, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1986.

Rutherford describes a locally based project set up in Basingstoke (U.K.) by the Rainer Foundation, specifically arrived at diverting juveniles from custody through intensive counselling and supervision after court decision. The programme was restricted to those juveniles who would otherwise receive a custodial sentence and regarded as a serious 'last chance' alternative by magistrate, youngster and local community alike; indeed a number of referrals were refused as not likely to receive a custodial sentence. Rutherford reports that the diversion from custody aims had been successful; local records show that no juveniles had been given a custodial sentence for over a year, while 18 juveniles received a custodial sentence in the year prior to the scheme being established. The programme has been replicated in Greenwhich and Southend with similar results.

ELY, P., SWIFT, A. AND SUTHERLAND, A., Control without Custody? Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1987.

Ely, Swift and Sutherland undertake an extensive evaluation of intensive supervision as a form of community-based corrections, particularly regarding the Medway Close Support Unit in Kent (U.K.). They undertake a variety of evaluative tasks on the operations and outcomes of the Unit; in addition, there is a particularly interesting analysis by Martin Knapp of the University of Kent, entitled 'Costs of the Unit Compared with Costs of Detention Centres'.

In this section, Knapp outlines a model of comparative economic analysis with which to consider community-based corrections and residential corrections, through comparison of: (1) Direct provision costs; (2) Indirect public sector costs; (3) Offender costs; (4) Family costs; and (5) Social costs. As Knapp himself notes, 'There have been few attempts to examine the relative costs or, more ambitiously, the relative cost effectiveness of different sentences. The main reason for this dearth of previous cost research is perhaps that it is extremely difficult to calculate valid cost measures for almost all sentences currently used in "-his country because the necessary data are not available' (p.132). Given the provisos on the validity of available date, Knapp calculated the average direct accounting costs per trainees day to be £12.04 per day in the Unit, and £723.33 per day in detention centres.

However., in taking account of costs incurred by other public sector agencies, by offenders' families, and by society as a whole, the cost differential is considerably reduced; £17.33 per day for Unit and £23-25 per day for detention centres. Again, in taking into account the average time periods for each type of sentence at 110 days for the Unit and 47 days for the Detention Centres leading to an average 'sentence cost of £1,906.30 for the Unit, and £1,092.75 for Detention Centres; this illustrates that the important sentencing decisions in diversionary practice are in the length of sentence as well as the type of disposal; Knapp points out that these periods set by the Courts 'may or may not reflect equivalent amounts of social control or punishment' (p.142). See also Knapp M.R.J., The Economics of Social Care, 1984, Macmillan, London.

SCHNEIDER, A.L., The Impact of Deinstitutionalization on Recidivism and Secure Confinement of Status Offenders, 1985, U.S. National Institute for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington D.C.

Schneider reviewed more than 70 empirical studies of U.S. deinstitutionalization projects undertaken since 1974, and found that only 14 evaluation studies collected recidivism data on 'programme groups' compared to 'institutionalized control groups; of these, a positive impact was observed in three, eight showed no difference and three indicated a negative effect in the programme group. While Schneider queries the methodological basis for the studies which produced negative impacts, it is produced negative impacts, it is clear that there was little if any overall effect on recidivism rates.

However, Schneider also pointed to the four studies where comparative costs data was collected for programme period and residential period; and residential period; one study showed the same 'sentence cost', and three showed considerable lower costs for the alternative programmes.

Peat et. al. (1979) concluded a study of three State' s programmes and institutional costs for the 1980 National Evaluation of the Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders (Cobain-in and Klein, 1980), with the following sentence results:

State Programme Institutional
Arizona $ 520 $ 630
Delaware $3,313 $4,173
Washington $ 544 $ 759

In addition, Palmer's (1978) study in California found that the sentence costs were the same, but also found that the deinstitutionalization programmes were significantly better in terms of recidivism outcomes. Therefore, Schneider's conclusions show that, even if alternative programmes are no better than institutional sentences for recidivism outcomes, on a cost-outcome basis they still perform more efficiently.

KLEIN, V.W. 'Deinstitutionalization and Diversion of Juvenile Offenders: A Litany of Impediments', in Morris, N. and Toury(?) , M. Crime and Justice - An Annual Review of Research, 1, 1979, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Klein reviews evaluation studies of three large-scale U.S. juvenile justice programmes with differing aims; the California Treatment Programme, the Massachusettes Experiment., and the National Deinstitutionalization of Offenders Programme. Klein comments on the generally poor evaluations done on the California and national programmes and draws links to overall evaluation of criminal justice projects. He uses a Coates, Miller and Ohlin (1978) evaluation of the Massachusettes Experiment, where the State Legislature abruptly closed virtually all residential institutions and forced the development of community-based alternatives, both before and after court. This strategy has succeeded in emptying institutions and at no major cost in increased recidivism or serious delinquency. Klein also states that the regions of the state which developed a greater variety of community programmes were the regions which also manifested lower subsequent recidivism rates; the Coates report suggests a causal relationship in that.

However, whileklein found that some reliability could be placed in the Coates report in general he is critical in this article of the operations of the majority of juvenile justice programmes; he stresses that 'it is the basic contention of this essay that juvenile diversion and deinstitutionalization, two major reform movements in juvenile justice, have seldom in fact been implemented ... They have not been meaningfully evaluated and their effectiveness, accordingly cannot be shown' (pp.145-6.). In fact,,Klein has produced important work in the field of criminal justice system evaluation and analysis, c.f. Klein and Teilman, Handbook of Criminal Justice Evaluation.

ROBERTS, A.R., 'National Survey and Assessment of 66 Treatment Programs for Juvenile Offenders : Model Programs and Pseudomodels', Juvenile v Family Court Journal, V(3):39-45, 1987.

Roberts gathered data from a national survey of 66 juvenile justice programmes deemed to by 'model programmes, by systems administrators. He found that only five of these 66 had undertaken evaluative research on the effectiveness of their programmes, though most had provided data on costs per participant. Roberts found that the community-based corrections were much cheaper per participant youth than residential programmes, and of these, juvenile restitution programmes were the most inexpensive.

  • Restitution - $82 per youth
  • Family Treatment - $589 per family
  • Community-based Treatment - $1,450 per youth
  • Pre-release and after-care programmes - $3,086 per youth

Roberts concluded that 'In view of the millions of dollars expended each year to protect society, care for, and rehabilitate juvenile offenders, it is astonishing that so few systematic research and follow-up studies have been conducted by juvenile justice agencies' (p.44).

For a recent review of programme evaluations in a particular field (Wilderness/Survival/Adventure Programmes), see Mason, C.


Community development programmes

There are a multitude of community development programmes which have reduction of crime as part of their rationale. This section will however, only consider a small number of those which have reductions in juvenile crime as an important and explicit intended outcome, with general community interventions directly related to criminal justice system goals.

KING, M., 'How to make Social Crime Prevention Work - The French Experience', 1988, Occasional Paper of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (U.K.).

KING reviews three major French inquiries dealing with crime and causative factors:

  • Peyrefitte A. 'Response a la Violence - Rapport de la Comite, deludes sur la Violence, la Cx-iminalite et la Delinquance', 1977, Press Pocket, Paris.
  • Dubedont, H. 'La Commission pour le Developpment Social des Quartiers' 1982, Collection des Rapports officials Documentation Francaise, Paris.
  • Bonnemaison, G. 'Face a la delinquance : Prevention, Repression, Solidarite', 1983, Commission des Maires dur la Securite, La Documentation Francaise, Paris.

KING directs most of his attention to the latter report, which-came about as a result of the 'hot summer of 1981 where youth violence erupted in parts of Lyon and Marseille. King claims that ithe ever-decreasing police clear-up rates and the high level of recidivism are ample evidence that investment in traditional crime control apparatus of police, courts and prison attracted a diminishing return' (p.4). The Bonnernaison report highlights the failure of traditional French methods of crime control and underlined the need for a joint approach, for a combination of social preventative measures working hand in hand with the existing forces of law and order.

The Bonnermaison Committee's solution was to create the structures that would encourage two forms of partnership, the first between local and central Government, and the second between these two administrations and groups at the local community level responsible for putting schemes into effect. These structures would use the philosophies of both 'classical crime prevention' (i.e. protecting children from the dangers presented by their moral and social environment) and a more 'political' response, in revitalising the innercities by restoring community life and improving the physical and moral environment.

The commission envisaged three major strategies in carrying out these aims, namely:

  1. Supplementary funding of existing organisations which had already proposed activities over the summer period;
  2. New activities of a 'holiday' nature or games, sporting and theatrical activities organised on a local basis;
  3. Efforts to mobilize groups of young people or whole communities in the direction of claiming grants and benefits for local projects or simply into giving people a feeling of solidarity.

King concludes from his evaluation of programmes set up across France as a direct result of the Bonnemalson Report that these strategies have been successful on a number of criteria:

  • French criminal statistics indicate a decline of the type of offence likely to be committed by young people. As a whole crime in France has fallen by 10.5% during the period 1985-87, and in Lille, with extensive programmes set up, has experienced a fall of 12% between 1985 and 1986.

However, given that many of the effects will only be long term, King has identified features of the Report's outcomes which he views as positive for the future:

  • Co-operation between government departments at the national, regional and community levels, in providing funding, equipment, staff and facilities;
  • The conceptual links forged between crime prevention and involving children and young people in social and recreational activities, rather than merely employing modes of State control as 'deterrence';
  • The gradual involvement of ethic minority groups in mainstream' social and recreational activities without enforcing assimilation of those communities;
  • Encouraging and responding to initiatives from young people themselves.
  • Political consensus concerning the causality of youth crime.
  • A clearly conceived youth policy aimed at providing training programmes and eventual employment, particularly for those young people who leave school without qualifications;
  • The avoidance of criminal prosecutions as the only or most favoured way of dealing with juvenile crime.
  • Taking an analytical approach to crime prevention. Simple solutions to problems of youth crime, such as use of custodial measures or exhortations directed at teachers or parents, finds little favour now. Rather, the complexity of the causes of youth crime is generally recognized, as is the need to base preventative action on careful analysis of these causes within specific geographical localities.

King concludes that 'the creative and imaginative projects were the result of careful assessment that have emerged... were the result of careful assessment of specific problems and the search for a solution which would not only play a part in reducing crime, but would also melt the needs of young people' (p.39).

LONG, D.A., MALLAR, C.D. and THORNTON, C.V.D., 'Evaluating the Benefits and Costs of the Job Corps', Journal o Analysis and Management, 1(1):54-76, 1981.

This article outlines a sophisticated benefit-cost analysis carried out on a social programme and which succeeded in applying economic criteria to evaluating a programme with both economic and social costs and benefits.

The Job Corps programme was established in 1960's to provide a comprehensive set of services to disadvantaged youths, primarily vocational skills training, basic education and health care within residential settings. These services are intended to improve the employability of participants leading to increased earnings, reduction in dependence on public assistance and a decline in criminal behaviour. The programme was evaluated using a sophisticated accounting method not normally used in social programmes nor even in services with a distinct economic outcome (see Betsey et. al. 1985). In this way, a benefit-cost analysis was done from three perspectives; society as a whole, programme participants and society outside the Corps members (taxpayers). In brief, the evaluation found that the programme was effective in all goal areas with improved work skills, employment histories, health condition and reduced delinquency involvement as measured by arrest figures and self-reporting. In arriving at an economic figure for the reduced criminal activities, the evaluators used U.S. National Crime Panel Survey data to cost each criminal act not carried out, as well as reduced criminal justice system costs and reduced psychological costs on victim and offenders.

The evaluation concluded that, for every $1 spent on the Job Corps programme, a total of $1.45 was returned to society in the form of benefits of some kind. While there may be debate on different values used, particularly for crimes of violence, there can be no doubt that the Job Corps programme was proven to effectively provide a service to the target population at a net benefit to society as a whole. The benefit-cost analysis carried out on the Job Corps programme was acclaimed by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a model of public programme accountability - see also, evidence presented by Dr. T.H. Bell and Dr. R. Hollistez, to the U.S. Congress Committee on Education and Labour Hearing, 22 April 1986 (Serial No. 99-98, U.S. Govt. Printing Office).

CURTIS, L. 'The Retreat of Folly : Some Modest Replications of Inner-City Success', Nov. 1987, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 494 Sage Publications, Beverley Hills.

Curtis considers four community-based programmes operating for over 15 years in the U.S. in inner-city areas with an emphasis on, but not exclusively directed towards, crimes committed by juveniles. He considers the following programmes:

  • The Community Board Programme in San Francisco which creates neighbourhood-based solutions to everyday urban conflicts through mediation by citizen volunteers;
  • The Argus Community in the South Bronx providing both residential and non-residential extended family environments for adjudicated offenders and other high-risk youths city-wide;
  • The House of Unioja in Philadelphia also providing residential environment with considerable community interaction;
  • The Centro Sister Isolina Ferre in Puerto Rico providing a balance of neighbourhood organizing, extended-family supports and employment opportunity.

Curtis highlights the unique properties of these projects being the extensive involvement of the overall community, not just criminal justice system professionals, emphasis on community revitalization through education, social and recreational services and on employment provision for high risk youth.

Curtis points to a consensus among observers that these programmes have been successful and cost-effective. For instance, Argus participants showed lower recidivism rates than any other programme in New York working with such high risk offenders. Another study reported a 3% rearrest rate for Unioja participants compared to a rate of 70% to got for young people released from conventional corrections facilities. over a 15-year period the number of adjudicated delinquents in the area where Centro is located has dropped by 85% despite an increase in the population of high risk youth.

Curtis also reports that these community-based alternatives are much more cost-effective than conventional corrections annual cost per person in N.Y. State prisons is $30,087 and in Federal maximum security prisons is $22,433, while it is $16,000 for Argus residents and $2,000 for non-residents, $16,000 for Unioja residents, and $200 for Centro nonresidents; the Community Board Programme 'achieves impressive success through volunteers, compared to expensive lawyers and court system' (p.13).

OHLIN, L.E. 'The Future of Tuvenile Tustice Policy and Research', Crime and Delinquency, 1983, 29(29):463-472.

Ohlin reviews U.S. juvenile justice policy developments over the past 20 years, with a focus on the 1982 Austin and Krisberg assessment of some consequences of using community based alternatives to juvenile incarceration, namely: (1) wider nets in which more youth are officially processed; (2) stronger nets that hold more youths in the system; and (3) different types of nets other than corrections (such as mental health and welfare placements). (Austin and Krisber,g, p.377).

Ohlin uses this assessment of two decades focus on diversion and deinstitutionalization to put forward an alternative analysis of future policy and research directions in the juvenile justice arena. Specifically he suggests issues worthy of integration into consideration of justice problems, namely:

  1. Confronting the Alienation of Youth - by considering theoretical areas of social control, economic and social strain, cultural conflict and deviance as complementary, formulate policies which concentrate resources at those points where youth are making critical choices in their lives so as to avoid careers in crime.
  2. Building Community Resources - recognising and strengthening the characteristics of communities which make them capable of encouraging their young people constructive behaviour.
  3. Allocation of Federal State and Local Resources defining how much allocations from which source will best bring about effective crime control.
  4. Employment and Education - formulating policies these two areas which best deal with the expected reduction in the 15-24 age group, to foster involvement in constructive community activities.
  5. Fear of Crime - surveys indicate that the link between fear of crime and actual risk is not as direct as might be assumed, yet the relationships of class, race and gender to crime are potentially explosive issues.
  6. Creating Co-operation - Ohlin stresses the view the 'juvenile justice policies cannot be successfully dealt with outside the context of a more general youth policy … (he sees) resorting to incarceration as a confession of bankruptcy of ideas and initiative in this field'. (p.471).