A brief summary of the research study you selected. Be sure to include the population studied, key data and results, and other important takeaways of the article.
In 1997 in Washington State, the legislature created the Community Juvenile Justice Act (CJJA) which dictated the use of research-based or evidence-based treatments and interventions for youth involved in the juvenile justice system to reduce recidivism and lower the costs of crime and incarceration to the state (Fumia, Drake, & He, 2015). To fulfill the legislatureâ€™s mandate, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) has worked to conduct research on interventions and deliver results that are useful for juvenile courts and agencies to choose and implement programs that will reduce recidivism ultimately (Fumia et al., 2015).
The current study references one of these programs, Coordination of Services (COS). This is an educational program for low-risk juvenile offenders and their families that connects them to services in the community and helps them avoid further involvement with the court system. It includes a 12-hour seminar over several days and covers topics such as employment services, social services, and drug and alcohol services.
The researchers compared 699 COS participants with 699 similar low-risk juvenile offenders that were eligible for but did not participate in COS. They compared recidivism data for the two groups. Recidivism was defined as an offense that was committed up to 18 months after the start date of the program and resulted in a conviction (Fumia et al., 2015). Results indicated that the program reduced recidivism by 3.5 percentage points, from 20% to 16.5% between the groups. In addition, the researchers conducted a cost-benefit analysis and concluded that the program costs $412 per participant and the benefits are $9,614, with a ratio of $23 to $1. In summary, the benefits outweigh the costs 96% of the time (Fumia et al., 2015). Additionally, the program was deemed effective in reducing recidivism in low-risk juvenile offenders (Fumia et al., 2015).
Explain how a forensic psychology professional might use the results of the study to influence public policy and/or law in forensics or in forensic settings.
The results of this study can be used to lobby for additional funding for this particular program as it is shown to be research-based and has a significant cost-benefit ratio. The legislature can be approached to request that more data be analyzed to see if the program would reach the evidence-based tier and thus extend into more courts and counties across the state. Being evidence-based is the â€œgold-standardâ€ of an intervention and more funding is funneled into programs that have positive outcomes on issues like recidivism and crime reduction.
Also, these results can be compared to similar studies showing promising outcomes on programs like COS. For instance, Anderson, Ringle, Ingram, Ross, and Thompson (2017) conducted a study similar to Fumia et al. (2015) on care coordination services (CCS) for youth and their families and found that outcomes were positive at six and 12 months after the intervention. Services specific to juveniles at risk of or already involved in the judicial system and that are family-driven are showing evidence of success in reducing risk and continued system involvement. When the legislature funds programs like this, more youth are eligible to participate in and benefit from it and the entire state benefits from the impact of less crime and lower recidivism rates. Also, in times of recession, or when funding is lacking for various reasons, results of studies such as Fumia et al. (2015) help justify the programâ€™s existence and continued funding.
Anderson, L., Ringle, J. L., Ingram, S. D., Ross, J. R., & Thompson, R. W. (2017). Care coordination services: A description of an alternative service model for at-risk families. Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work, 14(4), 217â€“228. doi: 10.1080/23761407.2017.1306731
Fumia, D., Drake, E., & He, L. (2015). Washingtonâ€™s coordination of services program for juvenile offenders: Outcome evaluation and benefit-cost analysis. Retrieved from https://www.wsipp.wa.gov/ReportFile/1617/Wsipp_Was…