Implementation and effects of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Cooley, Valerie A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Public Policy
  • Graduated sanctions are a key feature of state juvenile justice policy. Federal funding to states is contingent upon use of graduated sanctions for juveniles. Every state has adopted aspects of graduated sanctions models, yet limited information exists regarding the implementation or effectiveness of graduated sanctions as a policy intervention. Nationally, approximately 90% of delinquent youth are supervised within their local communities, so a system of graduated sanctions depends upon local efforts to develop and sustain community-based sanctions. North Carolina is one of many states that enacted juvenile justice reforms based upon a graduated sanctions model. Using data from 93 counties, this study examined the implementation of community-based sanctions and the effects of sanctions continuums on county-level juvenile crime rates and custody rates. The implementation analysis showed implementation variability. Most counties did not implement a full continuum of sanctions as idealized by the state model. Counties with fewer financial resources had lower implementation levels, but regression analysis revealed that political factors had the greatest effect on implementation. Counties were classified according to the overall level of sanctions. A county-level longitudinal database was then constructed using data from 1990 to 2006 to include years before and after reform was enacted. Variability in local sanctions continuums was used to examine the effects of community-based sanctions on policy outcomes. Selection effects were controlled using fixed effects models and propensity score matching. Greater availability of sanctions in local communities reduced juvenile crime. Community-based residential services had the strongest effect, reducing the crime rate by 7 youth per 1,000. Secure custody rates dropped by half following juvenile justice reform. Prior to reform, counties with fewer sanctions alternatives had higher custody rates despite lower crime rates.. Legislative mandates restricted the use of secure custody to the most serious offenders. The decrease in custody rates for low implementation counties following reform may represent a forced departure from the practice of using secure custody for lack of sanctions alternatives. Results of the study lend support to recent state policy efforts to strengthen community-based sanctions and create smaller, community-based residential programs in lieu of large secure facilities.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Public Policy."
  • Orthner, Dennis K.
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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