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In a three year longitudinal study of first time juvenile status offenders assigned at random to three treatment groups and a control group, no significant differences were found in recidivism rates among the groups. A total of 398 juveniles in this study were cited for offenses of tobacco or alcohol in a medium-sized metropolitan northwest city. The offenders were assigned at random to four groups: a traditional magistrate court, a traditional Youth Court diversion program, a new non-judicial diversion program and a control group. None of the groups including the control group showed a significant difference in recidivism rates. It was determined from the evaluation of all groups that the diversion program offered the most cost effective program intervention to provide more services to potentially troubled teens.

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The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in the Criminal Justice Policy Review, Vol 1 (1), 2005. SAGE Publications, Inc., All rights reserved. doi: 10.1177/0887403404266584