| ||Literature Coverage Dates||Number of Studies||Number of Study Participants|
|Meta-Analysis 1||1990 - 2009||22||4595|
|Meta-Analysis 2||1990 - 2009||30||6620|
James and colleagues (2013) reviewed studies that examined the effectiveness of aftercare programs on juvenile recidivism. A comprehensive search of bibliographic databases, bibliographies of previous meta-analyses, and literature reviews was conducted. Both published and unpublished reports were included in the search. Studies were not excluded on the basis of geographic location or language.
To be eligible for inclusion, studies had to 1) use an experimental and/or quasi-experimental design; 2) evaluate reentry or aftercare interventions aimed at decreasing recidivism for juveniles; 3) incorporate a treatment modality, such as skills training, counseling, and cognitive behavior therapy; and 4) include only participants who had spent time in a form of detention when enrolled in the reentry or aftercare program that had started during or immediately after their detention. The treatment group comprised youths who had joined the aftercare program either during detention or post-release, and the control group youths were those assigned to a care-as-usual group. The care-as-usual group received services such as regular probation supervision without therapeutic treatment.
Participants included juvenile males and females of various ethnic backgrounds. The minimum age for entering the program was set at 10 years. The maximum age was set at 25 rather than 18 years. The researchers believed that juveniles do not suddenly become adults at the age of 18; instead, the process of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood is an emerging one that occurs over time.
The search yielded a final sample of 22 eligible studies, 9 of which were randomized controlled studies, 6 were matched control group studies, and 7 were quasi-experimental studies. It is important to note that in addition to the inclusion of studies of youths committed to juvenile-oriented facilities, studies of young adults incarcerated in adult facilities were also considered eligible. The total number of participants across the 22 studies was 4,595, and the majority of participants were male.
The outcome of interest was recidivism. Studies were eligible if they included at least one measure of the following: 1) any new conviction/adjudication of any new crime committed after exiting a correctional facility based on official records, and 2) any new arrest after exiting the correctional facility based on official records.
The authors used a fixed-effects model to analyze the impact of juvenile aftercare on recidivism.Meta-Analysis 2
Weaver and Campbell (2015) reviewed studies to determine the treatment impact of aftercare programs for young offenders. To be eligible for inclusion in the review, studies had to
- Evaluate an aftercare program in which juvenile offenders were committed to a detention center or similar facility for a period of time, and then released to transition back into the community. Aftercare had to consist of monitoring, supervision, and various services intended to promote a successful reentry into the community.
- Include a control group. Although studies had to include a control group to be eligible for inclusion, there were no specific control conditions.
- Include participants who were committed to a youth-oriented facility or detention center prior to their transition into the community. Studies that included juveniles who were incarcerated in adult prisons or jails were excluded from the meta-analysis.
A comprehensive search of bibliographic databases, bibliographies of previous meta-analyses, and literature reviews was conducted. Both published and unpublished reports were included in the search. Studies were not excluded on the basis of geographic location or time period.
The search yielded a total of 30 studies that were eligible for inclusion, which included a total of 6,620 participants (3,114 in the treatment group and 3,506 in the control group). In contrast to the review by James and colleagues (2013), only studies that involved youths committed to juvenile-oriented facilities were eligible for inclusion. The mean age of participants in both the treatment and control groups was 16.5.
The outcome of interest was recidivism, which included felonies and misdemeanors and excluded status and traffic offenses. The authors used a random-effects model to analyze the impact of juvenile aftercare programs on recidivism.