Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheila Gregory

Third Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Abstract

Juvenile delinquency in the nation’s cities, suburbs, and rural communities has been considered a longstanding problem with severe implications for not only youth offenders but their families and communities as well. The source of juvenile delinquency has been attributed to a number of factors including the breakdown of the family, antisocial behavior as a result of the child’s environment, and rapid urbanization of America’s cities. No matter the source, the problem of juvenile delinquency has been addressed by a variety of stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and school systems with the purpose of diminishing the problem. The current climate of juvenile justice reform is shifting toward prevention and intervention, rather than complete suppression by way of detainment. According to the theoretical framework applied to this study, a consideration for understanding forms of deviance relates to social controls and the presumption that conformity is not intrinsically accepted, but is the result of internal and external motivations or factors.

This research was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Youth Against Violence (YAV) program, which focused its efforts on reducing juvenile delinquency in the community and assisting youth to meet bond conditions in order to reenroll in traditional public schools. Participants were referred to the YAV program by court order, school referral, or parent/self referral for participation in an 8-week intervention and prevention program to help rehabilitate offenders for the purpose of successful re-entry into the community and completion of their education in public schools.

To determine program effectiveness, this study utilized several independent variables including parental involvement, participant demographics, gang membership/affiliation, program curriculum, frequency of contact with law enforcement, family history with law enforcement, and extended family support. These variables were selected to measure participants’ perception of YAV program effectiveness. This mixed method analysis utilized participant surveys, focus groups with former participants, parents of former participants, and interviews with YAV personnel.

The research concludes by identifying the significant relationships between the dependent and independent variables revealed in descriptive and correlative statistics. The research also discusses the emergent themes related to program effectiveness that were identified in qualitative analysis. Finally, the research provides recommendations for program practice, juvenile justice policy, and future rehabilitative and reentry research based on the research findings to assist practitioners with the development of prevention and intervention programs that can effectively deter youth from engaging in delinquency.

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