Mentoring Lowers Recidivism in NYC Youth Program

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Youths on probation who took part in a New York City mentorship program had a much lower recidivism rate than those who didn’t, a new study found, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports. Youths between 16 and 24 who went through the Arches Transformative Mentoring Program while on probation had a 69 percent lower recidivism rate within 12 months of starting their probation than youths who did not participate in the program, the study said. After 24 months, the rate was 57 percent lower. The strongest impact was seen with participants ages 16 and 17.

“We’ve never really seen the effects of this magnitude, particularly for this population,” said Carson Hicks of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, which commissioned the Urban Institute to do the study. Researchers used data from the city’s probation department of Probation from nearly 1,000 youths who were on probation in 2013 and 2014. In the program, youths are assigned a mentor, known as a “credible messenger,” to work with one-on-one. They attend group meetings twice a week and complete the curriculum for a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. The one-on-one relationship is the crux of the program, experts said. “Just make sure that kids have positive experiences with education, with working, with relationships,” said Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “The relationship itself may be the principal rehabilitative force.”

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