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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2000 Sep;39(9):1127-34.

Project back-on-track at 1 year: a delinquency treatment program for early-career juvenile offenders.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610, USA.



This study assessed the effectiveness of Project Back-on-Track, an after-school diversion program that uses a multimodal approach for the treatment of early-career juvenile offenders.


Project Back-on-Track completers (30 of 41 enrollees; 73%), aged 9 to 17 years, 63% female, participated in a 4-week cycle of treatment consisting of group and family therapies, parent groups, educational sessions, community service projects, and empathy-building exercises. These youths attended the program 2 hours per day, 4 days a week, allowing for 32 hours of contact with the program per cycle; parents attended the program for 15 hours per cycle. Most youths were referred for violent offenses and met criteria for conduct disorder.


Project Back-on-Track completers were significantly less likely than matched controls to have committed subsequent criminal offenses at 12 months. In addition, they had significantly fewer subsequent criminal charges at 9- and 12-month follow-up intervals than the control group. By decreasing the frequency of criminal recidivism, it is estimated that Project Back-on-Track resulted in savings to society of approximately $1,800 per youth enrolled after 1 year.


At 1-year follow-up, findings suggest that treatment through Project Back-on-Track was effective in reducing criminal recidivism and costs in a population of early-career juvenile offenders.

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