Adult & Juvenile Corrections Evaluation

State of Michigan Legislative Council
Study of 17-Year-Olds in the Adult Court and Correctional Systems

In 2017 HZA won the contract to with a legislative body, the State of Michigan Legislative Council’s Criminal Justice Policy Commission, to measure the workload and financial costs to the State of Michigan and its counties of proposed legislation to move 17-year-olds from the adult corrections system to the juvenile justice system and/or separate 17-year-olds from adult offenders.


Rhode Island Public Safety Grant Administration Office
Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis of Victims’ Services Programs

HZA was contracted by the Rhode Island Public Safety Grant Administration Office from 2016 to 2017 to conduct a needs assessment and gap analysis for victim’s services in the state. Another element of the project was to review the RFP process for making Victims of Crime Act Victims’ Assistance Formula Grants (VOCA) sub awards to ensure the requirements of the Victims of Crime Act and the Federal Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Grant Guidance are being met. HZA identified the underserved populations and the gaps in services provided to the victims of crime. HZA assisted in the development of a strategic plan for meeting the future goals of victim’s services.


John T. Gorman Foundation
Evaluation of Juvenile Justice Collaborative in Lewiston

From 2016 to 2017 HZA is evaluating a juvenile justice collaborative of three agencies designed to reduce juvenile recidivism or divert high-risk youth from juvenile involvement. The program is operating largely in an immigrant community in Lewiston, Maine. The after school Reporting Center allows youth to participate in positive activities with constant supervision while benefitting from academic support, counseling community service opportunities, arts and cultural enrichment, social skills development, and opportunities for field and service trips. The Root Cellar performs similar activities as well as helping youth fulfill their restorative justice goals. The Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services provides support through interpretation and cultural brokering services with the parents. HZA is assessing growth in developmental assets as well as educational achievement and recidivism.


Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services
Juvenile Reentry Program (JRP) Research and Statistics

From 2016 to 2017 HZA has worked with the Mississippi Department of Human Services to support the Division of Youth Services (DYS) in establishing baseline measures for its Juvenile Reentry Program (JRP). Working in conjunction with the Juvenile Reentry Program Task Force, HZA identified a priority set of positive youth outcomes for youth at Oakley Youth Development Center (OYDC), the sole juvenile correctional institution in the state. The project was conducted in three phases: 1) developed the performance measurement plan including the structure and data to be collected; 2) collected information on three groups (youth at Oakley, youth under community supervision, fully released youth) to test the data collection tools and establish baseline measures; and 3) refined the tools and methods for ongoing use, providing an electronic tool to the agency which can be used in ongoing performance measurement.


Maine Department of Corrections
SMART Probation/SMART Supervision Evaluation

From 2016 to 2017, with funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, HZA is evaluating the SMART Probation initiative in Maine which is training probation officers to use evidence-based techniques to reduce recidivism. HZA is using a mixed method approach including key informant interviews as part of a process evaluation, training assessments and analysis of recidivism data.


Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice
Assessment of Disproportionate Minority Contact within the

Louisiana Juvenile Justice System


From 2012 to 2015 HZA analyzed disproportionate minority contact as defined by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 2002. Minority populations are defined as American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. HZA worked to analyze whether and where one or more of these populations exist in disproportionate numbers from the point of arrest to transfer to adult court. The project moved through the five phase DMC Reduction Model to determine the extent to which DMC exits, assess the reasons why it exists, develop and implement strategies to address the reasons, evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of implemented strategies and adjust intervention strategies as needed. Following the model HZA worked with the parishes to identify where disproportionality exists within the nine contact points: arrest, referral, diversion, detention, petition/charge filed, delinquency findings, probation, confinement and transfer to adult court.


Thrive, Inc.
Evaluation of Peer Mentors in Youth Court

Starting in 2013 for three years, HZA oversaw the performance assessment and evaluation of the Peer Mentors in Youth Court Program, an initiative funded by SAMHSA. The program is intended to divert youth ages eleven to eighteen who have committed a first time, non-violent offense and are at high risk for or are demonstrating signs of substance abuse. The program combines restorative youth courts operated by teens with the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and pairs each participant with a peer mentor. HZA developed a web-based client tracking system for the project encompassing enrollment, service delivery, outcomes and administrative functions. HZA is using these and other data to produce process and outcome evaluations.


Alaska Department of Corrections
Evaluation of Mental Health Trust Beneficiaries in the Correctional System

In 2013, HZA was contracted to update and expand its 2007 retrospective study of Trust Beneficiaries (persons with mental health issues) who are incarcerated in DOC facilities. The four-year retrospective analysis of all inmates with mental illness who entered in and/or were released from Alaska’s correctional system provided the agency with a profile of the people with mental illness who have been incarcerated, an analysis of the services available to the population both in the correctional system and in the community, an understanding of the barriers to treatment of this population, research on evidence-based practices for the population and an analysis of cost benefits to implement effective treatment services, as well as potential funding sources. The study matches clients in the correctional system across nine data sets including Medicaid claims data to determine mental health and substance use diagnoses as well as the use of services before, during and after incarceration. The study employed binary logistic regression to identify factors that increased the odds of recidivism so the state could identify high risk groups and target release programming to those groups.


Kennebec County, Maine
Evaluation of Kennebec Regional Re-entry Program

HZA’s evaluation focuses on two primary areas of inquiry. First, the study documents the process of program development and implementation, noting changes to the original plans, and recording lessons learned. Second, the evaluation determines the extent to which the intervention, namely early re-entry planning coupled with an intense treatment program while incarcerated, results in reduced recidivism among participants within 12-months after program initiation.


Savannah Family Institute
Evaluation of Parenting with Love and Limits

Parenting with Love and Limits® (PLL) is an evidence-based treatment program designed for adolescents, ages 10 to18, with severe emotional and behavioral problems, alcohol or drug use, truancy issues, domestic violence, suicidal ideation, depression or ADHD. PLL integrates a series of family and group therapy sessions to address unhealed wounds, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, in a comprehensive system of care environment. HZA served for several years as the national evaluator of PLL. It has been engaged to conduct outcome studies, generally using a quasi-experimental design, from Alaska to Rhode Island and in multiple states in between. HZA uses analysis of standardized tools such as the Child Behavior Checklist and Family Adaptability and Cohesion Effectiveness Scales IV to compare pre-/post-scores and treatment/non-treatment scores. In longer term studies we have tracked recidivism, using treatment and control groups.


Alaska Court System
Evaluation of Fairbanks Juvenile Treatment Court

Fairbanks Juvenile Treatment Court (FJTC) began as an innovative response to youth with mental health and substance use disorders. The Court targets youth whose mental illness likely contributed to the commission of the crime. Like most special purpose courts, the FJTC is managed by a multi-disciplinary team which uses a collaborative as opposed to an adversarial approach. Members step out of their traditional roles to encourage treatment of the juvenile while still promoting public safety.


HZA’s 2013 evaluation of the Court included both a process and an outcome evaluation as well as case studies. HZA used a quasi-experimental, comparative design to examine outcomes from a comparison group of similarly situated youth with mental illness who did not participate in the FJTC. The research design employed a mixed method approach involving a literature review, observations of courtroom practices, interviews, case record reviews, case studies and analysis of administrative data sets.