MPD’s WAKEUP Program is Going to Hurt Modesto’s Youth
By Emerson Drake
“What does not work in crime prevention is just as important as what works. It is counterproductive to use scarce budget funds and waste the funding support on programs that do not work, or that may make things worse. Throwing good money after bad reduces the public’s trust in their government.”
Wrote Anthony J. Schembri, Secretary Florida Department of Juvenile Justic
From the 500 citations generated, this stringent process yielded nine studies that met the methodological demands to be included in the final analysis. These studies were conducted between 1967-1992 in eight different states throughout the U.S., with Michigan being the site for two. The collective sample was 946 juveniles with an average age ranging from 15 to 17 years old, a racial composition between 36%-84% white, with only one study including girls (for complete breakdown by study see Petrosino et al., 2003). The focus of investigation was on the proportion of each group (Scared Straight or control) that re-offended.
The results from the re-offending rates show that the Scared Straight-type intervention
increases the delinquency outcomes during the follow-up period. This means that those youth who went through these types of programs have higher recidivism rates than those youth who did not go through the programs. It is important to remember that the treatment and the control groups were randomized, meaning that each youth had an equal probability of being placed in either group, thus assuring that each group is comparable and essentially identical at the outset of the experiment. This guarantees that any difference between the two groups is due to the intervention itself, and not to any characteristic of the youth in each group.
Modesto’s Police Department should have learned this lesson the first time but since we didn’t we’re doomed to repeat it. Don’t fall for what feels good, insist on what actually is good for our children.