Individuals – Rose & Hamilton (1970)

Study Reference:

Rose, G., & Hamilton, R.A. (1970). Effects of a juvenile liaison scheme. British Journal of Criminology, 10(1), 2-20.

Location in the Matrix; Methodoloogical Rigor; Outcome:

Individuals; Focused; Reactive; Very rigorous; No evidence of an effect

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study evaluated the effect of a police juvenile liaison scheme in Blackburn on recidivism. Juveniles could be diverted into this scheme if they were first-time, minor offenders, if they admitted guilt, if their families were willing to cooperate and accept supervision from the police, and if the complainant was amenable to non-prosecution by police. The police supervision, which included home visits, lasted 6 months. Juvenile Liason Officers also spent a great deal of time on contacts with a wide range of institutions (e.g. schools, shops, social work departments) and giving talks and participating in activities with youth.

How was the intervention evaluated?

From January 1964 to December 1965, all eligible arrested male juveniles (394) were randomly allocated either to be cautioned only or to be cautioned and supervised. A check on randomization showed that only one variable was different between the groups and is worth noting: age distributions show a slight tendency for the cautioned group to be older than the cautioned and supervised group. Recidivism,measured by any subsequent offence dealt with in some way by the police, was investigated during a 30-month follow-up period to determine program effect.

What were the key findings?

Police supervision did not significantly reduce the recidivism rate either during or after the supervision period . During the follow-up period, the recidivism probabilities of these two groups were 26 and 27 percent.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that though they cannot conclude the program had no positive impacts, the additional supervision did not reduce recidivism. They also posit that the study may have failed to show an effect because the supervision period was too short or the scheme too new for supervision to really be effective.

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?