Applied Research Projects

Evaluation of Truancy Interventions

IGSR, in collaboration with the Maryland Judiciary, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), with funding from the State Justice Institute conducted a process and outcome evaluation of the school-based Truancy Court Program (TCP) in Baltimore City. TCP, which is operated by the Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) at the University of Baltimore School of Law, is a voluntary, 10-week, in-school intervention for students who are beginning to demonstrate a pattern of truancy. The program emphasizes mentoring and service referral for student participants and their parents/guardians. Judges volunteer their time to conduct mock court sessions in participating schools, monitor student progress, and provide encouragement to participants and their families. The TCP team also includes school-based representatives, CFCC staff and law students. The evaluation found that merely participating in TCP did not result in improved student attendance, but that graduation from the program was associated with improved attendance. IGSR also partnered with AOC to synthesize the results of the TCP evaluation with results of evaluations of a court-based truancy intervention, the Truancy Reduction Pilot Program (TRPP) in the First Judicial Circuit, and a mediation intervention, Baltimore Students: Mediation about Reducing Truancy (B-SMART) in Baltimore City schools.

Principal Investigator: Jeanne Bilanin
Co-Principal Investigators: C. David Crumpton

Report: Assessing School Attendance Problems and Truancy Intervention in Maryland: A Synthesis of Evidence from Baltimore City and the Lower Eastern Shore

Report: Evaluation of the Truancy Court Program in Baltimore City

Adult Drug Court Assessments

With funding from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance, IGSR is conducting a statewide comparative analysis of 11 large, representative adult drug courts in Maryland. IGSR is researching program outcomes and identifying the drug court client characteristics and practices contributing to participant successes and failures. The analysis uses both drug court program data and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration treatment data, both stored in the Statewide Maryland Automated Record Tracking (SMART) system, as well as official criminal record data from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to compare factors affecting participant outcomes. Participant outcomes include rates of program retention and completion, substance abuse, and criminal recidivism. Additionally, a cost-benefit study of two adult drug court programs (Anne Arundel County Circuit and Carroll County Circuit Court) compared with two business-as-usual comparison samples is being conducted. A pre/post analysis in four Maryland drug courts (Baltimore City, Carroll County, Cecil County, and Wicomico County), which are implementing operational improvements/enhancements is also being completed. The pre/post research will assess whether the enhancements in the four courts helped the programs reach or exceed their program capacities and also determine whether the enhancements had any impact on participant outcomes. The research is being conducted under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maryland Judiciary, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), with funding provided to AOC's Office of Problem Solving Courts by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young
Co-Principal Investigator: Benjamin Falls

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Comparative Analyses of Four Juvenile Drug Court Programs

The Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts is funding a comparative analyses of four juvenile drug court programs. Under this grant, IGSR is conducting a comparative analysis of four large, representative juvenile drug courts programs in the state. Researchers are looking at program outcomes and identifying drug court characteristics and practices contributing to participant success and failure. The analysis uses drug court program data and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration (ADAA) treatment data stored in the Statewide Maryland Automated Record Tracking (SMART) system, as well as official delinquency data from the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to compare factors affecting outcomes. Participant outcomes include rates of program retention and completion, substance abuse, and criminal recidivism. IGSR is also conducting a cost-benefit study of one juvenile drug court program (Prince George’s County) compared to a business-as-usual comparison sample. The research is being funded by the Maryland Judiciary, Administrative Office of the Courts.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young
Co-Principal Investigator: Benjamin Falls

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Evaluation of Second Chance Act Technology Careers Grant Program

IGSR is conducting a process and outcome evaluation of the Second Chance Act Technology Careers Program implemented by Maryland Correctional Education within the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), under a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance. Using data provided by the DLLR. the evaluation will explore both program completion and participant satisfaction with the educational program, internship and/or mentoring components of the program. The study will also explore participant recidivism and whether participants obtained and retained employment---and remain drug free.

Principal Investigator: Shawn M. Flower

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Monitoring Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in Baltimore City and Montgomery County

IGSR is currently collaborating with the Family League of Baltimore City to monitor disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in Baltimore City and Montgomery County. Data collected from the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and local police departments will be used to complete quarterly reports on demographic, geographic, and offense characteristics of youth at multiple stages of the juvenile justice system. The goal is to provide jurisdictions with the information they need to identify and address problem stages in the system, as well as to allow them to monitor changes in trends over time.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young

Report: Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Maryland Juvenile Justice System

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Evaluating Efforts to Reconnect Detained Youth to their Families and Communities

IGSR has been awarded funding from the Family League of Baltimore City to evaluate two programs: the Education Placement Team (EPT) Project and the Parent Empowerment Project (PEP). The main goal of these two programs is to reconnect youth with their families and communities and to diminish the potentially harmful effects of detention. The EPT program is designed to ensure that youth who leave secure detention in Baltimore City are assessed and placed in appropriate schools within five days of release. Using program and juvenile justice data, IGSR will examine how processing and programmatic factors have affected reconnection rates over time. The second program, PEP, targets low-risk youth who are detained solely because their parents or guardians lack the ability to pick them up from custody. Using program and juvenile justice data, IGSR will provide the risk profiles of program participants and will evaluate the impact of PEP on future outcomes, including placements and re-referrals.

Principal Investigator: Sara Betsinger
Co-Principal Investigator: Douglas Young

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Evaluation of the Glen Burnie District Court Self-Help Center

With funding from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), IGSR is evaluating the Self-Help Center (SHC) at the Glen Burnie District Court, which assists self-represented litigants in civil cases. A variety of measures are being used to collect data for this project including baseline questionnaires of litigants, client surveys and interviews, staff and stakeholder interviews and surveys, and extensive case information on clients and comparison litigants. Both process and outcome indicators are being assessed in the evaluation, including data on reaching target goals regarding numbers and types of cases using the center, clients' satisfaction and understanding of their cases after receiving center help, as well as staff and stakeholder perceptions of the SHC and SHC clients.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young
Co-Principal Investigator: Benjamin Falls

Report: Evaluation of the Glen Burnie District Court Self-Help Center

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Criminal Justice Researcher - Practitioner Fellowship Placement Program - Enhancing the Judiciary’s Role in Child Welfare: Promoting Interagency Collaboration and Best Practices

IGSR has been awarded a two-year research grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to engage in a researcher-practitioner partnership with the Maryland Judiciary to enhance the Judiciary’s role in child welfare reform in the state. The project aims to identify and describe “crossover youth” who are involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, assess how the needs of these youth are currently being met and how they can be improved, and evaluate the partnerships between the agencies directly involved with meeting the needs of these youth. Information will be collected through court observations, from Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and circuit court case files, and through interviews and surveys with relevant stakeholders in Maryland’s five largest jurisdictions: Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young

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Assessment and Referral Technologies in Juvenile Justice

With funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, IGSR is collaborating with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and researchers from George Mason University to develop and test a curriculum for training community supervision staff and supervisors in juvenile assessment, referral, placement, and treatment planning (JARPP). Using a rigorous, random assignment design, the investigators will gather data on about 250 staff and 1,800 youth to assess the impact of the JARPP intervention on case management practices and the use of substance abuse treatment and related health services by youth under DJS supervision in the community. The goal of this five-year R01 study is to increase the use of these services by youth in need and to reduce their deeper involvement in the justice system. From a broader perspective, the project seeks to address an urgent concern in both the juvenile justice and public health fields: the gap between research and practice.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young

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Department of Juvenile Services: Development of Risk Assessment Tools

The purpose of this project is to provide technical assistance to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) in the area of risk assessment. DJS collects risk and needs data as part of its standard operating procedures for all youth referred to the department. These data, combined with official records outcome data (recidivism, court appearance, and compliance with supervision), are used to develop validated risk assessment tools in order to provide empirically-based guidance to decision makers at each stage of the DJS process (intake, adjudication, housing, and reassessment during aftercare/parole).

IGSR's role is to provide data analysis and background research to the DJS personnel who are responsible for devising and implementing the risk assessment tools. IGSR validates risk items at each stage of the process and assists in the development of the risk assessment tools. Additionally, IGSR assists in the development of processes for monitoring the implementation of the tools.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young

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eCourt: A Web-Based Management Information System for Drug Courts

With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, IGSR is developing and testing the eCourt system, a web-based computerized management information system designed for use by drug courts nationally and built upon the Maryland SMART/ Drug Court system. The eCourt system is being piloted and evaluated in eight courts across the country. The eCourt initiative is intended to address practical needs involving federal monitoring and reporting on drug courts while also building basic knowledge about technology transfer and the role of technology in advancing program implementation and effectiveness.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young

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Examination of Prosecution Approaches to Reducing Gun Violence

IGSR reviewed the processes of community and traditional prosecution in two Maryland counties. Through individual interviews and survey responses from state’s attorney’s office staff, local police departments, and community organizations, the researchers gathered data on the daily operations, goals, and collaborative relationships created by both community prosecution and traditional prosecution units, with special focus on cases of gun violence. The research found that although problem solving is highly regarded by both traditional and community prosecutors, the offices are only beginning to achieve a problem-solving focus. Prosecutors have formed useful partnerships that may help lead to further problem-solving strategies as community prosecution units continue to develop and gain experience. The research team produced a monograph documenting these findings, which concludes with recommendations for further areas of development and future outcome evaluations of community prosecution in the two offices. The Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention has funded this project with a grant of $69,694, representing 100% of project costs.

Principal Investigator: Jeanne Bilanin
Co-Principal Investigator: Laura Wyckoff

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Information to Power Innovation in Maryland (IPIM) Substance Abuse Treatment

In the Information to Power Innovation in Maryland (IPIM) project, IGSR researchers are developing and testing a substance-abuse practice improvement system in several treatment provider sites around the state. The Feedback Assessment and Capabilities System (FACS) employs data available from the SMART IT system and organizational surveys administered to managers and staff. Program administrators and staff in four sites participated in a training workshop devoted to reviewing their site's FACS results regarding use of evidence-based practices and organizational strengths and weaknesses. Workshop attendees developed action plans to address the FACS results. Researchers have tracked staff participation in the protocol and progress on action plans and are comparing the impacts of the protocol at the four experimental sites and four control sites on client retention, staff-reported practices, and organizational measures of effectiveness.

Principal Investigator: Douglas Young
Co-Principal Investigator: Jayme Delano

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