The 8% Early Intervention Program grew out of a historical analysis of court referrals that found that 8 percent of referred adolescents account for more than half of all repeat offenses among juveniles on probation. Thus, the program targets young offenders (under age 15) who are deemed to be at risk of becoming chronic, serious, and violent juvenile offenders. Those who are potential “8% cases” are identified during screening at court intake through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment instrument. These high-risk offenders receive intensive supervision in a Repeat Offender Prevention Program, and wraparound interventions are provided to 8% clients and their families through a Youth and Family Resource Center (YFRC). In a two-year follow-up, compared with the control group, the 8% Early Intervention Program group has had significantly fewer petitions filed for new law violations, a lower overall number of petitions filed, and a lower average number of days in custody.
The Orange County juvenile probation study also identified two other groups of offenders: a medium-risk group (22 percent of the total sample) and a low-risk group (the remaining 70 percent). An interdisciplinary team of practitioners from throughout the county then developed a model continuum of juvenile justice services to manage all three groups simultaneously. Youth who are found, through risk assessment, to be in the 70 percent group are assigned to the Immediate Accountability Program, those in the 22 percent group are assigned to the Intensive Intervention Program, and those in the 8 percent group are admitted to the 8% Early Intervention Program’s YFRC. All wards of the court receive appropriate sanctions and services, based mainly on the results of risk and needs assessments. Offenders can be moved up and down the continuum of sanctions and program levels, depending on their progress in staying out of trouble and success in treatment programs. This is an impressive probation graduated-sanctions system that combines immediate and intermediate sanctions with a continuum of treatment programs. The 8% Early Intervention Program has been replicated in seven other California counties under funding provided by the state legislature.
OJJDP Study Group on Child Delinquents: Promising program
Mr. Tom Starnes
Orange County Probation Department
909 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Phone: (714) 569-2142
Howell, J. C. (2003). Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive Framework. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Schumacher, M., and Kurz, G. (2000). The 8% Solution: Preventing Serious, Repeat Juvenile Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.