Monday, April 07, 2008

23/you said you'd be interested

I turned 23 on Saturday, which brought to my attention the fact that I have now been "maintaining" this blog for over two years. Which, likewise, reminded me that the most interesting happenings in my life are now wedding plans and thesis work.

I do still socialize, mind you. On Friday night some of my favorite girls came over and we spent the entire time on the back porch chain smoking over cheap wine and intriguing conversation. It was fabulous.

Nick gave me a bottle of Chanel No. 5 and took me to eat at my favorite fondue restaurant, and although another couple we know and only semi-like was seated directly across the aisle from us, making for an awkward meal, and our pot became overheated, causing all of our food to burn after thirty seconds of cooking, we still had a great time together.

On Sunday we drove to my parents house, where mom cooked me birthday dinner. I had asked for a scale that could measure body fat, and they got me the super-diet scale that will measure and track weight, body fat, hydration level, and goals for up to four different users. The irony of eating birthday cake immediately after opening the gift was not lost on me.

Also significant is that we have settled on a location for the wedding: The Old Governor's Mansion (pictures available here).

However, contrary to all my feminine urges to cast my career and life as I know it aside in pursuit of The Perfect Wedding, what's most exciting to me is that I drew up my thesis contract with my chair last week. I know you're all dying for the details, so I'll share it in all its glory.

1. PROPOSED THESIS TOPIC:
Restorative Justice and Juvenile Recidivism

2. RELEVANCE TO STUDENT’S AREA OF INTEREST:
I am very interested in juvenile justice, and hope to work in policy, reform, and program development in this field upon graduation.

3. DESCRIBE HOW PROPOSED THESIS RESEARCH CONTRIBUTES TO KNOWLEDGE BASE:
In 2004, juvenile courts handled an estimated 1,660,700 delinquency cases and had more than 31 million youth under their jurisdiction (Stahl et al., 2007). Guin (2004) reported that Louisiana’s juvenile arrest rate ranks eighth nationally. Guin also found that Louisiana has 646 juveniles incarcerated in state juvenile prisons and 5,275 juveniles on probation or parole.
According to McLaren (2000), about 15-20% of juvenile offenders will continue to repeatedly break the law throughout adolescence and into adulthood—meaning that a small percentage of juvenile offenders are responsible for quite a large proportion of crimes committed. Data collection by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention (OJJDP; Snyder & Sickmund, 2006) found that about 25% of juveniles who offended at ages 16–17 also offended as adults at ages 18–19. The OJJDP also found that, of youth leaving custody, four in ten reported having been in custody two to four times before, and four in ten reported having been in custody five or more times before. This shows that of the youth sentenced to custody, eight of ten will return as a juvenile, and some will return several times before reaching adulthood. Additionally, the Louisiana Office of Youth Development (2007) reported that, in 2006, 17.8% of juveniles in custody were there as recidivists, and 221 individuals formerly in youth custody recidivated as adults.

Developing interventions to reduce the likelihood of juvenile recidivism is vitally important. Equally important is that these interventions are tested to measure their effectiveness. This study will evaluate the impact of restorative justice practices on juvenile recidivism, thereby increasing the knowledge base of potential interventions for juvenile offenders.

4. DESCRIBE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THESIS:
1. To examine whether participation in a restorative justice program, contrasted with lack of participation in any restorative justice program, will significantly reduce the incidence of recidivism among a sample of juvenile offenders.

2. To examine whether participation in a restorative justice program, contrasted with lack of participation in any restorative justice program, will significantly impact the timing of recidivism among a sample of juvenile offenders.

3. To examine whether type of offense (e.g., status, property, violent, sexual) will significantly impact the relationship between participation in a restorative justice program and rate of recidivism among a sample of juvenile offenders.

4. To examine whether the gender of the offender will significantly impact the relationship between participation in a restorative justice program and rate of recidivism among a sample of juvenile offenders.

5. IDENTIFY TASKS TO ACCOMPLISH STEP #4:
1. Conduct review of literature on the topics of juvenile recidivism, restorative justice, and resilience theory (which will be used as a framework for this study)

2. Write proposed methodology and data analysis sections of thesis

3. Defend thesis proposal and submit IRB application

4. Upon IRB approval, obtain contact information from the Department of Juvenile Services and/or the Office of Youth Development for juvenile offenders who have participated in restorative justice court diversion programs within the past twelve months

5. Conduct mail survey.

6. Analyze data

7. Complete results and discussion sections of thesis

8. Final thesis defense

7. STUDENT’S ANTICIPATED LEARNING OUTCOMES:

1. To determine whether participation in a restorative justice program impacts the rate and/or timing of recidivism rates among juvenile offenders.

2. To determine whether the type of offense impacts the relationship between participation in a restorative justice program and juvenile recidivism.

3. To determine whether gender impacts the relationship between participation in a restorative justice program and juvenile recidivism.


8. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION:

1. Complete thesis proposal by August 1, 2008

2. Obtain contact information for juvenile offenders who have participated in restorative justice court diversion programs within the past twelve months by September 30, 2008

3. Conduct survey of juvenile offenders from October 1 to November 15, 2008

4. Work a minimum of three hours per week on this project

5. Complete data analysis by February 1, 2009

6. Complete results and discussion sections of thesis by March 1, 2009

7. Submit thesis to committee by March 2, 2009

8. Defend thesis by March 20, 2009

9. Submit thesis to SSWR, CSWE, & NASW-LA

10. Submit thesis work for publication with the assistance of Dr. Lim (thesis chair)

References

Guin, C., Edwards, M.F. (2004). Crime and corrections in Louisiana. Retrieved October 13, 2007 from http://www.socialwork.lsu.edu/pdfs/ossrd_Crime_Corr_LA.pdf

Louisiana Office of Youth Development. (2007). Profile of recidivism in office of youth development. Retrieved October 11, 2007, from http://www.oyd.louisiana.gov/test/statistics-05-oyd/1f.pdf.

McLaren, K.L. (2000). Tough is not enough – Getting smart about youth crime. A review of research on what works to reduce offending by young people. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Snyder, H.N., & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006
National Report
. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Stahl, A.L., Puzzanchera, C., Livsey, S., Sladky, A., Finnegan, T.A., Tierney, N., &
Snyder, H.N. (2007). Juvenile court statistics 2003–2004. Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice.

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