Statistical Analysis – Beyond Scared Straight Program

The Los Angeles County Probation Department is an institution that has been working to enhance public safety, to ensure the rights of victims are realized and to effect positive probationer behavior change. It services the community in enforcing court orders, recommending sanctions to the court, incarcerating delinquents, operating correctional institutions, assisting victims and providing corrective assistance to individuals in conflict with the law.
However, one of the issues which the department is undertaking is to reduce recidivism which leads to youth offenders becoming adult offenders. Rearrests and reconviction of youthful offenders is very common in Los Angeles and this shows that a repeated rearrests will surely lead into a youth becoming an adult offender. This also implies that corrective measures applied towards the youth offenders have not worked. Beyond Scared Straight Program which the department is implementing is aimed at reversing this situation and ultimately cutting down on the recurrent costs spent on recidivism.
In order to come up with a solution towards recidivism, we are going to carry out a five year research study on the youths running from the year 2013 to 2018 aimed at bringing down recidivism rate in the Los Angeles County. Taking Beyond Scared Straight Program as the independent variable, and the number of young offenders becoming adult offenders as the dependent variable, we hypothesize that the implementation of Beyond Scared Straight Program in Los Angeles County will decrease the number of young offenders becoming adult offenders. This is our research hypothesis. The null hypothesis will be that the implementation of Beyond young offenders becoming adult offenders in Los Angeles County.
Desired outcome
It is expected that the program will effectively reduce recidivism and consequently reduce the number of young offenders becoming adult offenders in the County. This will be proved after carrying out the research for the next five years on youths exposed to the program and those not exposed to it.
Level of measurement
Details of offenders will be recorded and particularly whether the offence is a first one or otherwise. The program will be carried in an experimental manner for five years where half of the youth convicted will be exposed to the program while the other half will be allowed to complete their jail term without undergoing the program. This will enable the researcher to make a comparison on the effectiveness of the program in the county against recidivism in relation to a control group. Official criminal records will be accessed to determine the details required. It is easy to use these records because they are collected randomly on a daily basis depending also on the crime issue at hand. The records would be analyzed to determine the number and hence the percentage of inmates who have been reconvicted. The time unit for these records to be taken would be one year. These records will be analyzed for five years before a decision is made on the effectiveness of the program.
Data collection
Data collected by the criminal registries will be used since it is a routine of the probation units. However, it will be necessary to connect with other counties and consolidate the data for comparison purposes. A problem would occur if other county authorities fail or refuse to give out the necessary data on recidivism in their counties. It is expected that all the people concerned will give out the information since the results of the research are meant to benefit the whole country and not just a single county.
It is possible to have an offender being recorded somewhere else within the county and more so, outside the Los Angeles County as a first offender. This may give a false impression in the recidivism records resulting in biased conclusions. It is suggested that a national record of all offenders which can be accessed by relevant authorities should be kept in a central bureau.
Statistical instruments
Since we shall be dealing with two groups one exposed to the program while the other is not exposed, then the means, standard deviations, and standard errors of the groups will be used in the analysis. This implies that we will use inferential statistics to make our decisions. Bar graphs will be drawn to show the percentage recidivism rate each year for the five years to give a trend of the data collected from the two groups. A correlation will be worked out between the two groups. If it is established that there is a strong correlation between the groups, then it means that the program has no effect on the youths and recidivism as a whole. If otherwise, then it will be proof enough that Beyond Scared Straight Program is effective to the youths and should be fully implemented to curb recidivism rates thereby reducing young offenders becoming adult offenders. Depending on the number of units used in the research, the T-score or the Z- score would be used in determining the levels of significance of the data hence the strength of the conclusions to be made.
Data display
Data collected will be displayed in tabular form from each probation unit in the county. This will show the number of convictions and reconvictions tallied annually against the age of the offenders amongst other routine records.
Report findings
Report findings from the research will be discussed in line with the research hypothesis stated earlier on. From the analysis carried out and the graphical displays of the data, it will be noticed that the mean of the data for those undertaking the program is lower than the one for those not taking the program. This is also evident in the bar graphs. It will also be noticed that there is no correlation that exists between the two groups showing that they are being influenced by different factors independently. Therefore, the research hypothesis will be accepted and the null hypothesis rejected.
Confirmed desired outcome
The five year research findings on recidivism confirm that the Beyond Scared Straight Program reduced recidivism in youths ultimately resulting in youth offenders not growing into adult offenders. Therefore, it would be recommended therefore that the program should be implemented fully in all probation units throughout the country. The program can also be improved in future to iron out side effects and unforeseen eventualities.
Costs and benefits
If recidivism is reduced, all other factors remaining constant, then the cost of taking care of those reconvicted will also reduce greatly. This would be beneficial to the County since it would reduce budgetary allocations towards caring for offenders.