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Study quantifies cost-benefit of hospital-based program to keep youth out of prison
Date:11/12/2007

CHICAGO (November 12, 2007) With violence plaguing inner-city youth at epidemic rates, the report of a new study in the November issue of The Journal of the American College of Surgeons illustrated a research-based approach to confronting this national problem. The study showed that Caught in the Crossfire, a hospital-based peer intervention program, reduced involvement in the criminal justice system among youth aged 12 to 20. Additionally, this program proved to be cost efficient in comparison with the cost of a stay in a juvenile detention center.

In 2001, the US Surgeon General warned of an epidemic in youth violence, calling for a research-based approach to systematically confronting the problem. Despite the attention, this issue continues to be a major public health concern in the US, where intentional violent trauma is the second leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 15 and 24. Violence among youth is notably worse in some inner-city areas, including Oakland, CA, where this study took place.

This study demonstrates that investing dollars in preventive intervention programs is not only a good public health practice, but it is a good economic practice as well, said Daniel Shibru, MD, University of California, San Francisco. The findings are particularly significant because it proves that peer intervention programs like Caught in the Crossfire can reduce retaliatory youth violence as well as their involvement in the criminal justice system, especially as they return to the same violent environments where their injuries occurred.

This retrospective, comparative double cohort study included 154 patients treated at a university-based urban trauma center in Alameda County, CA. Patients were 12 to 20 years of age and were hospitalized for intentional violent trauma. The two groups evaluated included the enrolled group of 75 patients with a minimum of five interactions with an intervention specialist and the co
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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