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

ntrol group of 79 patients who were selected based on age, gender, ethnicity or race, type of injury and year of hospitalization. Follow-up review for both groups was conducted over a period of 18 months after the date of their initial hospitalization and injury to determine three outcomes: whether they had died, had been re-hospitalized for another intentional violent injury, or had been involved or reinvolved with the criminal justice system.

Participants in the hospital-based peer intervention program reduced risk of criminal justice involvement for at-risk youth six months after completion of the one-year program (relative risk=0.67; 95% CI, 0.45, 0.99; p=.04). Based on a logistic regression analysis of age, gender and ethnicity or race, the study showed that only age (under 17 years) had a confounding effect on the association between program participation and criminal justice involvement (relative risk=0.71; p=0.043). After successful treatment through the program, risk of subsequent violent criminal behavior was reduced by 7 percent compared to the control group (p=0.15). Risk of death, physical re-injury and re-hospitalization from intentional violence were similar between both groups.

After a significant association was established between program participation and subsequent criminal justice involvement, attributable risk calculations showed that 16 percent of risk reduction in criminal justice involvement can be attributed to the peer intervention program. To prevent a single adverse criminal outcome, six patients needed to be treated through the program.

The cost of the program, which treats 75 to 100 youth annually, is approximately $3,500 per patient per year. The annual cost for a juvenile detention center admission in Alameda County is $80,000 per person. Since six patients need to be treated through the program to see a 16 percent risk reduction in involvement in the criminal justice system, the intervention pro
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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