Considerations for Justice-Involved Youth Programming


Considerations for Justice-Involved Youth Programming

3 years ago 3 years ago Published by
This report was developed by the Urban Institute.


Starting in the 1980s, justice policies nationwide have emphasized a “tough on crime” approach to addressing youth delinquency. But research shows that punitive responses to delinquent behaviors — especially behaviors that pose minimal risk to public safety — undermine the wellbeing of youth, their families, and their communities. Thus, policymakers and practitioners have recently begun to develop and implement a new approach to safety and justice that advances success for all youth and their communities, especially those vulnerable to justice system contact.

In line with this new approach, New York City has invested significant time, resources, and effort over the past decade into shifting its philosophy and culture around serving justice-involved youth. By expanding the continuum of youth programs and services, NYC agencies and stakeholders have sought to more effectively meet the needs of youth and their families. Building on these efforts, the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) partnered with researchers at the Urban Institute to evaluate three programs designed for justice-involved youth. Starting in 2015, Urban evaluated the Arches Transformative Mentoring program (Arches), the Advocate, Intervene, and Mentor (AIM) program, and the NYC Justice Corps program.

The purpose of this brief is to identify several lessons learned and recommendations designed to inform current and future programming for justice-involved youth in New York City, drawing on findings from Urban’s evaluations of the three programs. This brief is intended for all NYC stakeholders who serve justice-involved youth, such as justice system staff, judges, court actors, probation officers, law enforcement officers, community and faith-based organization staff, and other local partners. For the purposes of this brief, we define “youth” as juveniles and young adults ages 13 through 24. The brief is organized into the following three sections: a review of the relevant literature on the challenges justice-involved youth face and recent New York State and NYC strategic efforts to combat those challenges; a brief overview of the three program evaluations and the respective findings; and the lessons learned and recommendations for current and future youth programming in NYC.

Cramer, L., Esthappan, S., Lynch, M., & Goff, M. (2019). Considerations for Justice-Involved Youth Programming. Urban Institute. Retrieved from

Categorised in: