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Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care:
Original Articles

Turning Point: Rethinking Violence—Evaluation of Program Efficacy in Reducing Adolescent Violent Crime Recidivism

Scott, Kamela K. PhD; Tepas, Joseph J. III, MD; Frykberg, Eric MD; Taylor, Pamela M. RN; Plotkin, A. J. JD

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Background : The link between medicine and violence prevention is self-evident, yet the literature reveals few studies that scientifically document effective interventions. The Turning Point: Rethinking Violence (TPRV) program is a unique multiagency program developed to expose, educate, and remediate first-time violent offenders and their parents regarding the real-world consequences of violence. Four key components are integrated into a 6-week, court-ordered program (14 total contact hours): the Trauma Experience (tour, video, discussions), the Victim Impact Panel (presented by parent survivors), Group Process, and Community Networking (individualized mental health referral). We hypothesize that TPRV delivers lower outcomes regarding violence recidivism (VR) when compared with standard court sentencing options (100 hours of community service) for first-time violent offenders.

Methods : The study group subjects (n = 38) met inclusion criteria and were blindly and randomly sentenced to attend the TPRV program. The control group (n = 38) were pulled from a subject pool of first-time offenders who received standard sentencing options, met the same inclusion criteria with regard to age and types of offenses, and were matched by race to the study group. Both groups were studied for VR within the year after the first violent conviction, and comparison was performed by a (2 analysis of recidivism rates.

Results : Results reveal a statistically significant difference between the study group and the control group for VR (p ≤ 0.05). The study group revealed a recidivism rate of 0.05 within the year after program completion, whereas the control group revealed a recidivism rate of 0.33. The lower recidivism rate also occurred with a shorter overall time investment (14 hours vs. 100 hours).

Conclusion : The TPRV program decreases VR when compared with standard sentencing options. The broad-spectrum approach (real-world exposure, parental involvement, peer support, follow-up) appears successful in addressing recidivism, and could potentially reduce the epidemic in adolescent violence and the subsequent impact on trauma care.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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