1 University of Memphis School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Prepared for: Memphis City Schools Prepared by: Wayne J. Pitts, Ph.D. Kaelyn Branch In July 2008, Memphis City Schools (MCS) received grant funding through the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Pilot Project to implement the School House Adjustment Program Enterprise (SHAPE). The purpose of SHAPE is to reduce the number of minority students referred to Juvenile Court for minor offenses. Of the three offenses deemed eligible for referral into SHAPE, students were referred most often for simple assault with no serious injury (39.2%) followed by disorderly conduct (35.8%) and criminal trespassing (3.3%). SHAPE participants have extensive histories of getting into trouble while at school. SHAPE participants have experienced significant exposure to violence at home, at school, and in their neighborhoods. Overall gang involvement among SHAPE participants is fairly low with only 5.9 percent claiming some membership affiliation. Nearly half of SHAPE participants said they had socialized with someone who was drunk or high on drugs in the past year (41.9%) percent of SHAPE participants completed the program successfully. Successful completion of SHAPE is defined as completion of all curriculum requirements and no contact with Juvenile Court while in the program. A total of 290 fewer transports to Juvenile Court from the targeted schools occurred during the school year, a reduction of 29.4%. School House Adjustment Program Enterprise: Evaluation Report A Brief History of Disproportionate Minority Contact Initiatives Beginning in the 1970 s, a large amount of research has been conducted examining bias in the juvenile justice system. This research suggests that minority (or nonwhite) youth are more likely than their white counterparts to come in to contact with the juvenile justice system (Pope & Feyerherm, 1995). In 1988, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) brought the issue of disproportionate minority confinement to national attention in its annual report to Congress, A Delicate Balance (Hsia, 2008). DMC is here defined as the overrepresentation of minority youth in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails, and lockups. In an attempt to address this issue, Congress made amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, requiring states to address DMC in their state plans. In particular, Congress made a requirement that each state address efforts to reduce the proportion of minority youth who are detained or confined in detention facilities, correctional facilities, jails, and lockups, if the number of minority youth detained and/or incarcerated exceeds their proportion in the general population (Hsia, 2008). Through the 1990s and into the 2000s, the federal government has increased efforts to reduce the number of minority youth incarcerated and/or detained. They have done so by holding national training conferences for state agencies, establishing initiatives to test approaches to reduce DMC, and establishing a catalog of state DMC reports and assistance August 2009 manuals. In 2002 congress reauthorized the JJDP Act of This reauthorization expanded the scope of the 1974 Act by modifying the DMC requirement to include the number of juvenile members of minority groups who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. This modification mandated the examination of potential disproportionate minority youth representation at all decision points in the juvenile justice system, not just detention and incarceration (Hsia, 2008).Part of the JJDP Act includes authorization for funding via the Formula Grants Program (FGP). In order to participate in the FGP, a state first hast to determine whether DMC is an issue in that state. Once a state has determined that DMC is an issue, an examination of the treatment of both white and nonwhite youth at various decision points in the juvenile justice system must be conducted in order to determine where DMC intervention strategies are appropriate (Hsia, Bridges, & McHale, 2004). According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), in 2004 twenty-three states and the District of Columbia had completed the identification and assessment stages, are currently implementing the intervention stage and have submitted data regarding
2 Schools Included in the SHAPE Project, Cordova High Craigmont High Fairley High Frayser High Hamilton High Hillcrest High Kingsbury High Kirby High Melrose High Mitchell High Northside High Oakhaven High Raleigh-Egypt Treadwell High Trezevant High Whitehaven High ongoing monitoring efforts (Hsia et al., 2004). Tennessee is one of those states. The School House Adjustment Program Enterprise (SHAPE) The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) is responsible for monitoring implementation of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDP Act) in the state of Tennessee. TCCY is also responsible for administering state funds for juvenile justice activities. In July 2008, Memphis City Schools (MCS) received grant funding through the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Pilot Project to implement the School House Adjustment Program Enterprise (SHAPE). The program is a collaborative effort between MCS, the Memphis Police Department, and the office of the Shelby County Mayor, the Public Defender s Office and Juvenile Court. It began October 7, 2008 in seventeen high schools and one middle school across Memphis. The purpose of SHAPE is to reduce the number of minority students sent to Juvenile Court for minor offenses. A student is eligible for SHAPE if they face potential charges of simple assault with no serious injuries, disorderly conduct, or criminal trespass. A student must also meet the following criteria: have no felony adjudications, convictions or pending charges; have no violent misdemeanor adjudications, convictions, or pending charges; have no other misdemeanor charges within the past twelve months; and be willing to voluntarily participate in the program (with parental permission). See page 10 for a full description of the program criteria. After being accepted into SHAPE, the student meets with the site coordinator at his or her school to fill out an agreement form and an intake form. After the paperwork is complete, the student begins attending afterschool sessions with the site coordinator for approximately nine weeks. While in- 2 volved in the program, the student receives homework assistance, tutoring, mentoring, and social and life skills training. While the student is in SHAPE, the site coordinator is charged with monitoring the students progress both in and out of the classroom. Tracking reports are filled out every month that the student is in the program. These are used to report the number of in-schoolsuspensions (ISS), out-of-schoolsuspensions (OSS) and absences. The site coordinator is also charged with contacting Juvenile Court to determine whether the student has had any subsequent contact with them. Upon successful completion of the program the student avoids contact with Juvenile Court for the charge that initiated their referral into the program. The student also receives a certification of completion. Purpose of this Study SHAPE was designed to provide an alternative to Juvenile Court for MCS students who have committed one of the aforementioned offenses. The University of Memphis, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice was contracted to conduct a process and outcome evaluation of the SHAPE program. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine how the program has been implemented relative to how it was designed to function, as well as identify the characteristics of the program that should be preserved. The ultimate goal of the SHAPE evaluation project is to measure the overall impact of the SHAPE initiative as a strategy to reduce disproportionate minority contact with juvenile authorities. An independent evaluation serves to document challenges and opportunities for improvement in the program.
3 Methodology Data Collection Findings Demographic Summary With the exception of one middle school, participants in SHAPE were high school aged students. Participants ranged from years old with a mean age of 16. Boys made up just over half of the SHAPE participants. African American students made up the majority of the sample at about 86 percent followed by Hispanic students at Eighteen schools (seventeen high schools and one middle school) participated in SHAPE during the school year. Site coordinators were assigned to each school and charged with monitoring the students enrolled in SHAPE; implementing the curriculum and documenting the academic and behavioral progress of each of the participants. Site coordinators also obtained the data needed for evaluation through the use of quantitative and qualitative structured interviews conducted on site at the participating eighteen schools over a four month period beginning February 2009 and ending May The interview protocols included: referral forms, intake forms, monthly tracking forms, and exit forms for each student enrolled in the program. These forms were designed by the evaluator and approved by Memphis City Schools officials. Extreme emphasis was placed on preserving student confidentiality and all methods discussed here were conducted in accordance with the written protocols approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects at the University of Memphis. Site coordinators were instructed to utilize a three digit code assigned to each school. This threedigit number corresponds with the three-digit identification number assigned the students upon receipt of their information. This was done in order to protect the students identities. In addition to the individual school code, an evaluation ID code comprised of the student s initials, year of birth, and last four digits of the social security number were utilized to mask confidential data. No addresses, personal identifying information, or other contact information was stored or received by the evaluation team. The data was transferred to the UM evaluation team in three ways: (1) a site visit to the SHAPE schools in which interview protocols were copied by the site coordinator and given to a member of the evaluation team; (2) the requested information was sent to the project facilitator and picked up by a member of the evaluation team; (3) the information was sent to the University of Memphis, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice via 2.5 percent. One White student was involved in the SHAPE program. The remaining participants chose not to identify their racial/ ethnic identity. At lease five female students reported having a baby. Students were most commonly living with their biological mother only (42.5%), with another 10 percent living with their biological mother and step father. Slightly less than one-quarter (22.5%) reported living with both 3 fax or mail. As data was received from the site coordinators, each form was entered into a password protected Microsoft Access 2007 database, sepcifically designed to house SHAPE data. This process took approximately four months. In addition to the data obtained by the individual MCS site coordinators, data regarding student s grades and behavioral infractions for the school year was obtained from the MCS Office of Evaluation, Department of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment by the evaluation team. This information was also entered into the SHAPE database. Data Analysis The sample used for this study includes 120 students who participated in SHAPE during the school year. Records for each student were entered into the evaluation database upon reception. After all of the students records were entered into the database, analyses were done on the demographics of the sample, student s grades before, during and after the program, as well as the behavioral conduct of the students while in the program. All of these Analyses were done using the statistical package, SPSS of their biological parents. The mean number of persons reported per household was four. It should be noted however, that more than 10 percent of participants had six or more people living at their residence. At the time of their intake into the SHAPE program, 15 percent had already changed residence at least once during the school year.
4 Offenses Of the three offenses deemed eligible for referral into SHAPE, students were referred most often for simple assault with no serious injury (39.2%) followed by disorderly conduct (35.8%) and criminal trespassing (3.3%). Approximately 3 percent of the sample indicated they had been charged with some other offense while 18 percent of the data collection forms failed to identify which charge facilitated the student s referral into the SHAPE program. Attitudes about Education Once students are referred to the program and agree to participate, a rather lengthy intake assessment is completed. The primary purpose of this assessment is to guide the site coordinator in making case management decisions. Completed as a face-to-face interview, this assessment allows the case manager to Table 1. Incident definitions obtain pertinent information about a variety of risk factors. A variety of questions are asked about the student s opinions and attitudes towards education. There are also some baseline questions that provide some insight into the student s school situation. More than one-third of SHAPE participants in (34.5%) had previously repeated at least one grade. Graduation aspirations were very high. Nearly all students said they wanted to finish high school and nearly all (99.0%) thought that indeed the would. Many aspire to go to college (84.6%). About three-fourths of the students (73.3%) believed that their grades were about the same as their peers while 20.0 percent thought their grades were better than their peers. Only 5.7 percent perceived their academic performance lower than their peers. Overwhelmingly, students reported that getting good grades was important to Behavior before SHAPE Student behavior prior to SHAPE participation was also considered. Three-fourths of SHAPE participants reported that the had previously been suspended from school. In fact, many had been suspended multiple times. The data show that 27.6 percent had suspended only once before while 22.4 percent had two prior suspensions, 19.0 percent had three, while the largest category had four or more prior suspensions (31.0%). Additionally, nearly onefourth (22.9%) of SHAPE participants had prior expulsions from school. In summary, SHAPE participants have extensive histories of getting into trouble while at school. Minor Serious Cell phone Assault against student w/minor injuries Class cutting B&E- burglary/theft $500+ Excessive excused/unexcused tardiness Under the influence of drugs/no possession Miscellaneous run/hall/thro/pen Abusive language towards school personnel Uniform/dress code violation Sexual harassment gender base Continue/engage level 1 Threat against student (non-serious) False accusations against a student Threaten to explode/burn/damage Gambling Aggravated assault on teacher or staff Insolent/insubordinate Aggravated battery on teacher or staff Leave campus without permission Assault teacher or staff Shove/stud/ball/no injury Drugs possession/use/distribute illegal Rx Obscene/offensive material, behavior, language Fight- serious injuries/weapons/gang Possession/use of match, light, firework Gang related middle/high school Profanity towards student Other major incident with potential serious injury Unauthorized material/post or display Threats against school personnel Continue/engage- level 2 Threats against student (serious) Fight- minor injuries/non-gang Weapons Trespass and loitering Electronic device: pager, beeper Bullying or harassment Continue/engage level 3 Disruptive behavior w/prior unsuccessful intervention 4
5 Parenting Rules One area of the assessment intake form asks students about rules their parents or caretakers have regarding their behavior. Inevitably, the issue of parental responsibility and accountability is raised when juveniles become involved in delinquent behavior. In this study, the data show some interesting facets of parental expectations. First however, we sought to understand a bit more about family dynamics. We asked, for respondents to identify what person is most like a mother to you? Less than three-fourths (72.5%) reported their mother as this person. Leading responses other than mother included: my aunt (6.4%), my older sister (5.5%), some other person (5.5%),or my grandmother (4.6%). When the same question was asked about the father role, only 53.6 percent identified their father. Leading responses were: I don t have anyone who is like a father to me (11.8%), my uncle (9.1%), my step-father (9.1%) my older brother (7.3%), or some other person (5.5%). The assessment includes question about the students perceptions regarding parents real knowledge about what is going on the kid s life. Most SHAPE participants report that their parents really do know a lot about what they are doing. Most report that their parents do know who they hang out with (84.2%) and Box 1: Family Rules Does your family have rules about: where they are after school hours (86.1%), and on the weekends. (91.1%). See Box 1. Most SHAPE participants reported that they do not have a paying job (85.9%) but that they are responsible for doing regular chores around the house (85.9%). The assessment also considers other responsibilities. On average, SHAPE participants report spending 3.0 hours a week on homework while they spent an average of 12.1 hours a week hanging out with friends. Prior Delinquency Factors One of the best predictors of future delinquent behaviors is past delinquency. Based on the student s self-reported information, 34.3 percent had previously been arrested by the police or taken into custody for an illegal or delinquent offense at some time in their life. Over onefifth had been arrested within the twelve months prior to the intake into SHAPE (20.6%). The effect of negative peer influences is widely recognized as a risk factor for youth. SHAPE participants reported that over half of their friends had been arrested within the past twelve months (55.1%). A number of kids had run away on a least one occasion in the past year (9.4%) and another 12.8 percent reported that they had taken something from a When you do homework? Yes: 53.6% Dating? Yes: 50.5% Drinking alcohol? Yes: 87.2% Using drugs? Yes: 89.8% Fighting? Yes: 84.0% Skipping school? Yes: 91.7% Who your friends are? Yes: 52.5% Church attendance? Yes: 56.1% 5 store in the past year without paying for it. Violence Exposure SHAPE participants have significant exposure to violence at home, at school, and in their neighborhoods. Perhaps it is not surprising that they are also participants in violence. Nearly three-fourths say they have been in a fight in the last year (71.3%). SHAPE participants also carry weapons and are exposed to those who use weapons. In the past year, 14.8 percent reported carrying a knife or razor while 5.6 percent reported carrying a gun. Of those who carried weapons, half said they carried them in their neighborhood, followed by at home and then at school. Witnessing violent crimes has an impact on children and youth. An alarming 14.3 percent had seen someone being cut, stabbed or shot. Another 8.2 percent said that someone had pulled a knife or gun on them personally in the past twelve months and some had been shot at (4.0%). Nearly one-third of SHAPE participants reported that a friend or someone in their family had been shot or stabbed in the past twelve months. One-quarter of respondents said they had attacked someone in the past with the idea of seriously hurting them (24.5%). Violent and Criminal Behavior SHAPE participants have also demonstrated a penchant for violent behavior. In the past twelvemonths, SHAPE participants reported that they have: told someone they were going to cut, stab or shoot them (7.1%), pulled a knife or gun on someone (2.8%), cut or stabbed someone (0.9%), or shot at someone (0.9%). Nearly one-quarter reported they had purposely damaged or destroyed property (24.1%), stolen something worth under fifty dollars (21.1%), stolen something over fifty dollars (1.8%), other property crimes (7.8%).
6 Gangs and Gang Involvement Overall gang involvement among SHAPE participants is fairly low with only 5.9 percent claiming some membership affiliation. However, 36.3 percent of students reported that they regularly hang out with gang members. When asked to clarify where they hang out with gang members, the percentage who said at school (39.0%) closely mirrored the percentage who said in my neighborhood (39.7%). Students were asked to estimate the percentage of their friends who were involved in gangs. Most (63.7%) reported that fewer than 10 percent of their friends belong to a gang. Another 10.1 percent mentioned that approximately 25 percent of their friends had gang affiliations. The remaining 15.4 percent believe that half or more of their friends pertain to a gang. Substance Use SHAPE participants were also asked about their use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Purchasing and possessing tobacco and alcohol is illegal for minors. Tobacco use is fairly low and only 5.6 percent said they have smoked within the past year. Most of their friends don t smoke either. In fact, participants report that more than three-fourths of their friends mostly abstain from smoking (76.3%). Alcohol is more widely used. When asked if they had drunk alcohol in the past year, 16.5 percent reported that they had. Binge drinking, drinking five or more alcoholic drinks on the same day, occurred among 3.8 percent of SHAPE participants. Drinking was also more popular among the friends of SHAPE participants. When asked, 18.0 percent said one-quarter or more of their friends get drunk at least once a month. In general, respondents perceive that their friends drink even more often than themselves. Nearly half of SHAPE participants said they had socialized with someone who Transports to Juvenile Court from the targeted eighteen schools dropped by 29.4 percent in the school year compared to transports from the previous school year from those same schools. was drunk or high on drugs in the past year (41.9%). Marijuana use was higher than alcohol use with 18.9 percent reporting that they had used marijuana on at least one occasion in the past year. They also perceive that their friends are also using marijuana commonly. Nearly forty percent believed that more than one-quarter of their friends use marijuana. Other drug use was less common but not absent. Two respondents reported using crack or cocaine in the past year. Most people simi- Outcome Study Results The evaluation team collected data from at least three main sources in order to provide some insight into how the SHAPE program is affecting participant outcomes. These data sources include: information collected by the site coordinators (intake, monthly reports, and exit forms), information supplied by Juvenile Court, and official summary data from Memphis City Schools. Outcome studies ordinarily require a substantial amount of data in order to make sound conclusions about a Box 2: Perceptions of Skipping School program. This report includes data for one school year only and thus, conclusions will need to be strengthened by future research. The implementation of the SHAPE project has had the desired effect. Transports to Juvenile Court from the targeted eighteen schools dropped by 29.4 percent in the school year compared to transports from the previous school year from those same schools. This reduction in transports is a direct result of the SHAPE project implementation. It should be noted however, that the reduction in transports not only resulted from SHAPE participants themselves not being transported. This reduction can also be attributed to additional scrutiny being placed on all Juvenile Court transports from these schools. Perhaps, school administrators are more aware of disproportionate minority contact issues. Similarly, law enforcement authorities and Juvenile Court personnel are increasingly recognizing the benefits of a juvenile summons rather transports. These collateral effects of the SHAPE initiative will continue as SHAPE gains more support in the schools and the community. What percent of your friends skip school? Almost none (less than 10%) 61.5% About 25% 20.9% About half (50%) 8.8% About 75% 1.1% Almost all (more than 90%) 5.5% 6
7 The primary goal of the SHAPE project is to reduce the number of minority juveniles who come into contact with Shelby County Juvenile Court. The previous section demonstrates considerable success in this regard. Some additional outcome measures for the SHAPE program were also considered. Each child referred and accepted into the SHAPE program is required to participate in an after school curriculum. A challenge of the project is to achieve attendance compliance for the full nine week program. Additionally, the evaluation team considered academic performance and school behavior as additional outcome measures. Finally, the report considers whether or not SHAPE participants received subsequent referrals to Juvenile Court after entering the SHAPE program. Each of these is discussed below. Grades Improving academic performance is an important goal and helps to direct future opportunities for students. As previously mentioned in this report, many SHAPE participants have experienced serious academic challenges. Recall that more than one-third reported that they had previously repeated a grade. The mean GPA for all SHAPE participants at the point when they entered the SHAPE program was 2.4 (on a 4.0 scale) - essentially a C average. At the conclusion of the SHAPE program the mean GPA for all students had dropped slightly to 2.3. While grades decreased slightly, this should necessarily be taken to indicate a negative outcome as a result of SHAPE participation. How much lower would their overall grades have dropped if they had been transported to Juvenile Court? Even so, additional emphasis on academic improvement during the coming SHAPE school year is recommended. In , the SHAPE program has selected a curriculum based on work compiled by the Mendez Foundation, an innovative leader in prevention education and a recognized best practices model. School Behavior Memphis City Schools provided the evaluation team with a summary of behavioral infractions for SHAPE participants during the the school year. For purposes of this report, infractions were separated into two groups: minor incidents and serious incidents. These incidents are defined in Table 1 on page 4. In general, SHAPE participants are students who have posed significant behavioral challenges while at school often for years. Self-reported behavior as measured by suspensions and expulsions reflect fairly serious infractions. Recall that three-fourths reported prior suspensions and onefourth reported prior expulsions. SHAPE program participation did not curb this trend significantly. After admission into the SHAPE program, participants experienced an average of 2.8 behavioral incidents (both minor and serious). Most were minor incidents with mean of 2.4 events although some were for more serious occurrences. Approximately one out of every three SHAPE participants had a serious incident (again, see 7 Table 1 on page 4 for a list of serious incidents). Two things could account for this number of incidents. First, most SHAPE participants were accepted during the first half of the school year. Their exposure time, the number of months remaining in the school year, was lengthy. Second, the same factor as mentioned under grades. We do not know how many incidents they may have had if the SHAPE intervention had not occurred. However, based on prior incidents, we can assume that many of the serious incidents would have likely ended in at least a suspension. The suspension/expulsion rate during the current school year was in fact lower. SHAPE Attendance Successful SHAPE participation requires attendance. The SHAPE curriculum includes nine weeks. Typically students are required to attend two to three sessions every week. During the school year, there were some fluctuations in implementation and sessions were not offered equally at all schools. This may also in part account for some of the variations in outcomes. SHAPE participants attended an average of 17.2 sessions and missed an average of 5.2. Across all sites, the average number of sessions offered per nine weeks was Well over threefourths (84.1%) of students attended at least half of the required sessions. The weakly defined SHAPE curriculum and the fluctuations between sites during the school year has been addressed at several meetings since the end of the school year and a new strategy, and curriculum, has been adopted. In , the SHAPE program has selected a curriculum based on work compiled by the Mendez Foundation, an innovative leader in prevention education and a recognized best practices model.
8 Recommendations Create a standard criteria for those eligible for enrollment in the program. Originally, individuals who were first time, non-violent offenders who had committed simple assault, disorderly conduct, or criminal trespass were eligible for intake. However it was found that some individuals either had previous contact with Juvenile Court or had not committed one of the offenses mentioned above. Create a clearly stated screening process for individuals referred into the program Standardize the curriculum. The curriculum for each school should have the same objectives and method of delivery. Make staff training mandatory. This training will ensure that individuals are committed to the mission and direction of the program. Allow members of the evaluation team to conduct training for the site coordinators. This training will include: the process from referral to exit, how to fill out paperwork, and any other issues that may arise. Have site coordinators create a monthly report due to both the project facilitator and the members of the evaluation team at a specified date each month during the school year. In each monthly report the site coordinators will describe the students enrolled in their respective program as well as the progress of each student in terms of absences, suspensions, and grades. Create a data collection protocol. There should only be one method in which the evaluation team collects/receives data. There should also be one method in which site coordinators obtain data (i.e. filling out paperwork themselves as opposed to having the student or student s parent fill it out). Have site coordinators check with Juvenile Court periodically (preferably at breaks in the school year such as Winter vacation, Spring break, and the end of the school year) to establish whether or not the students enrolled in their program have had subsequent contact with Juvenile Court. Add SHAPE program materials to Memphis Police Department Policies and Procedures. Include clear direction that MPD officers will complete the Pending Document Form. This will effectively communicate to non-school officers the importance and priority of the SHAPE program. Obtain clear standards for including school principals and other administrators in SHAPE training. Confirm that principals are aware of the program and hold them accountable for adhering to SHAPE student transport directives. Determine effective strategies for continuing SHAPE initiatives beyond the current Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth funding cycle. Pursue opportunities to expand the program into all middle and high schools in Memphis City Schools. Conduct monthly case reviews of juveniles transported to Juvenile Court on SHAPE eligible offenses and seek resolutions. Ensure that summonses are filed for noncompliant SHAPE participants. Without consequences, the program model looses integrity. 8