Objective: Upon learning that the recidivism rate for young adults (17-25) doubled that of other age groups, Hidalgo County (TX) developed an evidence-based, developmentally responsive approach aimed at supervising this group more successfully. The Hidalgo County Emerging Adult Strategy (HCEAS) is a specialized probation caseload designed to promote positive behaviors by addressing key developmental issues during supervision. Researchers evaluated HCEAS using a randomized design, examining recidivism and stabilization factors (e.g., employment).
Data/Methods: 130 individuals (age 17-25) on community supervision were randomized to control (n=65) or HCEAS (n=65). The participants averaged 22 years old and were mostly male (81.5%). Chi-square and ANOVA tests were used to examine outcomes.
Results: At 9-months after starting community supervision, significantly fewer participants in the HCEAS group were arrested, received a motion to be revoked, failed to appear for office visits, while more participants in the HCEAS group were employed. The groups did not differ on positive drug tests, failure to appear for treatment, or revocations by 9 months. These results remained at 12-months after starting community supervision.
Conclusions/Implications: HCEAS demonstrates that a specialized caseload focused on developmentally appropriate cognitive-based programming and incentives can effectively improve the outcomes of young adults on community supervision.