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Evaluators are just beginning to measure the cost-benefits and
cost-effectiveness of JDTCs. A cost evaluation of the Clackamas County
(Portland) JDTC (Carey et al., 2006) found that fewer JDTC participants
were re-arrested at 2 years post-entry than a matched comparison sample
of juvenile probationers (82% vs. 44%); yet, despite cutting recidivism
rates nearly in half, the average cost-saving per participant was only
about $971 over the 2-year period. The reason for this was that
terminated JDTC participants served significantly more
juvenile-detention time than comparison participants, thus sopping up
much of the cost-savings that would have been realized from lower
recidivism rates.

In contrast, a cost evaluation of a JDTC in Maryland reported net
savings exceeding $5,000 per participant over 2 years (Pukstas, 2007).
In this study, the JDTC participants not only recidivated at a
significantly lower rate than the comparison probationers, but they also
served significantly less time in juvenile detention and residential
facilities. Because the program did not over-apply detention as a
sanction for termination, the net cost savings were more in line with
the reduction in juvenile offending.

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