skip to main content
Washington State Institute for Public Policy
Back Button

Intensive supervision for youth post-release (vs. traditional post-release supervision)

Juvenile Justice
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated July 2019.
Open PDF
Intensive supervision or intensive aftercare is a model of supervision that emphasizes a higher degree of surveillance than traditional supervision in the community. Intensive supervision often involves case management with caseloads of 25 or fewer youth. Case management starts when youth are first confined and continues upon their release into the community. The conditions of supervision vary but typically may include urinalysis testing, increased face-to-face or collateral contacts, and required participation in programming. Programming may include mentoring, tutoring, counseling, job training, or other community-based services. Youth typically have daily exposure to their juvenile probation counselor or (in some cases) members of their aftercare team.

This analysis compares youth released from confinement and assigned to intensive supervision to youth released and assigned to supervision-as-usual. In the included studies, participants were youth at higher risk of recidivism per a validated risk assessment tool; the evaluations in the analysis often excluded youth adjudicated with sex offenses or highly violent felonies. Intensive supervision and aftercare last three to nine months, with most youth under supervision for seven months. In the studies in our analysis that report demographic information, 70% of participants were youth of color and 7% were female.

Evaluations of intensive supervision for court-involved youth (i.e., youth placed directly on supervision without a period of confinement) compared to traditional probation or confined youth are excluded from this analysis and analyzed separately.

Key Terms

Court-involved youth: Youth who are processed through the juvenile justice system but who are not ordered to a period of confinement in a residential or correctional facility. This includes populations of arrested youth, diverted youth, charged youth, adjudicated youth, and youth on probation or formal supervision.

Youth in state institutions: Youth who are confined in a residential or correctional facility when they participate in the program.

Youth post-release: Youth who are returning to the community following a period of confinement in a residential or correctional facility and who participate in the program after release to the community.

For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2022). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers ($2,278) Benefits minus costs ($18,424)
Participants ($275) Benefit to cost ratio ($2.37)
Others ($6,602) Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($3,803) benefits greater than the costs 5%
Total benefits ($12,959)
Net program cost ($5,465)
Benefits minus cost ($18,424)

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

^^WSIPP does not include this outcome when conducting benefit-cost analysis for this program.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
17 18 2106 0.069 0.075 18 0.069 0.075 26 0.069 0.361
17 4 425 0.403 0.168 18 n/a n/a n/a 0.403 0.016
17 1 38 -0.434 0.237 17 n/a n/a n/a -0.434 0.067
17 1 38 0.601 0.239 17 n/a n/a n/a 0.601 0.012
17 1 38 0.149 0.285 17 n/a n/a n/a 0.149 0.600
17 1 152 -0.100 0.513 17 n/a n/a n/a -0.100 0.845
17 2 190 0.243 0.212 17 n/a n/a n/a 0.243 0.253
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime Criminal justice system ($2,172) $0 ($6,438) ($1,086) ($9,696)
Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation ($137) ($322) ($178) $0 ($636)
Costs of higher education $31 $46 $14 $15 $106
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($2,733) ($2,733)
Totals ($2,278) ($275) ($6,602) ($3,803) ($12,959)
Click here to see populations selected
Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $10,102 2015 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($5,465)
Comparison costs $5,515 2015 Cost range (+ or -) 50%
We estimate per-participant program costs using WSIPP’s annual marginal cost estimate for juvenile state parole to compute a monthly cost estimate (Washington State Institute for Public Policy. (December 2018). Benefit-cost technical documentation. Olympia, WA: Author). We apply the ratio of the intensive supervision caseload (23), as reported in the studies, to the traditional probation caseload (43)—as reported in Burley, M. & Barnoski, R. (1997). Washington State Juvenile Courts: Workloads and costs. Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy—to the monthly marginal average cost estimate for juvenile parole. We multiply this monthly cost by the weighted average time on supervision (6.9 months) in the studies included in the analysis. The comparison cost uses the marginal cost estimate for juvenile state parole, multiplied by the weighted average time on supervision, 6.9 months.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in discounted dollars. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Barnoski, R. (2002). Evaluating how Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration's intensive parole program affects recidivism. Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Barton, W.H., Jarjoura, G.R., & Rosay, A.B. (2008). Evaluation of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Targeted Re-Entry Initiative: Final Report. Department of Justice: Washington D.C.

Bouffard, J., & Bergseth, K. (2008). The impact of reentry services on juvenile offenders' recidivism. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 6 (3), 295-318.

Cillo, G.C. (2001). Evaluation of a theory-based transitional aftercare program for court-adjudicated adolescents (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Fordham University, New York, NY.

Gray, E., Taylor, E., Roberts, C., Merrington, S., Fernandez, R., & Moore, R. (2005). Intensive supervision and surveillance programme: The final report. London: Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

Greenwood, P.W., Deschenes, E.P., & Adams, J. (1993). Chronic juvenile offenders: Final results from The Skillman Aftercare Experiment. RAND: Santa Monica.

Hawkins, S.R., Lattimore, P.K., Dawes, D., & Visher, C.A. (2009). Reentry experiences of confined juvenile offenders: Characteristics, service receipt, and outcomes of juvenile male participants in the SVORI multi-site evaluation. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI.

Iutcovich, J. M., & Pratt, D.J. (1998). A final report for assessment of aftercare services provided to delinquent youth. Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Rodriguez-Labarca, J., & O'Connell, J.P., (2004). Delaware's serious juvenile offender program: An evaluation of the first two years of operation. State of Delaware, Statistical Analysis Center, Doc Num: 100208-040204.

Sontheimer, H., & Goodstein, L. (1993). Evaluation of juvenile intensive aftercare probation: Aftercare versus system response effects. Justice Quarterly, 10, 197-227.

Weibush, R.G., Wagner, D., McNultly, B., Wang, Y., Le, T. (2005). Implementation and outcome evaluation of the intensive aftercare program, final report. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice.