Date of Conferral



Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)


Criminal Justice


Dr. Melanye V. Smith


The purpose of a Juvenile Justice Department in the United States justice system is to prevent juvenile offenses and to promote the smooth transition of young offenders when they are leaving rehabilitation centers and reentering society. That purpose essentially dedicates itself to fight against rehabilitation of youth. The Department of Juvenile Justice in Fulton County, Georgia (DJJFC), has created rehabilitation programs to facilitate this transition process for young offenders. Fulton County including its citizens, school system, parents, and juveniles would benefit from this issue being resolved. The purpose of this research was to explore the juvenile arrest and recidivism rates of 394 juveniles and evaluate the effectiveness of the rehabilitation programs practiced by the DJJFC. The research findings initially indicate high recidivism, but the study showed positive recidivism rates when comparing the recidivism percentages of juveniles on probation with juveniles sent through diversion programs. The findings of the study indicate the effectiveness of the available diversion programs and promote the incorporation of family-based and mental illness diversion programs into the rehabilitation efforts. The findings may be used by administrators to alleviate the previous listed adversities leading to better rehabilitation for juveniles, therefore enacting social change within the juveniles, their families, the community, the school system, rehabilitation programs, and the juvenile justice system.