Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ashley Dickinson


Indianapolis, the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, continues to experience a high rate of offenses committed by juvenile offenders. Community programs are in place to assist in the deterrence and/or reduction of juvenile crimes, yet the city’s crime rate continues to increase with youth being the perpetrator of many of these crimes. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived effectiveness of these programs, which has not been adequately studied. The research questions focused on identifying which of the city’s current programs are perceived as being effective or ineffective in reducing juvenile delinquency and why so. The participants were 15 adults between the ages of 21 years old through 35 years old who were a part of the juvenile justice system as youth. Phenomenological research was used with Agnew’s strain theory as the theoretical framework. Data were collected through guided interviews and analyzed using NVivo, which allowed for coding and categorizing of the collected data. The key findings were that most of the programs were perceived as effective by 80% (n = 12) of the study participants. Three (20%) of the study participants perceived the programs as being ineffective. The study data can assist stakeholders in gauging the effectiveness of community programs and in making the community more aware of programs in place for youth, which may improve program participation and decrease recidivism. Policy makers in other communities may also be able to use the data to assist with their community programs.The data from the study supports the need for social change. Social change can occur through the evaluation, revamping, or elimination of programs considered ineffective, staff professional development, and more parental involvement. Through these changes, positive reinforcement can be instilled in youth.