Engaging Young Men Involved in Chicago’s Justice System: A Feasibility Study of the Bridges to Pathways Program

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Wasserman, K., Walter, J., Luczywek, B., Wagner, H. and Redcross, C.
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This report presents findings from a feasibility evaluation of the Bridges to Pathways (Bridges) program. Bridges was a program for young men in Chicago between the ages of 17 and 21 years who were involved with the criminal or juvenile justice system and lacked a high school credential. The program offered intensive mentoring and case management, as well as the opportunity to earn a high school credential, attend social-emotional learning workshops, and participate in a subsidized internship. The Bridges program was launched in 2013, and the evaluation of this developing program builds knowledge about operating this model and its potential to achieve its intended effects: to help participants attain a high school credential, obtain unsubsidized employment, and reduce their involvement with the criminal justice system. Designed as a feasibility assessment, the evaluation includes an implementation study and a small-scale randomized controlled trial. The Bridges evaluation enrolled 480 young people between June 2015 and July 2016. This report provides a detailed description of the Bridges model and how the program providers adapted the model. It also presents findings about whether the program improved young people’s outcomes and decreased criminal activity during the first year after study enrollment. Overall, the evaluation indicates that the Bridges model shows promise to help decrease violence among high-risk young men. However, more information will be needed to understand the ability of programs such as Bridges to make a difference in the lives of the young people they serve.


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