Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Edgar A. Kelley

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Joe Wilson


Criminal activity involving the youthful offender is a serious problem in law enforcement. The monetary considerations of processing a criminal case in the established criminal justice system are not declining. Youthful crime, like all forms of criminal activity, is a considerable drain on the resources of this country. The personal costs to the 17-21 year-old offender may include curtailment of employment opportunities, limited educational prospects, and the establishment of adverse life patterns, leading to further criminal involvement. The youthful offender who resorts to crime again and is arrested because of such criminal activity adds additional costs to the criminal justice system and further limits life opportunities. Despite the seriousness and costs of youthful recidivism, few studies of this problem have been completed.

In this study, a counseling based criminal diversion program was established to assist first offender misdemeanants. Data from this study were compared to data from other prosecution jurisdictions, without a diversion program. All data were collected from a single district court jurisdiction within a county with a population of 451,000.

Based on the data of this study, four major conclusions were made: (1) Individualized counseling treatment does reduce the instance of recidivism for youthful offenders to a statistically significant relationship (p $>$.01). (2) Intervention into the criminal justice prosecution process is a viable alternative to prosecution. (3) Prosecuting authorities are not using diversion to any significant degree as a tool to curtail recidivism. (4) Significant reductions in criminal prosecution costs can be demonstrated with the use of a diversion program.

A major recommendation of this study is that prosecution authorities should develop diversion from prosecution programs in their respective jurisdictions to curtail recidivism of youthful offenders and to reduce costs to the criminal justice system. Prosecutors should make every effort to ensure that a fair and appropriate diversion program is implemented that would have a positive effect on the youthful offender and provide young people every opportunity to correct problems in their life patterns which could contribute to recidivism.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access