Faculty Sponsor

Matthew Ringenberg


Arts and Sciences


Social Work

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-1-2020


Although mentorship programs have been determined to be effective in promoting positive outcomes in youth and in decreasing delinquency, there is a significant gap in the literature in terms of implementation and evaluation of mentoring programs within juvenile detention facilities. The aim of our study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the REACH program, a violence prevention and delinquency intervention curriculum which the researchers implemented from September through December 2019 within the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center. The REACH curriculum is centered around four key program components: 1) Self-esteem enhancement, 2) Decision-making skills, 3) Setting post-release goals, and 4) Sense of support in working to achieve their goals. By surveying each child to measure their individual responses to each of the four main constructs before and after their participation in the REACH program for a minimum of two weeks, the researchers have been able to determine the effectiveness of the program in providing youth with positive skills that decrease their risk of recidivating. This research project not only provides a template for an effective juvenile delinquency intervention program but also may alter the life course of the youth who participate in the program. Successful implementation, evaluation, and promotion of the REACH program may provide other detention facilities outside of Porter County with an effective model and curriculum that could be implemented within their own detention facilities in order to decrease recidivism rates and strengthen their communities as well.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

I, Samantha Burgett, will graduate from Valparaiso University in May 2020 with degrees in Social Work and Criminology. Additionally, I work as a detention officer at the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center, where I also facilitate REACH, a mentoring and re-entry program aimed at reducing juvenile recidivism rates. In order to address high rates of recidivism, I also founded a nonprofit organization, the Community Change Center: WeAreOne, Incorporated, which provides re-entry services to the incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated populations throughout northwest Indiana.

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