Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System


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Previous Reports

Lessons Learned from a Randomized Study of Multisystemic Therapy in Canada

(2002)

Seeking Effective Interventions for Serious Young Offenders

(2002)

Randomized Study of MST in Ontario, Canada

Final Results

The 409 youth in this study were tracked for three years.

Conviction During Follow-up

275 of the 409 youth were convicted of at least one offence during the follow-up period.

Survival Curve of Convictions During 3-year Follow-up, All Sites Combined


 

MST Group

Control Group

SIX MONTHS

At least one conviction

28.5%

33.3%

ONE YEAR

At least one conviction

49.3%

44.0%

TWO YEARS

At least one conviction

62.6%

57.9%

THREE YEARS

At least one conviction

68.2%

66.5%


Days to Reconviction

The average days to reconviction was 282.9 in the MST group (SD = 247.6) and 310.3 days in the control group (SD = 291.2). This difference was not statistically significant.


Sentenced to Custody During Follow-up

By the end of the 3-year follow-up, 48.4% of the youth had recieved at least one custody sentence in youth court and a further 2.2% had not been sentenced to youth custody but had received an adult sentence of incarceration.

SENTENCED TO CUSTODY DURING FOLLOW-UP

 

MST Group

Control Group

No

48.3%

50.5%

Youth Custody

48.8%

48.0%

Adult Sentence Only

2.8%

1.5%


Days to First Custody Admission

The average number of days that elapsed before the first custody sentence was 317.7 days in the MST group (SD = 261.4) and 308.4 days in the control group (SD = 294.3). This difference was not statistically significant.


Average Days in Sentenced Custody

On average, youth in the MST group were sentenced to 184.4 days in youth custody (n=103, SD = 222.8) while those in the control group were sentenced to 172.2 days on average (n=95, SD=191.7). This difference was not statistically significant.


Number of Convictions

There were no significant differences between the two samples in terms of how frequently each youth was convicted of offences during the follow-up or how many offences they were convicted of.

 

MST Group

Control Group

NUMBER OF PROSECUTIONS DURING FOLLOW-UP

Total Sample

1.53 (SD=1.74)

1.47 (SD=1.63)

Only Youth with at Least One Prosecution

2.24 (SD=1.69)

2.20 (SD=1.54)

NUMBER OF OFFENCES OF CONVICTION DURING FOLLOW-UP (total)

Total Sample

2.92 (SD=3.91)

2.91 (SD=3.81)

Only Youth Convicted of at Least One Offence

4.31 (SD=4.07)

4.40 (SD=3.92)

NUMBER OF OFFENCES (excluding administration of justice offences)

Total Sample

1.87 (SD=2.65)

1.82 (SD=2.49)

Only Youth Convicted of at Least One Offence

3.01 (SD=2.82)

2.95 (SD=2.59)


About the Sample

  • random assignment was used to form two groups: 198 controls and 211 who received the MST intervention

  • 19% of the MST recipients did not complete the full course of treatment

  • any criminal convictions of the 409 youth were tracked for 3 years

  • one youth died mid-way reducing the total sample to 408 for some analyses

  • there was no attrition in follow-up because the RCMP (national) police data base was used and youth were tracked wherever in Canada they moved

  • by the three-year point in the follow-up, 60% were 18 years of age or older meaning they were legally adults

Demographics

  • 73.6% males

  • 13.2% self-identified as Aboriginal Canadians

  • 27 of the youth (6.6%) were under 12 years of age at referral

Prior Record

  • 67% of the youth had a history of at least one prior conviction at referral

  • those with a prior conviction(s) at referral were an average of 14.3 years old at their first conviction

  • 13.2% of those with a prior conviction(s) at referral were 12 years old at their first conviction

  • most youth (64%) were referred to the study by a probation officer

  • 31% of the youth had served a period in youth custody by the time of referral

  • the 27 youth who were under 12 at the time of referral could not (legally) have a history of prior convictions because they were too young and a further 29% of the sample were over 12 but had no record of conviction (but were deemed to be "at-risk" of offending)

Follow-up Statistics

  • by 3 years, 275 youth (67%) had been convicted of at least one offence during the follow-up

  • of those, 20 had been convicted only of an offence against the administration of justice (mostly failing to comply with a disposition or failure to comply with the conditions of a recognizance)

  • among those who were convicted of at least one offence during the follow-up, an average of 10 months elapsed before the first conviction

  • 35% of the youth without a prior conviction at referral remained conviction-free during the follow-up while 28% of youth with a prior conviction at referral were not re-convicted during the follow-up period

  • by the end of 3 years, 52 youth (12.7%) had never been convicted before, during or after the initial referral

  • only 7 of the 27 youth under 12 at referral garnered a conviction after the referral or during the 3-year follow-up

  • 8% received at least one conviction as an adult, or 13% of those who had reached 18 during the follow-up

  • the most serious offences of conviction during the follow-up were assault (38%), theft (15%), break and enter (8%), robbery (8%), administration of justice offences (7%), threats (6%), mischief (4%), and possession of stolen property (4%)

  • two youths were convicted of criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death

  • for 33% of youth, the most serious offence of conviction was for a property offence

Rick-Need Assessment Score: Correlation with Outcomes

The mean RNA score of the sample at intake was 23.5 with a range of 6 to 37. Youth under 12 at time of referral could not be assigned RNA scores because some of the items related to prior criminal record.

  • correlation with days in youth custody 0.038

  • days in adult custody 0.158

  • total number of offences of conviction 0.134

  • total number of offences excluding admin. of justice offences 0.122

  • total number of prosecutions 0.133

  • days to first conviction -0.005

  • days to first conviction (no admin.) 0.007

  • days to first custody admission -0.004

  • mean intake score of those convicted during the follow-up: 23.8

  • mean intake score of those not convicted during the follow-up: 23.0

  • mean intake score of those sentenced to custody during follow-up: 23.3

  • mean intake score of those not sentenced to custody in follow-up: 23.8

The Full Report

Details on the MST technique, the broader context of the study, and the implementation of MST in Ontario can be found in Seeking Effective Interventions for Serious Young Offenders: Interim Results of a Four-Year Randomized Study of Multisystemic Therapy in Ontario, Canada (2002).


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