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Program Profile: Operation New Hope

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on July 20, 2012

Program Summary

A curriculum-based aftercare treatment program (formerly called Lifeskills ’95) designed to help chronic, high-risk juvenile offenders reintegrate back into the community after they are released from confinement. The program is rated Promising. Participants were more successful at parole, less likely to be arrested or use drugs, displayed greater improvements in social behavior, and were more likely to be employed compared to the control group parolees.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population

Operation New Hope (formerly Lifeskills ’95) is a curriculum-based aftercare treatment program designed to assist chronic, high-risk juvenile offenders in their reintegration to the community after they are released from secure confinement. The program reinforces small successes while addressing the chronic offender’s fears of the real world. The program is designed to treat improperly socialized juvenile offenders by using a series of lifestyle and life skill treatment modalities in an integrated educational approach to healthy decision-making.


Program Theory

The program is grounded in the dynamics of William Glasser’s (1965) “reality therapy” approach. The approach used by the curriculum is based on six programmatic principles believed to help with reintegration:

  1. Improve the basic socialization skills necessary for successful reintegration into the community.
  2. Significantly reduce criminal activity in terms of amount and seriousness.
  3. Alleviate the need for or dependence on alcohol or illicit drugs.
  4. Improve overall lifestyle choices (social, education, job training, and employment).
  5. Reduce the individual’s need for gang participation and affiliation as a support mechanism.
  6. Reduce the high rate of short-term parole revocations.

These principles address the behavioral antecedents believed to be most responsible for failure to reintegrate. A juvenile’s inability to function and adapt to the norms of society is seen as a lifelong problem attributable to the early family socialization process and exacerbated by poor school performance, alcohol and/or illicit drug use, and strong attachments to negative peer groups (Josi and Sechrest 1999).

Program Activities

The treatment consists of 39 hours of programming completed over 13 consecutive weekly meetings that concentrate on different coping skills. There are 13 primary and 29 secondary program treatment topics. The 13 primary topics are 1) Program Introduction, 2) The “Pit”—Dealing With Your Emotions, 3) Unmanageability, 4) Denial, 5) The Problem of Thinking You Can Do It Alone, 6) “Letting Go,” 7) Perceptions, 8) Expectations, 9) Reality, 10) Love, 11) Family Dynamics, 12) Living With Addiction, and 13) Continuous Practice. Each session lasts approximately 3 hours. The first half of each session is used for lectures, while the last half of each session is used for group discussion.


Participants may begin the program during any point in the curriculum. Participation in a given session does not depend on attending the previous session for understanding, nor for progressing through the program.


Additional Information

Operation New Hope also operates a youth training program for at-risk youth age 17 to 21 years old. Before employment placement, staff conduct preemployment skills training and workshops that include topics such as interviewing, grooming, and educational/vocational requirements. The program is run in partnership with the County of San Bernardino (Calif.) Workforce Investment Board. Operation New Hope, in partnership with John Muir Charter School, also provides academic services to help youths attain their high school diplomas or GEDs. However, the effects of these portions of the program have not been evaluated.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
At the end of the evaluation period, Josi and Sechrest (1999) found that there were significantly more control group parolees who were unsuccessful in their parole attempt, compared with experimental group parolees who participated in Operation New Hope. Fifty-three percent of the control group (61 of the 115 parolees) was unsuccessful at parole, compared with 35 percent of the experimental group (37 of the 106 parolees).

The experimental group was also significantly less likely to have been arrested. At the end of the evaluation period, 32.1 percent of the experimental group parolees had been arrested one or more times, compared with 53.9 percent of the control group.

Substance Abuse
The experimental group was significantly less likely to use drugs or alcohol. At the end of the evaluation period, none of the parolees in the experimental group were classified as daily users, compared with 19.4 percent of the control group. Nineteen percent of the experimental group occasionally used drugs, compared with 32.0 percent of the control group. The majority of the experimental group parolees (81 percent) had no drug use during the evaluation period, compared with fewer than half (48.5 percent) of the control group.

At the end of the evaluation, experimental group parolees were significantly more likely to be employed (full or part time) and to be enrolled in school, compared with control group parolees. Among the 65 parolees in the experimental group who had been successful on parole at the end of the evaluation period, 46.2 percent were employed full or part time, and 6.6 percent were enrolled in school or vocational training. Among the 52 parolees in the control group who had been successful on parole at the end of the evaluation period, only 26.1 percent were employed full or part time, and 5.2 percent were enrolled in school or vocational training. Please note: The employment outcomes included only parolees who had been successful on parole at the end of the evaluation period; the outcomes did not include parolees who had been unsuccessful on parole.

Social Behavior
The experimental group displayed significantly greater improvements in social behavior, compared with the control group, as measured through negative peer associations and family relationships. Sixty-seven percent of the experimental group reported having no contact with former gang associates, compared with 45.2 percent of the control group. Approximately 43 percent of the experimental group reported few, if any, associations with negative peers, compared with 26.1 percent of the control group. Finally, 67.0 percent of the experimental group reported stable relationships with family members, compared with 51.3 percent of the control group.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
The Operation New Hope (previously known as Lifeskills ’95) program was evaluated by Josi and Sechrest (1999) using a quasi-experimental design with a nonrandomized treatment and a control group. The two groups were made up of juvenile parolees released from a secured facility between Feb. 1 and Dec. 31, 1995, who were assigned to the California Youth Authority’s (CYA’s) Inland Parole Office (which served both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties). If a juvenile reported a residence that was within a 25-mile radius of the Inland Parole Office at the time of release, he or she was placed in the treatment group. If the address was beyond the 25-mile radius, the youth was put into the control group. In this study, exactly 115 youths lived within the 25-mile radius, and 115 lived beyond the limit. However, during the evaluation period, nine parolees from the treatment group became involved in an additional program and were removed from the sample (n=106 for the treatment group).

The overwhelming majority of participants were male—97.4 percent in the treatment group and 95.7 percent in the control group. The average ages were 20.0 and 20.2, respectively. The treatment group was 40.9 percent African American, 39.1 percent Hispanic, and 14.8 percent white. The control group was 50.4 percent Hispanic, 24.3 percent African American, and 20.0 percent white. There were no significant differences between the groups. The treatment group was required to attend all 13 Lifeskills ’95 classes, while the control group was not.

Data was collected through semistructured interviews and surveys of parolees, treatment facilitators, and parole agents. Random drug tests were also performed. Data was collected three times: 1) the first week after release, 2) after the treatment was complete (3 months after release), and 3) at the end of the evaluation period (Feb. 28, 1996). Only the results for the end of the evaluation period are reported under the Evaluation Outcomes section. At the end of the evaluation period, each juvenile assigned in the study had been on parole for a minimum of 3 months (those paroled in December 1995) to a maximum of 12 months (those paroled in February 1995).

There were several outcomes of interest examined in the study. Recidivism/revocation was measured through parole failures. Parole failure was defined as dishonorable discharge, absent without leave or permission or missing, incarceration in juvenile hall or county jail, revocation for a technical violation, or revocation for a criminal violation. Data on parole failure was obtained from the CYA’s Offender-Based Institutional Tracking System. Substance use was measured by examining the results of parolees’ urine tests. Employment was examined by the number of parolees who were currently employed (full and part time) or were enrolled in school or vocational training. Social behavior was measured through questions asking parolees about their reinvolvement with negative peer groups and problems in their family relationships.

Chi-square analysis was used to test for statistically significant difference in outcome results between the experimental and control groups.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Josi, Don A., and Dale K. Sechrest. 1999. “A Pragmatic Approach to Parole Aftercare: Evaluation of a Community Reintegration Program for High-Risk Youthful Offenders.” Justice Quarterly 16(1):51–80.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Glasser, William. 1965. Reality Therapy. New York, N.Y.: Harper & Row.

Operation New Hope Web site. 2012.
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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

This practice provides at-risk youth with positive and consistent adult or older peer contact to promote healthy development and functioning by reducing risk factors. The practice is rated Effective in reducing delinquency outcomes; and Promising in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs; improving school attendance, grades, academic achievement test scores, social skills and peer relationships.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Drugs & Substance Abuse - Multiple substances
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Education - Multiple education outcomes
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Mental Health & Behavioral Health - Psychological functioning

Juvenile Reentry Programs
This practice consists of reintegrative programs and services designed to prepare juvenile offenders, who were placed out of their homes, for reentry into the community. The overall goal is to reduce the recidivism rate of juvenile offenders released from out-of-home placements. The practice is rated Promising. There was a statistically significant decrease in the recidivism rates of juveniles who participated in the reentry programs, compared with juveniles in the comparison groups.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Age: 16 - 22

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Aftercare/Reentry, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Group Therapy, Leadership and Youth Development, Mentoring, Probation/Parole Services

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders, High Risk Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide

Program Director:
Operation New Hope
8520 Archibald Avenue, Bldg. 20, Ste. A
Rancho Cucamonga CA 91730
Phone: 909.527.3894