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Program Profile: Project BUILD

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on December 30, 2013

Program Summary

A violence prevention curriculum designed to assist youths in a detention center to overcome obstacles such as gangs, violence, crime, and substance abuse. The program is rated Effective. Youths who participated in the program had significantly lower rates of recidivism compared to nonparticipants.

Program Description

Program Goals
Project BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development; now the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum) is a violence prevention curriculum designed to help youth in detention overcome problems they may face in their communities, such as gangs, crime, and drugs. The program is designed to intervene in the lives of youth who have come in contact with the juvenile justice system to reduce recidivism and diminish the prospects that youth will become adult offenders. The program began in 1993 in the Nancy B. Jefferson (NBJ) Alternative School of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC) in Chicago, Ill.

Project BUILD is part of a larger program, simply called BUILD. The BUILD program combines several popular gang prevention strategies in an attempt to curb gang violence in some of Chicago's most depressed and crime-ridden neighborhoods. The program was founded on the principle that youths join gangs because they lack other, more constructive opportunities and outlets. BUILD tries to provide various alternatives for youths, such as deploying trained street workers, organizing afterschool sports programs, providing career training, and implementing the BUILD Violence Intervention (formerly Project BUILD) Curriculum. The focus of this review is on Project BUILD during the 1998–1999 school years which was delivered to students in the CCJTDC.

Targeted Population
The program targeted both males and females who were detained at the CCJTDC and who were enrolled in the NBJ School on the premises.

Key Personnel
Originally there was one teacher who taught the Project BUILD curriculum. The program has since been updated so that Case Managers provide the reentry curriculum and follow-up case management services to ensure that youth, upon release, enroll in school and engage in constructive activities to reduce recidivism. Intervention Specialists/Case Managers are at the school during the day, a minimum of 3 days per week, where they conduct the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum in the classroom or have pullout groups with youth identified by school administrators. In addition, they may have one-on-one sessions with youth that are also referred by teachers and school administrators.

Program Components
Previous Version of Curriculum
During the 1998–1999 school years, Project BUILD's curriculum focused on four themes pertinent to the lives of the students enrolled in the NBJ Alternative School:
  1. self-esteem enhancement
  2. communication skills
  3. problem-solving techniques
  4. goal-setting and decision-making
The self-esteem enhancement theme taught students what self-esteem is and what it means to have healthy self-esteem. Students learned how a variety of factors can influence their own self-esteem as well as the self-esteem of others. The communication skills theme supported students in learning the differences between constructive ways of communication versus harmful ways of expressing themselves. Students learned how to identify their feelings as well as the feelings of others so that they could more effectively communicate with those around them. The problem-solving techniques theme focused on violence and drug prevention by exploring students' personal experiences with those problems. Students also learned and used strategies to resolve conflict constructively and manage their anger. The last theme, goal-setting and decision-making, taught students the value of setting goals while also emphasizing personal responsibility for their past actions and movement towards future goals. The curriculum was designed so that course topics would rotate on a daily basis, allowing for all four themes to be taught within a 1-week time period. Friday became a make-up day for students who had missed any of the previous days' classes.

Each theme incorporated several activities such as watching videos, role playing, and creating posters or other artwork. Each week used a diverse sample of these activities; in the following week, different activities were selected so that there was minimal repetition of activities within the same theme. Additionally, the use of guest speakers was incorporated into the curriculum, with a weekly speaker from the Rape Victim’s Advocacy Group giving presentations on a range of topics including rape, domestic violence and prevention, and the empowerment of women. Project BUILD classes lasted for 1 hour and were offered several times throughout the day.

Current Version of the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum
Project BUILD (BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum) has undergone several changes since the program was evaluated in 2000. Currently, students enrolled in the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum are taught a variety of new life skills, receive additional academic tutoring and assistance, participate in sports and recreational activities, go on field trips, and engage in leadership development and civic engagement. The BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum includes components such as socio–emotional learning, positive youth development, and restorative justice. Youth may receive anything from one workshop to the full 10-week session of the curriculum. Sessions of the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum include:
  • the Universe Begins with “U”!;
  • The Power Struggles—Bully Prevention;
  • Choosing Right—How to Make Healthy Decisions for Life;
  • the Emotional Rollercoaster.
However, these new components were not a part of the original evaluated study (Lurigio et al. 2000).

Traditionally, the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum had been solely based inside NBJ, the school inside the CCJTDC, with follow-up through home visits. Recently, BUILD has established a relationship with the NBJ administration to create opportunities for enhanced programming. Through this, NBJ has provided payment for the first time, and BUILD has also provided services to Charmers, the alternative school that NBJ operates outside the detention center. In addition, BUILD has been providing services at the Westside Association for Community Action Evening reporting center and provided more community-based programming for youth to engage in as an alternative to detention.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
The study conducted by Lurigio and colleagues (2000) found that youths who participated in Project BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development) had significantly lower rates of recidivism compared to non-Project BUILD youths. Among those students who participated in Project BUILD, 33 percent returned to detention within 1 year, compared with 57 percent of non-Project BUILD youths. Furthermore, the Project BUILD participants who did return to detention took longer time to recidivate (9.6 months) compared to non-Project BUILD youths (7.6 months), a significant difference.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Lurigio and colleagues (2000) used a quasi-experimental design to study the impact of Project BUILD’s (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development) detention center curriculum on students’ recidivism rates 1 year after they participated in the program during the 1998–1999 school year. The study used a random sample of 60 Project BUILD students who were compared with a matched random sample of 60 non-Project BUILD students.

Overall, participants in the program during the 1998–1999 school year were mostly male (66 percent), and ranged in age from 10–17 years. A majority of students were African American (72 percent); the remainder of students were Hispanic (16 percent), white (6 percent), biracial (4 percent), and 2 percent were in the “other” racial category. Students in both groups were released back into the community following their stays in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC) and follow-up data was collected for 1 year. The study used data collected between April 1998 and April 1999. Researchers interviewed caseworkers, teachers, and participants; ran focus groups with participants; and used surveys to collect data from students. Demographics information, such as age, race, and school attendance information was obtained from participant program files.

Recidivism was measured by taking the total number of Project BUILD students who had returned to the CCJTDC following their previous stay in the program. To measure recidivism, the total number of Project BUILD students who had left CCJTDC was divided into the total number of Project BUILD students who had returned to CCTJDC following their initial stay in the program. Recidivists were only counted once in the formula, even if they returned multiple times.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Implementation Information

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BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development) is the official publisher and distribution center for the Project BUILD detention center curriculum. Please see the BUILD Web site for more information on the curriculum and support materials.
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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
Lurigio, Arthur, Gad Bensinger, S. Rae Thompson, Kristin Elling, Donna Poucis, Jill Selvaggio, Melissa Spooner. 2000. A Process and Outcome Evaluation of Project BUILD: Years 5 and 6. Unpublished Report. Chicago, Ill.: Loyola University.
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Additional References

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

Thompson, David and Leonard A. Jason. 1986. “Effective School-Based Intervention: The Evaluation of BUILD’s Gang Membership Prevention Program.” Final Evaluation Report. Chicago, Ill.: Dysfunctioning Child Center of Michael Reese Hospital. (This study was reviewed but did not meet criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)
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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Treatment in Secure Corrections for Serious Juvenile Offenders
This practice includes interventions targeting serious (violent and chronic) juvenile offenders sentenced to serve time in secure corrections. The overall goal is to decrease recidivism rates when juveniles are released and return to the community. The practice is rated Effective for reducing general recidivism and serious recidivism of violent and chronic juvenile offenders.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Serious recidivism
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Program Snapshot

Age: 10 - 17

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, School

Program Type: Academic Skills Enhancement, Aftercare/Reentry, Alternative School, Classroom Curricula, Gang Prevention/Intervention, School/Classroom Environment, Violence Prevention

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

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide

Program Developer:
Roslind Blasingame-Buford, Ed.D.
Executive Director
BUILD or Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development
5100 W. Harrison Street
Chicago IL 60644
Phone: 773.269.6020
Fax: 773.227.3012

Holly Lewandowski
Evaluation for Change, Inc.
Phone: 630.747.1528