Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Home detention -- Iowa -- Black Hawk County, Juvenile corrections -- Iowa -- Black Hawk County


The thesis presented herein is an evaluation of Intensive Home Supervision (IHS). IHS is a community based juvenile delinquency prevention program operated conjointly through the Department of Human Services (OHS) and Juvenile Court Services in Black Hawk County. The purpose of IHS is to provide a treatment oriented intensive supervision program designed specifically to keep youthful offenders in their homes and out of long term residential placements. IHS is different than many other intensive supervision programs in that it is designed to go beyond monitoring youths' behaviors by therapeutically intervening to enhance the offenders' life skills. The nine life skills targeted for improvement include developing interpersonal relationships, increasing accountability, self-esteem enhancement, increasing victim empathy, anger management, problem solving, stress reduction, accepting responsibility, and employment seeking.

Each of the previously mentioned components has its roots in either strain, social control, or differential association theory. These theoretical paradigms are discussed in relation to the individual components. Since IHS takes a holistic approach to delinquency causation, Elliot, Ageton, and Canter's (1979) Integrative Model will be employed as a theoretical framework for explaining the IHS program and as a guide in the interpretation of the evaluation results.

There are two focal concerns for this thesis. The first concern is to determine whether the behaviors of the youths placed on IHS improved as a result of the intervention. Second, this research attempts to determine if IHS provides a financially and legally viable alternative to other types of legal sanctions, especially long term residential placements. To address these issues, this evaluation consists of a product evaluation focusing on the rehabilitative and deterrent ability of IHS and a process evaluation to examine the political and administrative influences effecting the integrity of the IHS program.

The methodology used in this research is dualistic incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data is derived from analyzing the associations of 14 independent variables (age, race, gender, number of times placed out of the home and number of charges prior to placement, family structure and job description, number and types of crimes committed while on IHS, services offered prior to and during IHS, total contact time with juvenile court services, and length of recidivism time) with the dichotomized dependent variable (success/ failure). A successful outcome for IHS is defined as acquiring no further charges during IHS placement, acquiring no further charges prior to official case closing, and receiving no further treatment interventions other than standard probation prior to case closing. Bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses are employed to determine which individual variables and combination of variables are associated with successful case outcomes from the IHS program.

Qualitative data includes information drawn from informal interviews with juvenile court officials, commentary gleaned through surveys administered to 13 Juvenile Court Officers (JCOs), and the authors' observations as a field supervisor in the IHS program. The purpose of the qualitative analysis is to gain insight into how the key actors associated with IHS view the purpose and therapeutic abilities of the intervention, as well as offering further explanation for the previously mentioned quantitative findings. The findings indicate that IHS is viewed by JCOs almost exclusively as a monitoring service and not intended as a skill building intervention.

Monitoring would appear to possess only minimal therapeutic advantages as only 47% of the participants achieved successful outcomes from IHS. Contrary to previous findings (Blomberg, 1975), IHS as a diversionary program has not acted to widen the legal net. Evidence to support this conclusion is that IHS retains control of the youth for a considerably shorter amount of time, and has not acted to bring more people into the system as the program is a replacement for residential placement. IHS participants appear to pose little threat to the community as nearly 80 % of the participants accumulated no further charges while on IHS and over 66% did not reoffend prior to official case closing. Several shortcomings were found in the IHS program as a result of the survey analysis. It was discovered that the head of the IHS program did not do an adequate job of administering the program. Most of the field supervisors were insufficiently trained in working with the youths assigned to them. There was also no visible direction given by the OHS which was in charge of overseeing the administration of IHS. The lack of influence by the OHS and adequate staff training was viewed as detrimental to the overall effectiveness of IHS because very few of the nine program components were employed beyond the monitoring intervention.

Recommendations are made in Chapter 5 as a result of the findings in Chapters 3 and 4. These recommendations include (a) creating a specific division for IHS to be administered by JCOs trained specifically in conducting direct intensive supervision of clients or JCS should hire one specifically trained JCO to manage IHS and train contract workers to conduct the direct supervision, (b) conducting thorough background searches prior to employing field supervisors, (c) submitting financial statements and copies of all billable services to the finance office quarterly to explain all expenses and ensure that the program stay within the allotted budget, (d) being evaluated by external, nonpartisan sources as a check of treatment integrity, (e) developing and implementing a screening instrument consisting of specific criteria mandatory for placement by a panel of at least three members to authorize the use of the intervention, (f) developing case plans which include goals, objectives, interventions, and time lines for accomplishment for each client placed on IHS, (g) conducting weekly case reviews involving the field supervisor, the IHS supervisor, and the administering JCO.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Clemens Bartollas, Chair


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 120 leaves ; 28 cm)



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Criminology Commons