Juvenile delinquency has serious financial and social costs. Moreover, because it is a risk factor for later criminal behavior, it creates long-term burdens associated with lost productivity and further involvement with the criminal justice system. The Prosecutor's Early Intervention Program (PEIP) is a proven prevention-based program/diversion, first developed by the 16th Judicial District, that facilitates a conduit between the home, school, social service agencies and the legal system in order to identify and intervene with children who are exhibiting behavioral and/or school performance problems. Preliminary studies on the efficacy of the PEIP, suggest the program reduces excused and unexcused absences and in-school and out-of-school suspensions. PEIP participation also led to reductions in hostile emotionality and conduct problems, while concurrently increasing parental engagement in problem solving.
Over the years the PEIP has expanded to Judicial Districts throughout the state. However, a uniform method for data collection, storage and analyzing was not developed to track specific metrics and program related outcomes. In addition, the structure and essential components required for adhering to the PEIP model lacked clarity due to the lack of a central database that can provide checks and balances necessary to increase program fidelity. The lack of uniformity in program structure and management, intake and assessment and other essential components necessary for implementing PEIP in an effective manner could potentially lead to poorer outcomes and/or program efficacy. In 2010, as part of a $800,000 grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to enhance PEIP in current districts, the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association (LDAA) requested the Picard Center’s assistance in building a uniform data system for the PEIP. In addition Picard staff would provide training and technical assistance to each district. The enhancements would not only to ensure program fidelity, but create an effective data collection process to increase the reliability and validity of data elements, program outcomes, streamline specific program protocols and reduce the amount of time case managers and program supervisors spend entering data. In addition, the data system will allow researchers to track individuals longitudinally, to evaluate the power of the intervention over longer periods of time.