Research on Why FOCUS Works!

Outcomes and Longitudinal Surveys- Northpointe Institute for Public Management


Northpointe is an experienced and nationally recognized correctional consulting and research firm providing software products, consulting, training, and implementation services to federal, state, and local criminal justice systems and policy makers. With the support of the federal Justice Assistance Grant in 2011, FOCUS was granted the funds to complete a Northpointe full evaluation.


Outcomes of the Report:

  1. The number of new arrests during the follow-up period was much larger for the control group than for the FOCUS group. There were totals of 26 and 9 arrests for the control and FOCUS groups, respectively (pg. 5).
  2. All of the arrests for the FOCUS group were for misdemeanors or petty offenses (0%). In contrast, for the control group, 7 of the arrests were for felony offenses (27%) (pg 6).
  3. The amount of time that a mentor spends with a clients could possibly predict positive outcomes for the clients and reflect one way in which the FOCUS intervention is effective. In fact, the mean number of hours that mentors spent with the 16 mentees that were not re-arrested at least once was much larger (mean = 29.5) than the number of hours that the mentors spent with the 4 mentees who were re-arrested (mean = 9.7) (pg 8).
  4. The study revealed that the incidence rate for re-arrest rate for the FOCUS group was significantly lower than the incidence rate for a comparable group of control subjects. The incidence rates for the two groups differed by a factor of 4. Analysis of the time that the mentors and clients spent together along with descriptive data on the various activities that the mentors and mentees carried out together indicated the intensity of the intervention. Large time commitments by the mentors and clients contributed to the effectiveness of the intervention.

On the basis of this study and results, the recidivism rate was defined as the number of offenders to re-arrest within a year. The study concluded that ex-offenders who received a FOCUS intervention were significantly less likely to recidivate. With a reduction in the recidivism rate of a factor of 4, it was consistent with our findings; however, additional data collected from a larger pool of offenders/clients is needed to confirm this finding. Hence, the recidivism rate of 67% in the jail population could be reduced with the FOCUS intervention to a rate as low as 17%. We are continuing to expand the number of offenders in the FOCUS program and to collect data to verify this conclusion and improve our recidivism rate.

Read the full report.