The Crossroads Study
Elizabeth Cauffman, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Paul Frick, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
The Crossroads Study is a multi-site research project that is investigating the long-term impacts of formal versus informal processing of first-time juvenile offenders.  It is supported with grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Judges, Probation Officers, and District Attorneys are tasked with evaluating cases of suspected juvenile offending and determining which youth to channel into the justice system and which to divert from formal processing.  How do they make this decision?  How should they make this decision?  In spite of the widely varying costs of different justice system outcomes, there is very little research examining the factors that juvenile justice professionals consider when making these determinations. There is even less empirical research aimed at informing these decisions and those of other justice system arbiters in order to maximize benefits and limit long term costs to society.  As a result, juvenile case processing is characterized by inconsistency, even within a single state.  The goal of the proposed study is to create an empirical foundation for developing decision-making guidelines for juvenile justice professionals that serve the best interest of the community, the taxpayers, and delinquent youths.