NBER posted RCT results for READI Chicago, providing transitional jobs, cognitive behavioral therapy, & other services to men at high risk of violence perpetration or victimization. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds no significant impact on overall serious violent crime over 20 months.

Program:

  • READI sought to identify men at the very highest risk of being involved in a shooting, & offered them 18 months of subsidized, supported work combined with group cognitive behavioral therapy. The program cost about $30K per participant, & the study found it was generally well implemented.

Study Design:

  • The study randomly assigned 2,456 adult men in Chicago to READI (treatment group) vs usual services (control group). The men averaged 17 prior arrests, & 35% had previously been shot.

Findings:

  • Unfortunately, the study found no statistically significant effect on the primary, pre-specified outcome - a combined index of the number of Part I violent crime arrests & number of serious violent victimizations - over 20 months. (The non-significant effect size was -0.03).

  • The study found a few possible effects on secondary outcomes, but in the absence of a primary effect (& considering the study's many secondary outcome measures), such effects are only suggestive under established scientific standards (FDA, IES), as they could be due to chance.

Comment:

  • Based on careful review, this was a well-conducted RCT (e.g., good baseline balance, negligible attrition). A 40-month follow-up report is forthcoming. Disclosure: My former employer (Arnold Ventures) helped fund this study.

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