A $500,000 commitment made by Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI) to the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (SCJ). Working through The Evidence-Based Institute of SCJ, the funds will be used to create an endowment to support faculty and graduate student research focused on reducing the number of youths involved in gangs. The first $100,000 has been received, and the balance will be paid out over the next five years.
“This is a unique partnership between a social services agency and research institution,” notes Dr. Paul Boxer, a Rutgers-Newark psychology professor who has conducted extensive research on gang-involved youth and will be a major contributor of the CSI/SCJ collaborative. “It marries the delivery of direct services with evidence-based research.” Other principal investigators include Dr. Todd Clear, dean of SCJ, Dr. Michael Ostermann, director of The Evidence-Based Institute, and Dr. Anthony Braga, the Don M. Gottfredson Professor of Evidence-Based Criminology at SCJ.
Established in 1962, CSI is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Windsor, Connecticut, whose “mission is to promote the independence, citizenry and well-being of individuals and families involved, or at risk of involvement, in the child welfare, juvenile justice and criminal justice systems.” For more than 50 years, CSI has “delivered supervision, treatment, and comprehensive, individual services to help its clients interact more effectively in their communities and become productive citizens.”
Multisystemic Therapy is an intensive family, community, and evidence-based treatment program used by CSI to help address all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders. It encompasses issues and concerns manifested in homes, schools and neighborhoods, and among families, teachers and friends.
Boxer’s study of Multisystemic Therapy programs dates back to 2009. Leveraging off Boxer’s expertise, SCJ and The Evidence-Based Institute will offer CSI analysis of CSI’s existing MST data, provide research support where currently a void exists, secure substantial new grant funds from other sources, develop new programs, and otherwise devise effective ways to deliver services to children and adults in the justice system.
“We see our partnership with Rutgers as a win-win for all parties involved, especially the individuals to whom we provide services,” commented Robert Pidgeon, executive director of CSI. “Through this endeavor we can continue to make significant inroads globally.” Presently, CSI has programs in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey (Essex and Hudson counties), Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. It also offers Multisystemic Therapy clinical training and quality assurance to other Multisystemic Therapy providers in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Canada, and Australia.