​Evaluation of PCYC Young Offender Programs

Full report - Participation in PCYC Young Offender programs and re-offending (pdf, 452Kb)

Release date: 10.30am Tuesday 5 July 2016


Research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) raises doubts about the effectiveness of Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) programs in reducing juvenile offending.

BOCSAR compared 1,405 matched pairs of juveniles, one of whom had been referred to a PCYC program and one of whom had not.

The young people were matched on a wide range of factors, including gender, age, socio-economic status, remoteness of area of residence, prior offences, prior penalties, current offences and time spent in custody.

BOCSAR found that, within 12 months of program referral, 64 per cent of those referred to a PCYC Young Offender program had re-offended, with a rate of eight re-offences and five offending days per 1,000 person days of follow-up. Half of those referred had re-offended within 190 days of referral.

When compared to a similar group of young people who were not referred to a PCYC Young Offender program, referral was not found to be associated with a reduced rate of re-offending within 12 months, nor with an increase in the number of days to the first re-offence, or a decrease in the rate of re-offences or offending days in the 12 months following referral.

Commenting on the findings, the director of BOCSAR, Dr Don Weatherburn said that, while they were obviously disappointing, it is possible that those referred to the PCYC were higher risk offenders than members of the comparison group.

"We did our best to ensure that the treatment and comparison groups were identical in all relevant respects but, in the absence of a randomized controlled trial, you can never be 100% sure you have succeeded," he said. 

­Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 8346 1100. ­­ 

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au