“The so-called “8% problem” or 8% theory” in Juvenile Justice”
After tracking two different groups of first-time juvenile offenders, The California Probation Department found that for fifty-five percent of the repeat cases a small percentage of the juveniles were arrested frequently, referring to this group as the 8% problem.
An 8% offender can be identified within first contact, and not after several trips around the juvenile justice system by holding characteristics such as, involvement in crime at an early age, a multi-problem profile ( abuse, neglect, criminal family members),stealing, problems at school, and drug and alcohol abuse. The justice system is liberal toward these seemingly ‘first-time offenders’ and pays little attention to these potential chronic offenders until after they’ve already established a record.
Orange County established what is called the 8% Early Intervention Program ( 8% Solution) targeted at ‘first time offenders’ that exhibited at least three of the four risk factors and weren’t any older than fifteen and a half. This program aimed to increase supervision, structure, and support for families making likely %8 accountable and ensuring that youths and families understand the importance of school by promoting pro-social values and relationships.
The 8% Solution has been deemed a model program which undergoes a thorough evaluation. Amid those seventy-one youths who completed the 8% program in mid 1999 only thirty-four percent committed two or more new offenses a year after program entry proving the 8% Solution a reliable on to help rehabilitate potential repeat offenders.