Despite known benefits of arts interventions with female juvenile offenders, rigorous evaluations and best practices models of arts interventions with juvenile offenders are scarce (Ezell & Levy 2003; Hillman, 2009; Miller & Rowe, 2009). The majority of studies rely on easily observable outcome measures, such as recidivism rates, to evaluate program effectiveness. Recidivism rates alone are insufficient outcome measures and fail to explain the processes at work within these classroom environments.
This study explores the effects of issues-based arts classes on female juvenile offenders participating in a juvenile arbitration program in Lexington, South Carolina. We aim to understand the ways in which curriculum and class racial composition affect outcomes, such as perceived attitude changes and recidivism rates. Using an intersectional approach, we conduct a qualitative analysis of arts class participant evaluations and examine the links between participant evaluations and class curriculum, class racial composition, and participant recidivism rates. Our results will contribute to filling the gap in the literature with regards to the influence of arts-based interventions on youth.