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Phoenix House ACCESS

After an alarming rise in juvenile crime and delinquency in the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, juvenile arrest rates began to decline after 1994. However, juvenile recidivism is still an issue. Youth are often faced with significant barriers to effective reintegration as they return to their communities after incarceration. These barriers include substance abuse and mental health problems, gang affiliation, and lack of housing and educational options, all of which have been linked to higher rates of recidivism. In recent years, a number of evidence-based reentry models have been developed, including Assertive Continuing Care (ACC), which uses home visits, intensive case management, and parental involvement to engage the youth and target barriers to successful reentry.

In October 2004, Phoenix House San Diego received a Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)-funded grant to implement ACCESS (Assertive Continuing Care Ensuring Sobriety and Success), a reentry program for youth returning to the community after incarceration in the San Diego County Department of Probation’s Juvenile Ranch Facility. ACCESS targets youth from the South Bay and Mid-City regions of San Diego County who received substance abuse treatment while detained. Over the four-year grant period, 450 youth ages 14 to 18 and their families will receive case management services designed to meet their substance abuse treatment, mental health, and other needs, and improve family functioning and reduce criminal recidivism.

The SANDAG evaluation of the ACCESS program included a process evaluation to determine if the program was implemented as designed, as well as an impact evaluation to measure the effects of the program on the behavior of targeted youth, family functioning, and recidivism. Staff members conducted follow-up interviews with clients and collected criminal and location history information starting with the first referral to probation to one year after program exit. Phoenix House began identifying participants in January 2005, and the program was funded through December 2008.

Project Manager

Sandy Keaton, Senior Criminal Justice Research Analyst
Phone: (619) 699-6933, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or