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New Data Shows High-Risk Young Men in Roca Model Avoid New Arrests & Violations, Retain Jobs
Published: 10/25/2013

Some of the state’s highest-risk young men tied to violence, drugs, guns and gangs are avoiding new arrests, technical violations and keeping jobs at a staggering and steady rate as they participate in a nation-leading intervention model in Massachusetts, according to new data released today.

Roca, the Chelsea-based nonprofit serving high-risk young men in Greater Boston and Greater Springfield – soon poised to help lead Governor Deval Patrick’s first-in-the-nation pay-for-success program, reported that 89 percent of its participants - some of the highest risk young men in the state - had successfully had no new arrests, 95 percent had no new technical violations and 69 percent remained employed the last year.

“Roca’s intervention model helps keep our highest risk young men out of jail, in jobs and contributing to their communities and we have the consistent data to show it works,” said Roca Executive Director Tom McKenna. “Roca isn’t afraid to test its model and to let data guide our decisions. We’re so pleased the data confirms there is a way to support high risk young people into lifelong transformation.”

For 25 years, Roca has been working to move young men out of violence and poverty and break the cycle of incarceration. The 2013 data shows that Roca worked with 469 young men through its phased-in intervention model that includes rigorous outreach on the streets of the state’s most dangerous urban communities and intensive case management in life skills, pre-job training and transitional employment.

The data shows that Roca truly is working with the highest risk young men in the region – men who won’t go to or leave other successful programs.

Of the 469 young men Roca worked with during the fiscal year, 82 percent had some form of criminal history, nearly 70 percent dropped out of high school, 80 percent were involved in a gang, 86 percent were substance abusers, 25 percent were young fathers and 88 percent had no history of employment.

Among those who participated and stayed out of jail in 2013 was Kelord Kynard. Kynard, a Springfield resident who served two separate jail sentences before connecting with Roca, has been involved in the program since 2011, and has become a model employee at a local auto body shop. “My life is better – I can do things now that I couldn’t do before and didn’t think I could do,” says Kynard, reflecting on the strides he has made since joining Roca. “I have shelter, food, healthy kids, and a job. I have a bright future.”

The annual outcomes report is a realization of Roca’s daily commitment to using data to drive all facets of its work on behalf of young people. All activities at Roca are tracked, counted, measured and analysed and Roca is committed to releasing its data to hold itself accountable and to improve.

“We have to be worthy of the young men and women we serve and using real, live data to inform everything we do keeps us accountable the same way our rigorous model keeps them accountable,” said McKenna.

During fiscal year 2013, 222 high-risk young men participated in basic transitional employment designed to help them learn basic skills required for sustaining a job such as completing an entire work day, arriving on time and following directions. Twenty-seven Roca participants went through advanced transitional employment, the final step before entering or re-entering the workforce.

One-hundred-thirty-nine high risk young men in the Roca model were eligible for job placement in fiscal year 2013 and, of those 72 percent were placed in a job and 76 percent retained employment.

Of the 469 high-risk young men who participated in Roca’s intervention model, 339 were served at Roca’s Chelsea headquarters and 130 were at its Springfield location. The young men in the Chelsea program are from Chelsea (56 percent), Revere (13 percent), Boston (20 percent), Malden (3 percent) and Everett (6 percent), while those at the Springfield location are solely from Springfield.

Through its intensive data-collection and refining its intervention model over its 25 year history to target young men between the ages of 17 and 24 who are aging out of the juvenile justice or juvenile probation systems and have a high likelihood or reincarceration ad an adult, are already in the adult justice system or are a high-risk member of the community who has a high prospect of incarceration as an adult.

To ensure the successes of its program, Roca has developed a series of performance standards. These standards serve as targets for Roca’s staff and goals for participants. The relationship between a youth worker and a Roca participant is critical to supporting the young person’s transformation and for the success of the program.


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