Sports Program Reduces Violence, Study Shows

The more than 800 boys who participated in a program were found to have a 44 percent decrease in violent crime arrests

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A program for Chicago boys intended to help them in the process of "Becoming a Man" is successful in keeping many of them out of jail and in school, a University of Chicago study released Friday reports.

    The more than 800 boys who participated in a program, called Becoming a Man -- Sports Edition, were found to have a 44 percent decrease in violent crime arrests while participating, the study showed.

    The program combines counseling with Olympic sports like Archery and Judo and was delivered by Youth Guidance.

    Around 2,700 boys in 7th through 10th grades participated in the study that launched in November 2009. The 800 who participated in the program were chosen by lottery. The boys went into the program with an average GPA of 1.73, and had missed more than six weeks of school on average. More than one-third had been arrested, the study reported.

    "The program cost around $1,100 per participant, while its impacts on criminal behavior generated benefits to society that are valued on the order of $3,600 to $34,000 per participant, depending on how we measure the costs of crime," said University of Chicago Professor Jens Ludwig.

    The results of the study, said Youth Guidance CEO Michelle Adler Morrison, are an indication not to give up on youth.

    "This study proves that even with so much stacked against them, when given access to an innovative program that really provides the support and guidance they need, these young men can and will succeed," she said.

    There are plans for expansion of the project with a follow-up study to provide the program to around 2,000 students over the next three years, the university said.