MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative prevention program designed to
help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become
productive members of society. MAGIC is designed for, and has proven
successful with, teens just entering the juvenile justice system or juveniles
with low incident rates. The program brings together the MAGIC programmer
and local judges; juvenile court masters; juvenile probation and parole
officers; and, other individuals concerned with delinquency.
MAGIC offers community-based programming for juvenile offenders and
their families in an effort to reduce recidivism. While participating
in MAGIC, young people (ages 12 to 18) learn: positive communication
skills; problem solving, decision making; self-responsibility; conflict
resolution; and, goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service
project designed to benefit their community.
Parents and/or guardians of these young offenders also participate in the program.
During three evening meetings, these adults learn to: positively communicate
with their teen; manage anger during conflict situations; recognize symptoms
of drug and/or alcohol abuse; and, positively discipline their children.
Each MAGIC group is made up of 10 to 12 teens who are referred into the program
by juvenile justice collaborators. These youth are entry level, less serious
offenders. Sexual or violent offenders are not admitted. MAGIC participants
meet two or three times a week for approximately two months.
Most teens report: decreased drug and/or alcohol use, increased self-esteem,
better attitudes toward peers and school, and increased communication with
parents and other adults. Parents of MAGIC teens consistently report improvement
in their teen’s behavior AND report an increase in their own knowledge
of parenting techniques.
A study conducted one year after involvement in the program indicates that
skills learned in MAGIC are helping youth stay out of trouble. The program
also helps save taxpayer dollars because young offenders leave the juvenile
justice system to become productive members of society.
MAGIC received the 1997 second-place National Award for Excellence at the National
Rural Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse from the Center for Substance Abuse
Treatment, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.