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Roca’s theory of change is that young people, when re-engaged through positive and intensive relationships, can change their behaviors and develop life, education, and employment skills to disrupt the cycles of poverty and incarceration.

Roca’s Intervention Model is a cognitive-restructuring, behavioral change and skill development intervention, which focuses on high-risk young men. Roca’s model focuses on 17-to-24-year-old young men who are either: 1) aging out of the juvenile justice or juvenile probation systems with a strong propensity for re-incarceration as an adult; 2) connected with the adult justice system; or 3) are high-risk members of the community being served who have a strong propensity for incarceration as an adult.

This is a four-year program designed to allow participants enough time to undergo meaningful behavior change, which will enable them to stay out of jail and go to work. The first two years involve intensive interaction between the program and the young man, focusing on gradually engaging the participant in programming and promoting behavior change. The subsequent two years focus on sustaining the positive change in behavior. The ultimate goals of the model are reducing participants’ incarceration rates and increasing participants’ ability to retain employment over time.


The Place Matters project is housed at the Justice Policy Program within the Cutler Institute at the Muskie School of Public Service, which is located at the University of Southern Maine and is supported by a collective of funders including: The John T. Gorman Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Rocking Moon Foundation, the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, and the Maine Economic Improvement Fund.

We send out a monthly e-mail in collaboration with the Maine Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at the University of Maine School of Law with news and information about the future of youth justice in Maine. Sign up to receive the newsletter and check out previous months by following the link below:



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