The program was tested on more than 800 boys from 12 to 17 years old. All had arrest records and were performing poorly in school. The University of Chicago crime lab supervised the year-long study that began in 2009.
They found a 44 percent decrease in violent crime arrests among boys taking part in the program.
"It is amazing that a program that is not really very expensive is capable of generating a 44 percent reduction in violent crime arrests for a very disadvantaged program population," said Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
The study found that the young people in the program performed much better in school during the year when they took part and the following year as well.