Gwen Hassel Kurz
Class of 1963
Gwen graduated from Finneytown in 1963. At Finneytown she served on Student Council, was in Y-Teens and played in the band and accompanied the Concert Choir. She was on the newspaper staff and participated in GAA and Escapades (the precursor to the musical and theater program).
After graduation from Finneytown, Gwen majored in education at Miami University and taught Special Education after graduation.
She moved to Huntington Beach, CA, in 1977. There she worked for the Orange County Probation Department. She held the title Director for Program Planning and Research.
“As a criminal justice researcher she thought to survey the recidivism rate of juvenile offenders. At her instigation, the department studied more than 3,000 new juvenile cases in 1987 and 1988 to see what happened to those kids,” read her obituary. “The results shows that 8 percent of them got in serious trouble again and again.”
Gwen helped to create what is now known nationally as The 8 Percent Solution, an early intervention program started in 1994 for kids 15 or younger and their families. She co-authored the book The 8 Percent Solution: Preventing Serious, Repeat Juvenile Offenders.
In 1994 she was selected as Orange County (CA) Woman of Achievement of the Year. In 1999, she was selected as California’s Probation Employee of the Year, a top honor bestowed by the chief probation officers of California. In 2002, posthumously, she was given The Richard A. McGee Award by the American Justice Institute for her pioneering and outstanding contributions to criminal justice research.
Gwen died on May 2, 2001, in California.