Our Policy • The juvenile justice system is comprised of a series of key decision points that impact youth, families, victims, and their communities, as well as drive local and national priorities, policies, and spending. • For decisions to be objective and informed, it is absolutely critical for these decisions to be data- driven. However, most jurisdictions do not have the technology, knowledge, or capacity to apply quality data to decisions. • Juvenile justice professionals, from policy makers to on-the-ground practitioners, need guidance and resources to help them to interpret and apply data to decision making. Our Work • Since its inception, NCJFCJ’s research division, the National Center for Juvenile Justice ( NCJJ ) has improved the availability and influenced the use of juvenile justice system data. NCJJ developed performance measures for delinquency and dependency courts and probation to document productivity, effectiveness, quality, and timeliness. Jurisdictions across the country have adopted these performance measures and have received training and technical assistance from NCJJ to collect quality data and apply it to key decisions.
• NCJJ’s OJJDP-funded Juvenile Justice Model Data Project is developing measures to improve juvenile justice decision-making. • NCJJ recently completed an effort to enhance states’ capacity to measure and report recidivism and other meaningful indicators of system performance. • NCJJ has also worked with probation departments to establish processes for data-driven decision-making, including the development of screening tools and protocols for matching services to assessed risk and need (e.g., Case Management Essentials ). • Through Pennsylvania’s Quality Improvement Initiative, NCJJ assisted service providers to establish and implement continuous quality improvement processes. They learned how to identify key information to collect, how to collect it in a standardized way, and how to apply it to decisions about programming, staffing, and overall improvement of services. • NCJJ works with courts to identify and better understand their population of dual status (crossover) youth and to use data to improve case decision-making and outcomes.
• NCJJ provides data to policy makers as legislation is being drafted to inform policy decisions.
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