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Juvenile Justice System Improvement: Implementing an Evidence-Based Decision-Making Platform

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2017
43 pages
This study draws on the experiences of jurisdictions involved in two demonstration programs - the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP) and the Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative (JJRRI) - so as to draw examples and lessons from these jurisdictions to assist other jurisdictions in implementing evidence-based tools and practices in their juvenile justice systems.
The experiences of the JJSIP and JJRRI demonstration projects depict key principles and implementation issues that can inform any effort by a jurisdiction to create an evidence-based decisionmaking platform. These projects show that successful implementation of an evidence-based platform requires a battery of systems supports, including strong leadership, workforce development, data collection and analysis, partnership, communication, cooperation, and ongoing attention to quality assurance. After reviewing the research on ways to improve the juvenile justice system, the report discusses the ways in which the JJSIP and the JJRRI focused on implementing an evidence-based decisionmaking platform. The major section of the report then focuses on the components of the evidence-based decisionmaking platform. These components include assessing youth risk and needs; matching youth to appropriate levels of supervision and services; providing effective program options, i.e., evidence-based programs and the standardized program evaluation protocol (SPLP); assessing the availability of appropriate services and supports to meet justice-involved youths' needs; systems alignment to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the evidence-based approach; and monitoring effectiveness and outcomes. The report's next major section discusses key considerations for implementing an evidence-based decisionmaking platform. The concluding section discusses how to ensure that the implementation and performance of an evidence-based platform for juvenile justice is sustained. 20 references

Date Published: January 1, 2017