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Measuring and Using Juvenile Recidivism Data To Inform Policy, Practice, and Resource Allocation

NCJ Number
Nastassia Walsh; Josh Weber
Date Published
July 2014
16 pages
Key findings are presented from a 50-State survey of juvenile correctional agencies that solicited information on the extent to which States currently track recidivism for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and whether they use such information to inform policy and funding decisions.
The survey found that only half of all State juvenile correctional agencies measure youth outcomes beyond whether youth commit future delinquent acts, and only 20 percent of States track these outcomes for youth after they are no longer under supervision. Based on the survey findings, this report presents five recommendations. First, measure recidivism for youth involved with the juvenile justice system by documenting the multiple ways they may have subsequent contact with the justice system. Second, analyze recidivism data in order to account for youth's risk levels, as well as other key youth characteristics and variables. Third, develop and maintain the infrastructure necessary to collect, analyze, and report recidivism data. Almost half of all States rate their capacity to collect and report recidivism and other performance data as "Strong" or Very Strong;" however, the other half rates their capacity as "Average," "Below Average," or "Weak." Fourth, make recidivism data available to key constituents and the general public. Fifth, Use recidivism data to inform juvenile justice policy, practice, and resource allocation. 4 figures and 17 notes