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Ohio Juvenile Justice Needs Assessment: Executive Summary Method Findings Actions

NCJ Number
Date Published
10 pages
This document presents the results of needs assessment of the Ohio juvenile justice system.
The methodologies used in this assessment included surveys of juvenile justice professionals; a citizen attitude survey and focus groups conducted with system professionals; court-involved and non-court involved juveniles, and other sources of crime and juvenile justice system tracking data. Some findings of the survey of judges, prosecutors and defense counsel, law enforcement, detention center, treatment providers, and aftercare staff are the following. Recruiting and retaining quality staff rated as the greatest need in the juvenile justice system. While practitioners feel that the purpose of the system is to protect society, public perception is that the system is designed to redirect troubled youth and build stronger families. Twelve focus groups of 144 professional service providers were conducted. Focus group participants emphasized two specific areas: the need for more and better treatment programs, and more prevention and early intervention programs. Some results of 10 focus groups comprised of juvenile participants showed that less than one-quarter were able to identify a positive influence in their lives; and both direct and indirect drug and alcohol involvement were the primary problem. System recommended actions include hiring and retaining qualified and well-trained staff; improving screening at all levels of the system; conducting evaluations of court process; and offering basic and advanced training for probation officers. Also suggested was expanding the use of community-based graduated sanctions; developing better methods of identifying at-risk youth at earlier ages; and implementing broad-based delinquency prevention programs in communities. 3 footnotes