April 18, 2007


Press Release on Juvenile Justice Data Project

Unprecedented Collaborative Effort Provides Data on County & State Programs

The Juvenile Justice Data Project (JJDP) today released the results of the first ever statewide survey of California’s juvenile justice system, providing a snapshot of 100,000 youth under the jurisdiction of both county probation departments and the state Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“Investing in an effective juvenile justice system is an important step toward breaking the cycle of adult crime, which has led to the present prison overcrowding crisis,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Director, Division of Juvenile Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “This data will lead to a greater, stronger partnership between local and state juvenile justice practitioners.”

Data was collected on youth in county probation departments, community intervention programs, county camps and confinement facilities, juvenile halls, and state facilities. The survey was conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in cooperation with the Chief Probation Officers of California and Youth Law Center.

The survey is in response to the need for data on services currently provided in order to inform decision makers and target reform efforts. The survey found that of the 100,000 youth in California’s juvenile justice system, the vast majority is under local supervision either in community placements (81%) or county juvenile halls, camps, or ranches (10%). A small percentage is in state facilities or on parole (5%).

Survey results show that counties are making significant headway in their rehabilitation efforts, but still require additional tools such as risk assessment instruments and mechanisms to monitor outcomes for youth after they leave placements in order to prevent re-entry.

“County Probation Departments statewide were pleased to work together with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Youth Law Center in gathering data on the Juvenile Justice system as a whole,” said Kim Barrett, President of the Chief Probation Officers of California. “It is my hope state and county decision makers will use this data to improve California’s juvenile justice system for the youth we serve.”

Participation in the voluntary survey was overwhelming – 55 out of 58 counties provided data as well as the DJJ. Karen Hennigan, PhD, and a team of researchers from the Center for Research on Crime, University of Southern California, compiled and analyzed the results covering every level of response, from early intervention services to confinement in DJJ facilities. A second report will provide recommendations for use by local and state policymakers to assist juvenile justice system reform efforts.

“The collaboration and commitment from the counties, state, and advocates has been very encouraging. We all know that the system needs help and this survey is an important step to spur action to fix the system,” said Carole Shauffer, Executive Director of the Youth Law Center, which secured funding for the project.

The JJDP originated in 2004 from a working group created by Governor Schwarzenegger to identify best practices and programs to improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system. This unprecedented partnership includes representatives from law enforcement, probation, corrections, county government, state agencies, advocacy groups, service providers, data analysts, and policymakers.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is responsible for California’s state prison system and parole. Chief Probation Officers of California is an association of fifty-nine Chief Probation Officers in the state. Youth Law Center is a California based legal advocacy organization working on behalf of children and families in the nation’s juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

Download the report, JJDP Phase 1: Survey of Interventions and Programs, the appendix to the report, County by County Appendix or the Summary Report.