Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) will undertake a statewide comprehensive analysis of the front end juvenile justice system to implement practices and programs that are more equitable, provide greater access to justice for all youth, and produce positive outcomes. The overarching objective is to improve practices around collaboration with law enforcement and community partners. Program components include data collection from law enforcement; analyses of data for youth initial system contacts; screening for diversion eligibility; identification of opportunities for reinvestment of resources; and responding to the impact of trauma on delinquent behavior. A statewide Juvenile Justice Collaborative will assist with addressing the identified issues. DJJ will partner with technical assistance and training experts to conduct assessments, provide guidance with implementation strategies, and training for DJJ staff along with Community-based providers. A diversion specialist will assist with implementation and assist the communities to overcome diversion related barriers. DJJ will incorporate trades restitution programming grounded in restorative justice practices. The Program will include a comprehensive system assessments of front-end justice involvement, risk and social factors that contribute to system involvement, the impact of race and ethnicity on youth’s involvement with law enforcement, and how race and ethnicity influence youths' trajectory into the juvenile justice system. Program goals are to expand options for youths' participation in diversion programming; reduce and eliminate entry of low-risk youth into the juvenile justice system; promote cross-system collaboration to increase successful diversion programming; decrease recidivism rates; and reduce racial disparities throughout Virginia’s juvenile justice system and improve outcomes for all youth.