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Understanding Research and Practice Gaps in Juvenile Justice: Early Insights From the Bridge Project

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2016
10 pages
This report presents early insights from the Bridge Project, which involves the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Urban Institute in addressing barriers that can prevent stakeholders in the juvenile justice system from accessing and applying principles and best practices in their work.
The Bridge Project brings researchers and juvenile justice professionals together for the purpose of identifying areas where research is not fully informing policy and practice. The larger goal of the project is to create practitioner-friendly, application-ready products that can guide juvenile justice reform. In its first year, The Bridge Project developed a systematic approach to research translation into policy and practice that was informed by implementation science and insights from practitioners, training and technical assistance (TTA) providers, and researchers and experts in the field of juvenile Justice. The Bridge has sponsored literature and resource scans to identify existing efforts in the field and assess the availability of rigorous research. OJJDP has focused on grant programs or TTA efforts best positioned to facilitate the transfer of research findings into effective policies and practices. Focus group and interviews with practitioners and experts have identified the most pressing research and practice gaps and learn how research can better inform policy and practice. This brief presents findings from these discussions and summarizes the most pressing research and practice gaps, the barriers practitioners face in accessing and implementing research findings, and the audiences that could benefit most from research translation tools and products. Six gaps that must be addressed are 1) applying developmental research to practice; 2) implementing risk/needs assessments; 3) engaging youth and families; 4) matching youth to services, improving case planning practices, and engaging probation officers; 5) implementing sustainable reentry practices; and 6) using evidence-based practices.

Date Published: December 1, 2016