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July | August 2015

Workshop Highlights Best Practices for Using Data To Reform Juvenile Justice

National Juvenile Court Data Archive logoThe Workshop for Contributors to the National Juvenile Court Data Archive, held June 11–12, 2015, in Burlington, VT, offered attendees best practices in data system development and data usage to inform juvenile justice policy and procedures.

Hosted by the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), the workshop was attended by approximately 50 representatives from juvenile courts or other juvenile justice agencies that contribute case-level data to the OJJDP-funded National Juvenile Court Data Archive. OJJDP staff in attendance gleaned insights from the data suppliers that will inform agency efforts to advance reform through the enhancement of data collection, analysis, and utilization.

For more than two decades, the OJJDP-sponsored workshop has provided intensive technical assistance and support to the Archive’s data contributors and has afforded jurisdiction representatives the opportunity to network with and learn from counterparts from across the country.

Guest speaker David Finkelhor, Ph.D., director for the Crimes against Children Research Center, codirector of the Family Research Laboratory, and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, led a presentation titled “Explaining Trends in Juvenile Crime, Risk-Taking, and Maltreatment.” Phillip Stevenson, Ph.D., research manager at The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project, provided an overview of the project.

In his presentation, “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Delinquency: Findings From Florida,” Nathan Epps, senior data analyst at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, reported on the prevalence of ACEs in a population of 64,329 juvenile offenders in Florida, compared with the findings to ACE studies conducted on adults.

The 14 presentations offered at this year’s workshop covered topics such as local perspectives on crossover youth, connecting child placements with delinquency and domestic violence cases, Missouri’s Contextual and Neighborhood Effects Study for Court-Involved Youth, quality improvement through organizational assessment and process and outcomes indicators, new data collection tools in access and visitation, as well as Florida’s dispositional matrix and validation study on matching youth service intensity using evidence-based principles.

Small group discussions provided in-depth followup to the individual presentations. An additional discussion group was convened to deliberate improving information to support Archive reporting and OJJDP’s needs, including data on Hispanic youth, detention use, and data analyses to guide gender-specific policies and programs.

During the 2-day workshop, NCJJ presenters highlighted several content updates to OJJDP’s Statistical Briefing Book and revealed the NCJJ’s new Juvenile Justice Geography, Policy, Practice and Statistics website—an online repository that provides state policymakers and system stakeholders with national- and state-level information on jurisdictional boundaries, juvenile defense, racial/ethnic fairness, juvenile justice services, status offense issues, and systems integration.

The National Juvenile Court Data Archive benefits from the voluntary contribution of juvenile court data from jurisdictions representing approximately 85 percent of the nation’s juvenile population. Data provided to the Archive are used to produce the Juvenile Court Statistics reports and the Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics data analysis tool.


Access detailed statistics on a variety of juvenile justice topics via the Statistical Briefing Book.

Read “The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in the Lives of Juvenile Offenders” published in the spring 2014 issue of the OJJDP Journal of Juvenile Justice.