National Projects

Models for Change Initiative

The Center continues to serve as the Technical Research Center to the MacArthur Foundation's juvenile justice reform efforts in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and Washington. The goals of Models for Change include: 1) develop useful and responsive models of documentation and assessment of efforts; 2) document and assess the planning and implementation phases of targeted areas of improvement; 3) provide baselines and measure intermediate outcomes of efforts at the state and pilot levels and on five key "vital sign" outcomes and assessing the impact; and 4) develop a toolkit for planning, implementing, and measuring model systems efforts.

Currently, the Center is developing a national Juvenile Justice Geography, Practice and Statistics (JJGPS) web-portal to provide state policy makers and system stakeholders with information describing the landscape of reform in the states to use both as a platform for inspiring change and finding solutions that have been applied in other places. In a 50-state landscape that is highly decentralized and ever-shifting, the juvenile justice JJGPS will become an invaluable resource for system reform and legacy of the 10-years plus of the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change investment in systems reform.

Visit the Models for Change project page to learn more.

National Juvenile Court Data Archive

The Archive annually collects more than one million automated case records from roughly 2,300 juvenile courts representing 84% of the juvenile population. Currently the Archive houses over 40 million records dating back to the 1970s. These records are the basis for the annual Juvenile Court Statistics reports (a reporting series dating back to 1927) that present a national description of the workloads and activities of the Nation's juvenile courts. .

In addition to the annual Juvenile Court Statistics series of reports, products stemming from the Archive include OJJDP Bulletins, and Fact Sheets, the juvenile court information on OJJDP's Statistical Briefing Book web site, and the interactive web-based analysis package Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics that enables users to conduct their own national analyses of the automated records of delinquency cases.

Visit the National Juvenile Court Data Archive project page to learn more.

National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Project

This project serves as OJJDP's statistical analysis center for responding to the research needs of OJJDP and the juvenile justice community. The project has completed dozens of reports and web-based products on a wide range of topics. These reports are based on analyses of the major juvenile justice national data sets (e.g., the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, the Juvenile Residential Facility Census, the National Incident-Based Reporting System, the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, and the National Crime Victimization Survey). The most notable publications are the Juvenile Offenders and Victims series of reports, bulletins, and fact sheets that have become a standard in the field. The web-based products are available through the OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book, a site developed and maintained by the project, that presents the most current statistics on juvenile offenders and the juvenile justice system. The project has also prepared a series of web-based, interactive data analysis and presentation tools that enable users to perform custom analyses of data covering a range of juvenile justice topics. Visit the Data Analysis Tools section of the Statistical Briefing Book to find out what is available. The project, like its predecessor project the Juvenile Justice Statistics and Systems Development Program, also works with national and local data collectors to improve the quality of their data. 

Visit the National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Project project page to learn more.

National Juvenile Probation Census Project

The National Juvenile Probation Census Project (NJPCP) is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to develop a reliable count of the number and characteristics of youth under juvenile probation supervision in the United States and an understanding of the juvenile probation offices that supervise them. The project includes two distinct data collections: the Census of Juvenile Probation Supervision Offices (CJPSO) and the Census of Juveniles on Probation (CJP). NCJJ is partnering with Westat on this project, bringing complementary strengths to the work. Westat, the prime contractor, is a nationally recognized leader in survey methodology, sampling, and large-scale data collection and has expertise in designing nationally representative samples. Westat's partner, NCJJ, brings an unmatched national juvenile justice reputation, substantial expertise in administrative records extraction and analysis, and extensive research experience in juvenile justice issues. The project team employs multiple resources to update the current NJPCP roster, using an approach based on each state's organization of juvenile probation supervision. After revising the current data collection instruments incorporating stakeholder input to enhance coverage and clarity while minimizing respondent burden, NCJJ fields the surveys, collects the data, and develops analytic data files that support reliable state and national estimates. The project team also present findings at national probation and juvenile justice conferences.

Pew Charitable Trust's Multi-State Recidivism Study

In partnership with the Pew Charitable Trust’s Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP), NCJJ and the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) will lead a comprehensive study of juvenile recidivism and construct measures to provide meaningful indicators of system performance in five states that are strongly positioned to serve as models for the field. Although reducing recidivism is a key indicator of success for juvenile corrections agencies, a recent survey found that 1 in 4 does not regularly collect and report recidivism data, and fewer than half use measures that provide a comprehensive picture of youth reoffending.

The study seeks to:

  • Empower practitioners and policymakers to accurately measure system performance and create benchmarks over time within their states;
  • Ensure that states are armed with research-informed measures that capture the full picture of subsequent offending and facilitate defensible comparisons of offender groups (e.g., measures that differentiate rates by offenders' risk levels, control for time-at-risk, etc.); and
  • Provide a baseline for state-to-state assessments where careful and equivalent comparisons can be made.

PSPP works with states to advance data-driven, fiscally sound policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs. In addition to providing intensive technical assistance to states, PSPP conducts and supports national research; policy evaluations; public opinion surveys; and national, regional, multi-state, and state-level policy forums.

Survey of Juveniles Charged as Adults in Criminal Court

The 2009 Survey of Juveniles Charged as Adults in Criminal Courts (SJCACC) will collect information about the case processing of defendants younger than age 18 in criminal courts. This information is critical to understanding how many youth are charged in criminal court, the characteristics of these youth, the pathways that lead them to criminal court, and the final disposition of their cases. Westat and NCJJ bring complementary strengths and expertise to the 2009 Survey of Juveniles Charged in Adult Criminal Courts. Westat, the prime contractor, is a nationally recognized leader in survey methodology, sampling, and large-scale data collection and has expertise in designing nationally representative samples for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) surveys. Westat's partner, NCJJ, is a national expert on the transfer of juvenile offenders to criminal courts and brings expertise in administrative records extraction and analysis, and extensive research experience in juvenile justice issues to the design and implementation of this survey. In addition, the related work NCJJ has already undertaken for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, including extensive research into state laws and jurisdiction-specific reports on criminal processing of youth, has served as essential groundwork for this study.