To build adequate data and performance measure capacity for the California Juvenile Justice system, the tasks and challenges listed below need to be addressed:
- Further analysis of the gaps in existing data and information systems. Check prior studies done such as the state Juvenile Justice Commission (“Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan”)
- Define the data elements that the new system will capture—both as to the individual youth data and as to the system and operational data that are needed. This must include defining the performance outcome measures that will be tracked under the retooled system
- Expand juvenile justice performance measures beyond recidivism to address developmental outcomes for youth—for example, by assessing the educational status of youth under justice system control.
- Design and produce a plan for a new and comprehensive juvenile justice data and performance measure system in California that will provide reliable and regular information on juvenile justice contacts, operations and outcomes at multiple points of processing, including facility and incarceration data and multiple youth outcome measures. Include specific recommendations on design, software, hardware, personnel and related costs to upgrade or replace existing networks.
- Vest plan and design tasks in a central state agency or task force. The most logical lead agency for this work, given its statutory mandate and staff experience, is the Board of State and Community Corrections. Participation in the planning and design process must include the other state agencies now collecting and reporting juvenile justice data.
- Engage outside experts in the planning and design process– such as a university department that could also serve as a data collection and repository for the future management of the new data network.
- Persuade California policymakers to invest in data and performance measure upgrades that are needed to inform future state and local policy and funding decisions.
- Create a dedicated state website or Internet clearinghouse that will provide comprehensive juvenile justice system data on programs and performance to stakeholders, policymakers and members of the public. (e.g.: Georgia Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse)