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System assessment

This report reviews the lessons learned by three forward-leaning teams in their review of a negative criminal justice outcome ("sentinel event") in their jurisdictions. The project represents the next step in NIJ's exploration of the feasibility of using sentinel event reviews as a way to learn from errors in the criminal justice system. See also 029617.

This report reviews a number of prominent frameworks that are available to help youth justice systems rely on positive outcomes rather than recidivism to measure their effectiveness. These include the Developmental Assets model, the 5Cs model, the Youth Program Quality Assessment model, the Positive Youth Justice model, and the Youth Thrive framework. Each model or framework aligns with the key principles of positive youth development as well as the large body of research on desistance from crime, which is also presented in this report (p. 1).

The Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) is a validated, data driven rating scheme for determining how well an existing program or service matches the research evidence for the effectiveness of that particular type of intervention for reducing the recidivism of juvenile offenders. The SPEP scheme is based on a meta-analysis of over 500 studies conducted by Dr. Mark Lipsey and his colleagues over the last 30 years. These analyses have investigated the general program characteristics that are most strongly associated with reductions in the reoffense rates of the juveniles served.” Points of entry on this website are: SPEP  in the News; SPEP Information; Vanderbilt SPEP Work; Publications and Presentations; Resources for Participants in SPEP Projects; Contact Information.

Crime, victimization, and justice system responses greatly affect the life prospects of the most vulnerable Great Lakes youth, restricting their access to ladders of opportunity. This brief describes how crime and justice involvement impact youth development and opportunity generally, and explores the specific crime and justice intervention context in the Great Lakes states. It presents an array of promising and proven policies and practices that have the potential to deliver more safety while reducing juvenile justice and criminal justice involvement and their negative impact on youth.

This brief discusses how the implementation and sustainability of Second Chance Act programs for juveniles were affected by the changing policy contexts in Houston, Texas, and Sacramento, California.

Most juvenile justice practitioners are aware of the value of research and evidence-based practices, but few resources exist to help them apply research-informed practices in ways that respect the identities and developmental needs of youth. These and other findings are highlighted in this brief, which documents themes from interviews with key juvenile justice stakeholders. Interview findings reveal the most pressing research and practice gaps in the field, the barriers practitioners face in accessing and implementing research, and the audiences that could benefit most from research translation tools and products.


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