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Juvenile justice data collection (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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Data collection about decisions that affect a child’s status within the juvenile justice system could occur more uniformly.

A new law requires a criminal and juvenile justice information policy group to “study the feasibility of collecting and reporting summary data relating to the decisions that affect a child’s status within the juvenile justice system.” A report is due to the Legislature by Feb. 15, 2010.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center), who sponsors the law with Sen. Mee Moua (DFL-St. Paul), said current data is not collected in a uniform way resulting in it not being very useful. The study will look at ways to make collection more uniform so that better decisions can be made on how to use criminal justice resources with juveniles.

The study must consider data to be collected, such as age, race, gender, criminal charge and county of residence; the decision points at which data must be collected; criminal and juvenile justice agencies required to supply data; the repository for data; level of summary analysis; frequency of reporting; plan to implement data collection, reporting and analysis; and costs.

A pilot project to study and report on all state expenditures “that serve the primary function of supporting the health, safety, stability, growth, development and education of children in this state” is called for in the law.

Hilstrom said current financial tracking does not allow the state to differentiate how much money is spent on children and juveniles within different areas. An electronic version of the executive summary is due to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2010.

The pilot project language takes effect July 1, 2009; the study language takes effect Aug. 1, 2009.


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