Even perceived discrimination on the part of minority youth can have a profound impact on the trajectories of their lives. After decades of little progress, an intensification of effort is called for.
Recommendation 3: Federal research agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health, as well as OJJDP, should support research that continues to advance the science of adolescent development and expands our understanding of the ways in which developmental processes influence juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice responses.
Throughout the report, the committee has noted that poor, nonexistent, or inaccessible data impede efforts to improve the nation’s response to juvenile crime and the treatment of youth in the juvenile justice system. State, local, and tribal governments are dependent on a variety of data sources from the federal government and from various agencies in their own jurisdictions, including law enforcement and juvenile justice agencies and courts, as well as education, social services, and health and mental health agencies. They often lack the clout to influence the providers of relevant juvenile justice and other systems’ data. This challenge must be pursued at the federal level, and OJJDP is the logical agency to lead the effort and provide the training and technical assistance and support for a substantial, coordinated effort to improve the capacities of juvenile justice agencies and service providers to collect, manage, and analyze data on service provision and outcomes.
Recommendation 4: Under OJJDP’s leadership, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other governmental and private statistical organizations should develop a data improvement program on juvenile crime and juvenile justice system processing that provides greater insight into state, local, and tribal variations. OJJDP should also be involved in any effort undertaken by other U.S. Department of Justice agencies with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to improve the federal collection of juvenile arrest and incident data. At the state, local, and tribal levels, data should be collected on the gender, age, race/ethnicity of offenders as well as the offense charged or committed; arrest, detention, and disposition practices; and recidivism. OJJDP should provide training and technical assistance on data collection, automated data systems, and methods of preserving the confidentiality of juvenile records.