National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Validation of a Risk Assessment Instrument for Juvenile Probationers in Alameda County, California, 1996 (ICPSR 3254) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study sought to develop a risk assessment instrument to be used in the placement of adjudicated juveniles and determination of outcomes for juvenile probationers. The following research questions served as a guide in developing the risk assessment instrument: (1) Does the instrument measure what it purports to measure? (2) Do similar cases receive similar recommendations for placement services? (3) Is the instrument fair to dissimilar groups? (4) Is the instrument useful to practitioners? and (5) Will the instrument be simple to implement? The goal of the new risk assessment instrument was to address the relative risk of recidivism without taking into account the severity of the current offense. In order to develop a new risk assessment instrument, researchers adapted a pre-existing instrument that had been used and validated with juvenile probationers in California. The new instrument was used to evaluate youths for three measures of recidivism: intake actions, petitions filed, and petitions sustained through one year after the placement decisions were made. The sample of youths was comprised of those who in 1996 had received either a field supervision or a placement order as a disposition. The instrument measured age at first finding, prior criminal behavior, institutional commitments or placement of 30 consecutive days or more, drug/chemical use, alcohol use, parental skills, school disciplinary problems, and peer relationships.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

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Documentation:
Data:

Study Description

Citation

National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Validation of a Risk Assessment Instrument for Juvenile Probationers in Alameda County, California, 1996 . ICPSR03254-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03254.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (98-JB-VX-0109)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   criminal histories, juvenile offenders, juveniles, postrelease programs, probation services, probationers, recidivism, risk assessment

Geographic Coverage:   California, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1996

Date of Collection:  

  • 1998

Unit of Observation:   Individuals (juvenile offenders).

Universe:   Juvenile offenders in Alameda County, California, who in 1996 had received either field supervision or a placement order as a disposition.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study was undertaken as part of a larger project whereby the Alameda County Probation Department in California sought to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its Juvenile Services Division by implementing a system-wide classification and placement system to address the public concern for safety and effectiveness in dealing with juvenile crimes. The purpose of this study was to develop a risk assessment instrument to be used in the placement of adjudicated juveniles and determination of outcomes for juvenile probationers. The following research questions served as a guide in developing the risk assessment instrument: (1) Does the instrument measure what it purports to measure? (2) Do similar cases receive similar recommendations for placement services? (3) Is the instrument fair to dissimilar groups? (4) Is the instrument useful to practitioners? and (5) Will the instrument be simple to implement?

Study Design:   In order to develop a new risk assessment instrument, researchers adapted a pre-existing instrument that had been used and validated on juvenile probationers in California. The goal of the new risk assessment instrument was to address the relative risk of recidivism without taking into account the severity of the current offense. Nine probation officers consisting of deputies and supervisors were trained using the draft of the new instrument. The instrument was used to evaluate youths for three measures of recidivism: intake actions, petitions filed, and petitions sustained through one year after the placements decisions were made. The sample of youths was comprised of those who in 1996 had received either a field supervision or a placement order as a disposition. Field supervision refers to a sanction in which the youth was maintained and supervised in the community with the aid of weekend programming. Placement refers to any sanction in which the youth was placed out of home (e.g., a group home, camp, or residential treatment).

Sample:   Random sampling.

Data Source:

administrative records

Description of Variables:   The instrument measured age at first finding, prior criminal behavior, institutional commitments or placement of 30 consecutive days or more, drug/chemical use, alcohol use, parental skills, school disciplinary problems, and peer relationships.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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