Youth Justice Policy Environments and Their Effects on Youth Confinement Rates, United States, 1996-2016 (ICPSR 37618)

Version Date: Dec 17, 2020 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Douglas Evans, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Research and Evaluation Center; Jeffrey A. Butts, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Research and Evaluation Center; Gina Moreno, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Research and Evaluation Center; Kevin Wolff, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Research and Evaluation Center

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37618.v1

Version V1

This study was conducted to address the dropping rates in residential placements of adjudicated youth after the 1990s. Policymakers, advocates, and reseraches began to attirbute the decline to reform measures and proposed that this was the cause of the drop seen in historic national crime. In response, researchers set out to use state-level data on economic factors, crime rates, political ideology scores, and youth justice policies and practices to test the association between the youth justice policy environment and recent reductions in out-of-home placements for adjudicated youth.

This data collection contains two files, a multivariate and bivariate analyses. In the multivariate file the aim was to assess the impact of the progressive policy characteristics on the dependent variable which is known as youth confinement. In the bivariate analyses file Wave 1-Wave 10 the aim was to assess the states as they are divided into 2 groups across all 16 dichotomized variables that comprised the progressive policy scale: those with more progressive youth justice environments and those with less progressive or punitive environments. Some examples of these dichotomized variables include purpose clause, courtroom shackling, and competency standard.

Evans, Douglas, Butts, Jeffrey A., Moreno, Gina, and Wolff, Kevin. Youth Justice Policy Environments and Their Effects on Youth Confinement Rates, United States, 1996-2016. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-12-17. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37618.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2017-JF-FX-0064)

State

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
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Residential placements of adjudicated youth grew exponentially in the 1980s and 1990s. By 1997, juvenile courts nationwide confined more than 100,000 youth in training schools and other facilities. This period of sharp growth was followed by a nearly 60 percent decline in placements during the next two decades. Decreasing youth confinement was due at least in part to the historic national crime drop that appeared in the mid-1990s. As the crime rate fell and lowered the demand for youth confinement, policymakers saw an opportunity to experiment with youth justice reforms designed to minimize out-of-home placements in the future. These reforms included broader use of diversion, stronger support for non-residential and community-based services, and the adoption of various evidence-based practices for adjudicated youth. When youth placements continued to drop, policymakers, advocates, and even some researchers began to attribute the decline to reform measures. Researchers at the John Jay College Research and Evaluation Center (JohnJayREC) examined these claims. Statistical models tested the association between state-level reforms and reductions in youth confinement using data on youth placement rates and a multivariate scale scoring every state's approach to youth justice on a continuum from punitive to rehabilitative. Growth curve analyses included other state-level covariates, such as total juvenile arrests, per capita income, unemployment rates, and political ideology. The study found little evidence of a relationship between a state's approach to youth justice and recent trends in juvenile placement. Although rehabilitative states used confinement less than punitive states--in every time period--all states experienced falling rates of confinement after the 1990s. A state's youth justice policies did not appear to be related to its rate of decline in youth confinement.

Juvenile justice policy environments in the United States.

State

In the bivariate analyses file Wave 1-Wave 10 the aim was to assess the states as they are divided into 2 groups across all 16 dichotomized variables that comprised the progressive policy scale: those with more progressive youth justice environments and those with less progressive or punitive environments. Some examples of these dichotomized variables include purpose clause, courtroom shackling, and competency standard. On the other hand, the multivariate analyses file has variables that show the impact of the progressive policy characteristics on the dependent variable which is known as youth confinement. Examples of these variables include: state FIPS code, incarceration rate, and JJGPS scale.

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2020-12-17

2020-12-17 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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
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Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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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.