A Micro and Macro-Level Assessment of Juvenile Justice Placement Reform in Ohio, 2008-2015 (ICPSR 37496)

Version Date: May 14, 2020 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Christopher J. Sullivan, University of Cincinnati


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Much of the analysis of juvenile justice reform to date has focused on assessing particular programs and their impacts on subgroups of cases at a particular point in time. While this is instructive as to the effects of those initiatives, it is essential to evaluate the impact of policy across multiple levels and with multiple stakeholders in mind. Ohio has implemented a series of initiatives in its juvenile justice system designed to reduce reliance on state custody of youth in favor of local alternatives. In doing so, they have focused on multiple segments of the population of justice involved-youths throughout the state. The main vehicle for these shifts has been the state's Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors (RECLAIM) legislation and a series of initiatives that have followed from its inception. Other steps were followed and programming modifications were made during the study period as well.

This research project focused on these initiatives as a case study of juvenile justice reform initiatives in order to provide insights about the impact of those recent reforms across multiple dimensions that were viewed as relevant to the discussion of juvenile justice reform. The data set analyzed at the individual level included the records of more than 5,000 youths sampled from cases processed from 2008 to 2015. First, presumed reductions in the number of youth committed to state residential correctional facilities in favor of community-based alternatives were analyzed. The relative effectiveness of residential facilities and community-based alternatives in terms of youth recidivism were then assessed with a subsample of 2,855 case records from randomly-selected counties.

A third research objective focused on county-level trends and variation. Specifically, the longitudinal trends in key juvenile justice inputs and official juvenile crime rates across Ohio's 88 counties were formally modeled using data from public reports, data collection with counties, and official juvenile arrest data archived by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Elements of the previous analyses (especially comparative recidivism rates) and cost data collected from existing sources and public reports were used in a preliminary fashion to quantify the potential return on investment that accrued from Ohio's investment in these juvenile justice initiatives.

This deposit contains two datasets: Individual Level Data and County Level Data. The Individual Level Data contains the following demographic data: age at admission, sex, and race (White, Black, Asian, Native American, and other).

Sullivan, Christopher J. A Micro and Macro-Level Assessment of Juvenile Justice Placement Reform in Ohio, 2008-2015. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-05-14. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37496.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2015-JF-FX-0064)


Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reason for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2008 -- 2015
2016-01 -- 2018-08
  1. For additional information on the study, please visit the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency website.


The Center for Criminal Justice Research at the University of Cincinnati conducted a comprehensive study of three initiatives introduced at the state and local levels in Ohio. First, the state attempted (a) deinstitutionalization through enhancements to youth risk and needs assessment, (b) greater reliance on community corrections facilities and improvement of treatment services within those facilities, and (c) expanded use of Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors (RECLAIM) to incentivize county development and use of alternative placement options eight years (2008 to 2015). The study analyzed data both at the individual case and county level records.

Sampling of community sample

The data extraction process required identification of random samples of cases that went through state institutional facilities (state residential facility; n = 2,000), diversion program or community residential facility (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors (RECLAIM); n = 2,000), and community-based supervision (n = 1,000) over the study period. It was necessary to stratify the sampling frame by type of placement, year, and location, then randomly select cases proportionate to the placement usage level.

Ohio's 88 counties were sorted in descending order based on the degree of contribution to the total probation and RECLAIM cases processed. The counties were then separated into three groups based on the degree of contributions using the cutoff roughly set at every cumulative 33 percent. Twenty counties from each usage level were selected and approached with additional data requests to obtain additional information not provided in the Ohio Youth Assessment System (OYAS) databases. The sample size for each court varied from approximately 100 to 200 cases depending on the respective caseload relative to the sampling scheme.

Institutional sample

The state residential facility sample was generated by taking a stratified, random sample of 2,000 cases from the sampling frame. Overall distribution of cases across years of interest was reflected in the sampling process.

County level sample

The county level data set comprises data from all 88 Ohio counties. Data coverage varies as described in other study documents.


Case records for youths involved in Ohio's Juvenile Justice System between 2008 and 2015.

County level juvenile justice and delinquency trend data for 88 Ohio Counties between 2008 and 2015.


The individual level data contains demographic information, juvenile court disposition, risk assessment, current offense and recidivism, and treatment information of individual youths referred to juvenile courts in Ohio from 2008 to 2015.

The county level data contains juvenile arrest rates, sociodemographic indicators, case-processing trends of 88 counties in Ohio 2008 to 2015.

For some cases, summative scores from the Ohio Youth Assessment System (OYAS) are included in the individual case record file. These comprise an overall score and several "domain" scores.

  • Domain score - Juvenile Justice History
  • Domain score - Family and Living Arrangements
  • Domain score - Peers and Social Support Networks
  • Domain score - Education and Employment
  • Domain score - Prosocial Skills
  • Domain score - Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Personality
  • Domain score - Values, Beliefs, and Attitudes



2020-05-14 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.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

One weight is used to adjust for sampling design in youth case record file (NORMW)



  • 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.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.