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NCJ Number: 202552 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Detention Risk Assessment: An Evaluation of the Sedgwick County Instrument
Journal: Corrections Compendium  Volume:28  Issue:9  Dated:September 2003  Pages:1-4,31
Author(s): Brian Withrow
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Measurement/Evaluation Device
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the risk assessment instrument used by the Sedgwick County Department of Corrections (Kansas) in deciding whether to detain or release a suspected juvenile offender pursuant to his/her arrest.
Abstract: The instrument is called the Juvenile Detention Risk Assessment (JDRA). The JDRA is essentially an index that includes four evaluative dimensions: most serious instant offense, legal status, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. An offender's score in each dimension either adds or subtracts points. The summation of these points helps the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center decide on the most appropriate option for each juvenile processed. The evaluation of the instrument used a sampling frame defined as all juveniles arrested from June 1, 1997, through May 31, 1998, who were still county residents as of October 27, 2000. The sample consisted of 1,044 juveniles. The evaluation defined recidivism as an official, documented, and involuntary contact with the criminal justice system within 2 years subsequent to the initial arrest. The central evaluation question was whether the JDRA accurately differentiated between high-risk and low-risk juvenile offenders. The evaluation found that of the 545 (52 percent) juveniles who were not detained, 246 (46 percent) reoffended within 2 years. Conversely, of the 499 (48 percent) individuals who were detained, 342 (68 percent) reoffended within 2 years. The data analysis found a statistically significant difference between the groups (detained/not detained) regarding their frequency of subsequent reoffending. Based on the data available, apparently the JDRA in its current format is at best moderately useful at differentiating between suspected juvenile offenders with respect to their risk of reoffending. In order to improve the ability of the JDRA to identify the risk of reoffending, the evaluation recommends that consideration be given to additional evaluative criteria, including some of the variables identified in contemporary research that apparently predict delinquency. Additional factors that should be considered include age, age of onset of delinquent behavior, gender, exposure to delinquent others, gang affiliation, and more detailed information on the offender's family situation and access to informal social bonds. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 10 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile detention decisionmaking
Index Term(s): Instrument validation; Juvenile detention; Juvenile recidivism prediction; Kansas
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