Examples and Tools for Assessment

During 2021, the Restorative Justice authority initiated their community needs assessment process. Their primary goal was to effectively engage key stakeholders and accurately reflect their interests in the development of the improvement plan. The leaders of initiative recognized that they needed to be strategic about their engagement and provide opportunities for underrepresented groups to be engaged as well as broad representation. The purpose of the assessment was to be responsive to the need for youth justice system improvement and to inform a long-term strategic and action plan for addressing the current and projected justice related needs of Crawford County youth.

The initiative identified key, as well as underrepresented community stakeholders and conducted interviews as well as a system data use capacity assessment. It gathered secondary and archival information to develop key indicators of system performance and outcome.  Stakeholders were identified and interviews conducted to gather stakeholder assess of the youth justice system. The same individuals were asked to complete a data infrastructure and use survey. Nineteen systems indicators were created from information gathered from the Restorative Justice Authority, Judicial District # 11, the police and sheriff departments and the Kansas Department of Corrections and shared with state and other comparison data and multiyear trends when information was available.

The needs assessment, entitled Examining the Capacity of the Juvenile Justice System: Crawford County (JD#11) is comprised of several components. For the purposes of this assessment, multiple components of the youth justice system were examined to better understand how youth become involved, move throughout, and leave the system, with the goal of not recidivating. Data on youth were identified to help examine multiple aspects of the Juvenile Justice System, from arrest through recidivism. The study examines a variety of juvenile justice system data including arrest from law enforcement, intake assessment, pre-trial placement, prosecution and adjudication of cases, programming and service outcomes, and recidivism. The breadth of data that were collected and analyzed for this report—from arrest all the way through to programming and services—allowed for critical insight into the functioning of the juvenile justice system in Crawford County. The data represents a snapshot of the juvenile justice system. The insight has led to further questions to consider, but also allows for several conclusions. The study allows for recommendations of specific practices to ameliorate current disparities to help create a more fair and equitable juvenile justice system. The goal of the assessment was to identify disparities, capacity, and performance in the system for use in prevention of recidivism.

Key Findings: The Juvenile Justice System in Crawford County

This assessment provides a thorough review of available data and stakeholder input. Data on youth were identified to help examine the multiple aspects of the juvenile justice system, from arrest through recidivism.

  • The number of juvenile arrests in Crawford County and JD 11 have remained steady over the last several years.
  • People of color make up a small percentage of the population, yet Black and Hispanic/Latino youth are arrested at highly disproportionate rates in both Crawford County and JD 11 and are represented at a disproportionate rate in nearly every stage of the juvenile justice system at both geographic levels.
  • Youth of color, particularly Black youth, are arrested at higher rates for things like Disorderly Conduct, Intimidation, and Simple Assault.
  • Of youth arrested, Non-White youth were more likely to be placed in detention and to be found delinquent (guilty) than White youth. For Black youth, some of this disparity seems to be explained by the greater number of Black youth brought into the system via arrest and court referral. The reasons for the disparity in Hispanic/Latino youth being placed in detention and found guilty are less clear.
  • At intake most youth are Children in Need of Care. Juvenile Offenders have decreased.
  • Diversion rates by population increased over time and were highest for non-Hispanic White youth. Hispanic/Latino youth had the lowest rates of diversion of any racial/ethnic group.
  • High risk youth scored poorly in peer relations and leisure/recreation categories of the YLS. This mirrors information gathered during key stakeholder interviews that indicated relatively few pro-social activities for youth to engage in outside of sports.
  • Most youth were assessed as moderate risk by the YLS.
  • About half of the youth who entered the system from 2015-2020 recidivated.
  • Results of surveys of local juvenile justice system agency employees indicated that the capacity of Crawford County juvenile justice system infrastructure (physical and organizational structures needed for operation), data use and dissemination (distribution of data to end users and data application), and collection of indicators (actual data on youth collected) could be improved.

Specific recommendations for improvement were included in the report.


Tools and Resources


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