An effective juvenile justice system invests resources in proven, cost-effective strategies which reduce reoffending and re-incarceration and produce positive outcomes for youth and communities. Corrections research consistently demonstrates that evidence-based, data-driven, community-based responses to youth crime reduce recidivism and are more cost-effective than other strategies – including, but not limited to incarceration-based strategies – which are costly, intrusive and often ineffective.
In an effective system, decision-makers understand and have access to current information about effective juvenile justice policy and practice.
- State and local stakeholders must have access to and must take proactive steps to gather information and emerging research on “what works” in juvenile justice policy, practice and programming and the costs and benefits of various approaches.
In times of fiscal crisis, states and communities cannot afford to spend scarce funds on approaches without proven track records in long term public safety, reduced recidivism, positive behavior changes and positive outcomes for youth, families and communities.
- State and local stakeholders must intentionally rely upon research and information on “what works” when making juvenile justice policy, practice and programming decisions.
An effective juvenile justice system provides information on the outcomes and cost efficacy of policy and practice to stakeholders, community members, practitioners and advocates and .
- State and local stakeholders must measure, analyze and communicate the costs and benefits – including positive youth outcomes, youth recidivism and returns to juvenile or adult institutions – of potential and existing policies and practices.
- State and local stakeholders must adjust policy, practice and programming to ensure investment of resources in cost effective approaches to achieving positive outcomes for youth and families.