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Youth and Juvenile Justice Reports

Back to the Future: 30 Years of Minnesota Juvenile Justice Data (Volume 1)

The title of this report, Back to the Future, is an homage to the 1980s cinema blockbuster of the same name, in which a teenaged Michael J. Fox accidentally travels back in time 30 years to 1955. While there, he inadvertently alters the course of his own future which he must be set right before returning to 1985. While his character is clear as to what must be done to set his future right, less clear are which, if any, juvenile justice policies and practices implemented in the 1980s and 1990s positively affected delinquent youth thirty years later.

Volume 1 of this report series is dedicated to the presentation of Minnesota’s juvenile justice data. Included are juvenile arrests; court volume; admissions to residential placements; and juvenile probation populations between 1980 and 2010. A second volume will be published exploring changes to juvenile justice policies and practices in Minnesota during the same timeframe.

An Executive Summary of this report is also available.

Minnesota Youth Development Clock

The Minnesota Youth Development Clock is a model which depicts youth development on a 24 hour clock as children progress from infancy into early adulthood. Each hour on the clock corresponds to one year of growth and maturation. While traditional definitions of youth end at legal adulthood (typically 18 years of age), this model extends the scope of youth to age 24 consistent with emerging research on human brain development.

The clock model is designed to integrate youth developmental theory with youth policy. This publication provides an overview of key developmental theories and milestones related to youth as well as an exploration of Minnesota laws and rules with specific age provisions. These laws span education, child protection, juvenile justice, employment and civic participation. This model allows for examination of policies across different youth serving systems to assess whether they are congruent with one another, as well as if they are appropriate given what is known about youth development.     

 The clock model was developed by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs in collaboration with public and private partners involved in funding or facilitating youth programming in Minnesota.   

Disproportionate Minority Contact in Minnesota

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs entitled On the Level: Disproportionate Minority Contact in Minnesota’s Juvenile Justice System compares rates of involvement of youth of color to those of white youth at key stages of Minnesota’s juvenile justice system.

 The data reveal that youth of color are disparately represented at all stages of justice-system processing in Minnesota — and that the level of disparity in Minnesota is more severe than both the national average and comparable states.

 The report is intended for juvenile justice system practitioners and policy makers, as well as community members who wish to learn more about Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) and how racial disparity rates are calculated and interpreted. The report includes data on numbers of youth involved in Minnesota’s juvenile justice system; rates of system contact, by race, at each of the major decision points; and Minnesota DMC trends over the past five years.  

 Causes of racial disparity in the juvenile justice system are complex. The report highlights contributing factors and key strategies, including diversion programs, alternatives to secure detention, culturally appropriate services and staffing, community involvement, legislation and justice-agency policies, and structured decision-making criteria to reduce bias by system practitioners.

  An executive summary is also available.  

Youth Intervention Programs Final Evaluation

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs is pleased to release the results of a three-year long project evaluating state-funded Youth Intervention Programs (YIP). Between January 2010 and July 2012, youth programs receiving YIP funds administered over 4,600 pre-surveys and 2,100 post-surveys to program participants. The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of program participation on youth attitudes and behaviors.

The report entitled The Minnesota Youth Intervention Program: A Statistical Analysis of Participant Pre- and Post-Program Surveys assesses the responses of youth from 40 different programs to a comprehensive survey.  Findings support that YIP funded programs are serving a unique youth population and that program involvement results in self-reported improvements in school behavior and achievement; improved decision-making and problem-solving; and increased anger management skills and pro-social attitudes.

The report also includes an analysis of youth outcomes based on their length of time in the program, as well as the outcomes of select individual YIP funded programs. Survey questions where YIP funded programs did not appear to affect youth are also included in the report.  

Juvenile Diversions in Minnesota

The 2012 report Minnesota Juvenile Diversion: A Summary of Statewide Practices and Programming report  is the culmination of a year’s effort to gather information about county attorney level juvenile diversion programs required under Minnesota Statute § 388.24. This report contains summary tables of information gathered during interviews with at least one diversion provider in all 87 counties, including information on diversion program eligibility, completion requirements, numbers served, educational components, legal protections and other aspects of service delivery. This report is modeled after the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative: Juvenile Diversion Guidebook which outlines 16 steps for planning diversion programs. The degree to which Minnesota utilizes best practices in diversion programming is explored and recommendations are made to improve the quality and consistency of diversion across jurisdictions.

Please click here for an executive summary of the Minnesota Diversion report.

Youth in Minnesota Correctional facilities 

Every three years, Minnesota students in 6, 9, and 12th grade complete the Minnesota Student Survey, which asks a wide variety of questions related to youth attitudes, behaviors and health indicators. Questions also assess a wide range of risk and protection factors such as connectedness to school, family and community, alcohol and drug use, violence and victimization. The Office of Justice Programs ensures that youth in Minnesota juvenile correctional facilities have the opportunity to take this survey and share their experiences.  

The Student Survey was most recently completed in 2010. The Office of Justice Programs  has completed three separate reports on youth in Minnesota's correctional facilities. The first of these reports, based on the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey administration, compares youth in correctional facilities to a matched sample of mainstream youth.

The second report examines the experiences of girls and boys in Minnesota's juvenile correctional facilities. The final report explores the prevalence of trauma reported by youth in both correctional facilities and mainstream schools.

The Office of Justice Programs also published the 2009 Youth in Correctional Facilities, which examines the Minnesota Survey responses of over 500 youth in Minnesota's correctional facilities to a matched sample of youth in mainstream schools.   

Juvenile Justice System Decision Points Study

In 2009, H.F. 702, Chapter 132, Section 2 required the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Information Policy Group to complete a study on the feasibility of collecting and reporting summary data relating to the decisions that affect a child's status within the juvenile justice system. This report offers suggestions on how to improve Minnesota's juvenile justice data.  

Federal JJDPA vs. Minnesota Statutes

This report, published in 2010, examines where Minnesota state law and practice is in concert with, or in conflict with, the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. The report describes what would need to occur for Minnesota to be in full alignment with the JJDPA but does not examine the impact these changes may have on the juvenile justice system practitioners or resources.