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Transcript of JDEX Presentation
The Juvenile Data Exchange
In light of these realities, and for the first time ever, a joint working group representing, the Governor's Office, the Council of Juvenile Court Judges, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Administrative Office of the Courts began an effort in February 2015 to create a state-wide juvenile justice database.
Juvenile Court Consensus
The Data Dictionary
The working group has now agreed upon a set of minimally-necessary data definitions and has approved a data dictionary as the framework for the project.
This data dictionary contains over 250 discrete data elements, and reconciles the data elements in the State's two most widely-used data systems, JTS (DJJ) and JCATS (CJCJ). It will also allow other case-management systems to map their data to these elements.
Pre-disposition Risk Assessment
Definition of Certain Designated Felony Offenses
Some acts may qualify as Class A or B Designated Felonies solely because of a youth's prior history of adjudicated acts. O.C.G.A. §15-11-2(12) and (13).
Currently this determination cannot reliably be made in any Juvenile Court in the State.
Also for the first time, a consensus was reached among the independent and dependent Juvenile Courts of Georgia to work to overcome the problem of jurisdictional silos and to share data statewide from a variety of case-management systems (and in many instances, from courts which have never used case-management systems of any kind).
Bringing Data to Justice
Georgia's Juvenile Justice System lacks any statewide data- or record-keeping, and the approach to maintaining records and data varies from county to county. In reality, Georgia has multiple county-based juvenile justice systems.
Informed Judicial Decisonmaking
A Uniform Experience of Juvenile Justice
Georgia's Juvenile Justice Patchwork
The Department of Juvenile Justice, though a statewide executive agency, is only empowered to provide probation and other court services for children upon a request from the local Juvenile Court. (O.C.G.A. §49-4A-7)
Counties with larger urban centers were already providing such services when DJJ was created, and most have continued to do so, creating a bifurcated system of juvenile justice.
Independent Courts by County
A youth may effectively erase his juvenile justice history by moving from an independent to a dependent jurisdiction, or vice versa.
After adjudication, the court may request a pre-disposition risk assessment, an important component of which is "[a] summary of such child's prior contacts with the juvenile court and law enforcement agencies, including the disposition following each contact and the reasons therefor". O.C.G.A. §15-11-590(b)(4).
Currently, the PDRA cannot reliably be completed in any Juvenile Court in the State.
County and Population Impacts
Lack of comprehensive data on our court-involved youth creates injustice, impairs judicial decision-making, and makes effective interventions more difficult.
The new Juvenile Proceedings Code requires that a Detention Assessment Instrument be completed each time a youth is detained. The DAI requires accurate information on charges which resulted in the detention in question, other pending charges in any court, prior adjudications, prior probation performance, and any current probationary or custodial status.
Currently, the DAI cannot reliably be completed in any Juvenile Court in the State.
Detention Assessment Instrument
General Dispositional Requirements
Courts are now required at each disposition to consider a number of specific factors, including the youth's "prior record". O.C.G.A §15-11-601(a)
At present this cannot reliably be done in any Juvenile Court in the State.
The JDEX working group is currently addressing security protocols reflecting the confidentiality of juvenile records, as well as methods for removing personally-identifying information from sealed files while retaining bare statistical data.
JDEX therefore highlights a collaborative effort which crosses jurisdictional, political, and other boundaries in an effort to secure the best outcomes for all parties in juvenile proceedings.