Using Performance Monitoring to Improve the Accountability, Operations, and Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice

Daniel P. Mears and Jeffrey A. Butts (2008). Using Performance Monitoring to Improve the Accountability, Operations, and Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 19(3): 264-284.

The juvenile justice system has been transformed in recent years with a range of policies designed to hold youth accountable, but how does society hold this system accountable? Calls for governmental accountability are common, yet few jurisdictions can provide comprehensive information about the basic operations of juvenile justice and the effectiveness of system reforms. Most elements of the juvenile justice system operate on faith—managers and policy makers have to assume that their programs are based on sound evidence and that reform efforts are fully implemented with fidelity to their designs. Performance monitoring provides a way to address this situation, but it is unlikely to occur without a substantial commitment of resources. This article describes performance measurement and monitoring; their relevance for improving the accountability, operations, and effectiveness of juvenile justice; and three examples of how the techniques are currently being applied in the United States.

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