Wednesday, December 28, 2011
10-Year Study Highlights Great Strides in Juvenile Justice Reform in Bernalillo County
In a 10-year study called “Smaller, Smarter and More Strategic: Juvenile Justice Reform in Bernalillo County,” the Annie E. Casey Foundation praises the Bernalillo County Youth Services Center for its work to drastically reduce the number of youth housed in juvenile detention over the past decade, saving taxpayers millions of dollars, while not compromising public safety.
“We’ve chosen to use community-based alternative programs instead of just locking kids up; and, as this study shows, the results have been very positive,” says Deputy County Manager for Public Safety Tom Swisstack.
Bernalillo County started this effort in 1999, collaborating with a team of agencies to explore other options to detention. Working together, the Bernalillo County Youth Services Center, the Children’s Court Division of the Second Judicial District Court, the Children, Youth and Families /Juvenile Probation Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender Office decided to implement the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, which is supported nationally by the Annie E. Casey Foundation—the foundation for the United Parcel Service, (UPS).
Joining the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative resulted in the creation of several programs that support the philosophy of only keeping those youth in custody who posed a threat to public safety.
The alternative to detention programs that were implemented include the Children’s Community Health Clinic, the Youth Reporting Center (day reporting center for boys), the Girl’s Reporting Center and the Community Custody Program.
Bernalillo County Youth Services Center staff compiled the study data. Some of the highlights of the study include:
· Average daily population in detention decreased 45 percent from fiscal year 2000 to fiscal year 2010
· 30.4 percent decrease in misdemeanor offenses being referred to juvenile probation
· Bench warrants decreased 48 percent from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2010
· From fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 2010, steering youth to alternative programs instead of detention saved Bernalillo County taxpayers almost $5 million
· Two housing units were closed--one in 2000 and another in 2002--due to fewer youth in detention
As a result of the county’s success implementing the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, the Annie E. Casey Foundation named the Bernalillo County Youth Services Center as a national model site in 2005, joining Santa Cruz, Calif., Chicago, Ill. and Portland, Ore. Delegations from other states that are considering implementing the Juvenile Detention alternative Initiative now visit Bernalillo County’s Youth Services Center to learn more about initiative.
“It’s quite an honor to have colleagues from other states visiting our facility to learn from our accomplishments,” said Youth Services Center Assistant Director Linda Matteucci. Deputy County Manager for Public Safety Tom Swisstack commends the partnerships developed and the Youth Services Center staff for looking at new ways for working with our youth.
Below you will find an executive summary of the study. To read the entire report, please click on the following link:
Referrals to Juvenile Probation decreased 36.6 percent from FY 99 through FY 10.
Felony offenses referred to Juvenile Probation decreased 11.8 percent from FY 99 through FY 10.
Misdemeanor offenses referred to Juvenile Probation decreased 30.4 percent.
Property crimes are the most frequently referred offenses.
Since FY 04, there has been a decrease in all offense categories.
Since FY 08, the number of referrals sent to the Children’s Court Attorney (CCA) has decreased to approximately 47 percent.
The decrease in CCA referrals is attributed to a decrease in referrals and the increased use of diversion programs.
Probation is the most common disposition for a juvenile who is found to have committed a delinquent act.
The number of youth taken into custody and booked at the Bernalillo County Youth Services Center (BCYSC) has decreased 36 percent from FY 00 through FY 10.
In FY 09 and FY 10, more youth were released than held following booking/intake than in previous years.
The average daily population decreased 45 percent from FY 00 through FY10.
The average length of stay at the YSC has shown minor fluctuations.
The number of youth placed in the Community Custody Program decreased 30 percent from FY 06 through
The number of youth successfully completing Community Custody Program and Youth Reporting Center continues to increase.
When compared with FY 99, the year before reform began, with FY 10, there is a 45 percent decrease in the number of petitions filed.
The number of reopened petitions (probation violations) decreased 30 percent from FY 00 through FY 10.
Courts modified the juvenile probation agreement to an “advise and assist” court order and is available to the youth in Spanish and English.
The number of new/original Youthful Offender petitions decreased 44 percent from FY 00 through FY 10.
The number of bench warrants decreased 48 percent from FY 06 through FY 10.
From FY 04 through FY 10, ATD programs helped taxpayers avoid spending $4,742,529.00. In FY 10, the amount was $946,089.00.
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