Poster Paper: Investigating Equity in Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative Performance: An Application of Data Envelopment Analysis

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Misti R. Jeffers and Jon A. Chilingerian, Brandeis University

As evidenced by the implementation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in 2007, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) has long recognized the need for utilizing data-driven partnerships in its approach to juvenile justice reform. Since implementation, the state has shifted practices towards a positive youth development philosophy and seen marked declines in the unnecessary and harmful use of secure detention for juveniles with pending court cases. JDAI partners contribute much of this success to the initiative’s core strategies of sustained collaboration and use of disaggregated data to inform system improvement. Moving forward, JDAI Massachusetts continues to focus efforts on reducing variability in justice systems by location and increasing racial and ethnic equity (JDAI Massachusetts, 2017). Using a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) approach, this paper draws upon the strengths of JDAI Massachusetts’ publically disseminated data dashboards to estimate and evaluate program performance in regards to equity in justice delivery by location. The DEA approach allows for an examination and comparison of program efficiency between judicial districts across two points in time by comparing each district to the “frontier” (Thanassoulis, 2001). This paper aims to be informative for data collection efforts, analyses, and stakeholder collaboration as states work towards achieving equity in juvenile justice reform.