Juvenile Services Comprehensive Community Planning
Various places in Nebraska’s state statutes (The Nebraska County Juvenile Service Plan Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-3504) require communities to develop a juvenile services comprehensive community plan and submit the plan to the Nebraska Crime Commission. The Juvenile Justice Institute assists local juvenile justice advisory teams in completing their local Juvenile Services Comprehensive Plan (Plan). The 3-Year Community Planning process ensures that a community’s Plan leverages resources available against its most pressing juvenile service needs.
Assistance provided by JJI includes online videos, documents, and in-person trainings.
The Juvenile Diversion Case Management System
The Juvenile Justice Institute is working collaboratively with the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice and the UNO College of Information and Science Technology and School of Interdisciplinary Informatics on the Juvenile Diversion Case Management System (JD:CMS). This secure system allows County Attorneys and Diversion Personnel to securely share juvenile diversion information among counties in the state of Nebraska. The goal of this project is to improve the ability of diversion personnel to easily collect and manage client case information, enabling them to focus on fulfilling the critical aspects of their jobs working with clients enrolled in their Juvenile Diversion Program.
The JD:CMS allows diversion personnel to enroll clients, write a contract to meet diversion objectives, monitor activity and goal completion and thereby encourage better outcomes for juveniles enrolled in a diversion program. In addition to allowing diversion personnel to generate Case Diversion Plans, form letters, agency / county level reports and state level reports, case workers will be able to keep track of existing clients progress, which will allow for better management of the workflow as it relates to the diversion programs that are already active in many counties throughout the state of Nebraska.
Evaluating Truancy Intervention Programs
In the past few years, truancy has become an increasingly relevant issue in juvenile justice. A recent report by the Nebraska Department of Education indicates that nearly 22,000 students, or approximately 8% of all K-12 students in Nebraska, were absent more than 20 school days during the 2009-2010 school year. Nebraska law requires school districts to report to the county attorney when a child is absent more than 20 days during a school year. In response to truancy issues, Lancaster County established a truancy intervention modeled after the Louisville Kentucky Truancy Court and invited the Juvenile Justice Institute to evaluate the program. The short term goal of the evaluation is to determine how well the truancy program identifies underlying reasons for truancy. It is equally important to know whether the program effectively intervenes and interrupts the pattern of truancy. The longitudinal goal of the project includes tracking youth through high school to examine truancy and juvenile justice contacts through the high school years.
Assessing Disproportionate Minority Contact in Nebraska
The Institute is completing a mixed methodology study that examines causes of Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in the Nebraska juvenile justice system. The quantitative aspects of this study include data collection and analysis from critical points in the juvenile justice system including: arrest, petition filing, detention and release. The qualitative portion of the DMC study includes interviews with key juvenile justice professionals including: law enforcement, diversion, probation, the courts and detention personnel.
Exploring Cultural Experiences in Juvenile Court
The Institute is studying the cultural experiences of Sudanese refugees and how cultural issues arise in the justice system. This research involves interviews with Sudanese parents and their children concerning their experiences in the Nebraska Juvenile Justice System. The main focus of this research is on cultural differences that might arise when a child commits a law violation, but the different patterns of parenting that may account for cultural misunderstandings is also being analyzed. The broader goal of this study is to inquire about cultural misunderstandings and conflicts that might arise for immigrants in a new culture, to see if these can be reduced or eliminated. Specifically, the experience Sudanese parents have with the Nebraska Juvenile Justice system and whether cultural misunderstandings may be further complicating the juvenile justice experience of immigrants will be reviewed.