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Recidivism: 12 Months: Rate for Department of Juvenile Services Committed Program Releases

18.8%FY 2015

Story Behind the Curve

Measuring recidivism is the primary indicator of success for criminal and juvenile justice systems.  While other measures of youth development are important, the primary mission of juvenile justice is to reduce delinquency, which is best captured by measuring recidivism.  When comparing FY2010 and FY2015 at 12-months, the reconviction rate has decreased by 4.2 percentage points. 

 It is important to note that the DJS-committed population has been declining, and so the number of youth released home from commitments has also declined. So the rate of recidivism is of a continually decreasing cohort.  The reduction in committed cases is due to decrease in referrals to DJS intake, and an increase in evidence-based in-home diversion programs that have served many youth otherwise at risk for an out-of-home commitment. 

What Works

Studies have shown that recidivism rates can be positively impacted through the use of interventions that are developmentally appropriate for the age of the youth – what works with adults is not necessarily applicable to youth. The level of treatment, supervision, and security must also be appropriate for the assessed risk level of the youth. Using a valid juvenile risk-assessment tool allows this. Too much intervention for a low-risk youth, or too little for a high-risk youth will negatively impact recidivism. 

Specific agency initiatives that are intended to increase the change of youth success, and reduce risk of recidivism include;

  • The Accountability and Incentives Management Initiative (AIM), which provides DJS case managers with a system of graduated sanctions and incentive responses to encourage youth being supervised in the community to comply with the terms of their respective court orders. With a focus on addressing typical adolescent behaviors in the community, rather than through the courts, the AIM initiative can prevent further system involvement.
  • DJS’ Strategic Re-Entry Plan was developed and implemented in FY 2016 with the goal of ensuring that youth being released from committed placement successfully transition to life back in their home communities. Among the objectives are transition planning components for family engagement, re-enrollment in school, and connecting to work opportunities. The plan also put into place measures of accountability to structure the discharge planning process, and capture data on the success of connecting returning youth with education, employment, somatic and behavioral health services.


Local Highlight

The rates of decrease in juvenile recidivism vary across regions in Maryland. Declines were greatest in the Western Region (which includes the counties of Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington), which collectively saw the recidivism rate decline from 23.2% to 14.0% between FY2013 and FY2015.

Data Discussion

Juvenile and adult re-adjudicated/convicted recidivism rates for youth released from the Department of Juvenile Services committed programs after 12 months.

Scorecard Result Program Indicator Performance Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy