This proposal describes a partnership between the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University (FSU) and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ). Through this collaboration, three research agendas will be pursued resulting in peer-reviewed publications, policy-relevant research reports, presentations and recommendations for system improvement.
To this end, this partnership involves implementing three research agendas:
Research Project #1: An assessment of the effectiveness of civil citations as an alternative to arrest among youth apprehended by law enforcement.
Project #1 will provide empirical evidence to juvenile justice administration and policymakers with an assessment of the use of civil citation during the initial contact of police with juvenile suspects as an alternative to traditional official arrest practices. This project will examine 44,000 cases involving youth eligible for civil citations in Florida from 2011 to 2013 to determine if there are disparities in its application across jurisdictions and youth demographic characteristics. The study will also examine if civil citations reduce the likelihood of youth involvement in subsequent delinquency. Propensity score matching will be used to match youth who receive citations and those who do not. Logistic regression will be used to analyze variation in youth and offense characteristics as well as their risk level. Survival analysis will be used to examine the probability of recidivism and the time to failure across civil citations and formal processing of cases.
Research Project #2: Family attachment and juvenile justice outcome: an assessment of the effect of visitation on recidivism of juvenile delinquents in residential facilities.
Project #2 will examine the practice of family visitation within a juvenile system. This has been virtually ignored in the research literature but it may have implications for improving the adjustment of youth committed to residential facilities and implications on post-release outcomes. Empirical data on visitation events and information collected through the survey of committed youth in the FDJJ will be captured to determine the impact that stronger bonds, as measured by family member visitation, has on institutional adjustment and post-release recidivism. Descriptive statistics, T-tests of means and regression techniques will be used to examine group differences and derive equivalent groups. These methods will also be used to determine the contribution of various factors on the likelihood that youth are visited. The findings will provide empirical evidence to practitioners and policymakers to base possible policy changes to the current practices related to family visitation.
Research Project #3: An assessment of the impact of individual-, school-, and county-level factors on school-based referrals to the Department of Justice.
Project #3 will provide empirical evidence to practitioners and policymakers with an assessment of the use of school-based referrals to the juvenile justice system. Using data from FDJJ Juvenile Justice Information System, the Florida Department of Education, and county contextual measures, cohorts of youth who received school-based referrals to FDJJ and youths who received referrals outside of schools will be created for the years 2004 2011. T-tests will be used to determine differences between school-based referrals relative to other referrals based on individual, school-level, and county-level factors. Multi-level modeling techniques will be used to determine the effects of personal, school, and county factors on the likelihood of receiving school-based arrests. The analysis will provide practitioners and policymakers with important information as to the consequence of school-based referrals and whether these youth are adversely impacted relative to their future offending and immersion in the juvenile justice system .