Behavioral Health Committee

CJCA has convened a Behavioral Health Committee that includes Mental Health directors and persons directly overseeing mental health programming within jurisdictions to discuss current issues and Best Practices in delivering mental health services to youths.  The committee currently meets once a month via conference calls and GoTo meetings.  

 The committee is chaired by Steven Lafreniere, Director, Alabama Department of Youth Services. 


Best Practices Committee

The CJCA Best Practices Committee continually seeks out information about programs and research that would be of significant interest to directors. The CJCA Best Practices Committee presentations are hosted by the CJCA Regions and CJCA Associate members on a rotating basis and are part of the CJCA Winter, Summer and the All Directors Leadership Conferences.

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Positive Youth Outcomes (PYO) Committee

Most legislatures, governors, media and stakeholders focus exclusively on recidivism as a measure of correctional outcomes and effectiveness. This focus on recidivism as the primary indicator of the success or failure of juvenile programs has discouraged juvenile correctional agencies from collecting and utilizing positive youth outcomes data to identify programs and services that effectively rehabilitate delinquent youths. Relying exclusively on recidivism to evaluate the effectiveness of correctional programs and services overlooks an entire spectrum of potentially protective factors.


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Research and Data Anaylsis Committee

Recidivism Publications

Recidivism White Paper




Recidivism is one of the most frequently requested measurements of effectiveness and accountability for juvenile justice agencies, facilities and programs. Legislators and budget officers request recidivism data to guide policy and spending decisions to ensure funding programs that prevent crime. Agency and program directors rely on recidivism measures to determine whether their agencies, programs and facilities are meeting the goals of public safety and offender rehabilitation. Juvenile justice agencies are judged successful or not based on recidivism rates that indicate the extent to which youths commit crimes after receiving juvenile justice services. Despite the many uses and demands for recidivism rates, there is no universal, standard or agreed upon recidivism measure for juvenile corrections, a fact that often leads to inappropriate comparisons of rates across agencies. Recognition of the need for common definitions and measure of recidivism arose from attempts by CJCA to facilitate discussions about the different recidivism rates reported by different juvenile correctional agencies. It quickly became obvious that directors of these state agencies were not speaking the same language they were using different decision points in the justice system to define recidivism and they were using different criteria to select cases for measurement.

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