There shall be a Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Commission convened by the Child Advocate for Massachusetts. The Commission shall evaluate policies related to the juvenile justice system, oversee the collection and dissemination of aggregate data regarding the system, and study the implementation of any major statutory changes to the juvenile justice system, including but not limited to the expansion of juvenile jurisdiction to include persons eighteen, nineteen and twenty years of age.
The Commission shall consist of the following members or their designees: Two members of the General Court, one of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, and one of whom shall be appointed by the President of the Senate; the Child Advocate; the chief justice of the juvenile court; the commissioner of probation; the commissioner of youth services; the commissioner of children and families; the commissioner of mental health; the commissioner of public health; the Secretary of Education; the chief counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services; the executive director of the Massachusetts District Attorneys’ Association; the chair of the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee; the executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Inc.; the executive director of the Children’s League of Massachusetts; a representative of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; 2 parents whose children have been subject to Juvenile Court jurisdiction; and 1 member to be appointed by the governor who shall have experience or expertise related to the design and implementation of state administrative data systems. All appointments to the Commission shall be made not less than 30 days after the enactment of this legislation.
The task force shall have an Executive Director who shall convene the Commission, prepare reports as called for herein; and identify academic research partners in Massachusetts or elsewhere to assist in the analysis and reporting.
Not later than January 1, 2019, and no later than each January 1 following, the Commission shall report to the Clerks of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Chief Judge of the Trial Court, and the Governor, regarding the following:
(a) Any statutory changes concerning the juvenile justice system that the committee recommends to (A) improve public safety, (B) promote the best interests of children and youths who are under the jurisdiction, supervision, care or custody of the Juvenile Court, the Commissioner of Youth Services, or the Commissioner of Child Welfare; (C) improve transparency and accountability with respect to state-funded services for children and youths in the juvenile justice system with an emphasis on goals identified by the committee for community-based programs and facility-based interventions; and (D) promote the efficient sharing of information between the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch to ensure the regular collection and reporting of recidivism data and promote public welfare and public safety outcomes related to the juvenile justice system
(b) Short-term goals to be met within twelve months, medium-term goals to be met within eighteen months and long-term goals to be met within thirty-six months, for the Commission and state agencies with responsibilities with respect to the juvenile justice system to meet, after considering existing relevant reports related to the juvenile justice system and any related agency or entity strategic plans;
(c) By no later than January 1, 2018, the capacities and limitations of the data systems and networks used to collect and report state and local juvenile caseload and outcome data. The analysis shall include all of the following:
i. a review of the relevant data systems, studies and models from the commonwealth and other states;
ii. identification of changes or upgrades to current data collection processes to remove inefficiencies, track and monitor state agency and court-involved juveniles and facilitate the coordination of information sharing between relevant agencies and the courts, including without limitation data that is required to be reported under federal law or for purposes of securing federal funding;
iii. the identification and evaluation of any racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system and recommendations regarding ways to reduce such disparities;
iv. recommendations for the creation of a web-based statewide clearinghouse or information center that would make relevant juvenile justice information on operations, caseloads, dispositions and outcomes available in a user-friendly, query-based format for stakeholders and members of the public, including a feasibility assessment of implementing such a system;
v. a plan for improving the current juvenile justice reporting requirements, including streamlining and consolidating current requirements without sacrificing meaningful data collection and including a detailed analysis of the information technology and other resources necessary to implement improved data collection.
vi. any other matters which the task force determines may improve the collection of, and interagency coordination of, juvenile justice data.
(d) The impact of any legislation that expands or alters the jurisdiction or functioning of the juvenile court, including but not limited to legislation to include persons eighteen, nineteen and twenty years of age within the jurisdiction of the juvenile system, as measured by the following: (A) Any change in the average age of children and youths involved in the juvenile justice system; (B) The types of services used by designated age groups and the outcomes of those services; (C) The types of delinquent acts or criminal offenses that children and youths have been charged with since the enactment and implementation of such legislation; and (D) The gaps in services identified by the committee with respect to children and youths involved in the juvenile justice system, including, but not limited to, children and youths who have attained the age of eighteen after being involved in the juvenile justice system, and recommendations to address such gaps in services; and (5) Strengths and barriers identified by the committee that support or impede the educational needs of children and youths in the juvenile justice system, with specific recommendations for reforms.
(e) The quality and accessibility of diversionary programs available to children and youths in this state;
(f) An assessment of the system of community-based services for children and youths who are under the supervision, care or custody of the Department of Youth Services or the Juvenile Court;
(g) An assessment of the number of children and youths who, after being or while under the supervision or custody of the Department of Children and Families, are adjudicated delinquent or as a youthful offender; and
(h) An assessment of the overlap between the juvenile justice system and the mental health care system for children in Massachusetts.
(i) Any appropriations necessary to accomplish any goals or suggested policy changes identified by the Commission.
The Commission shall establish a timeframe for review and reporting regarding the responsibilities outlined in this section. Each report submitted by the Commission shall include specific recommendations to improve outcomes and a timeline by which specific tasks or outcomes must be achieved.
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