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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 89: Juvenile justice policy and data board

Section 89. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

''Alternative lock-up program'', a facility or program that provides for the physical care and custody of a juvenile being held by a criminal justice agency after an arrest and before an arraignment, including a program provided by the police or municipal, county or state government, as well as any contractor, vendor or service-provider working with such agencies.

''Child advocate'', the child advocate appointed pursuant to section 3 of chapter 18C.

''Contact'', any action or decision by criminal justice agencies or by any other official of the commonwealth or private service provider under contract or other agreement with the commonwealth, involving a juvenile at any stage of the juvenile justice system which causes such juvenile to enter or exit the juvenile justice system or which will change the custodial status, liberty, case processing or status of the juvenile within the juvenile justice system.

''Criminal justice agencies'', agencies at all levels of government which perform as their principal function, activities relating to: (a) crime prevention, including research or the sponsorship of research; (b) the apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, incarceration or rehabilitation of criminal offenders; or (c) the collection, storage, dissemination or usage of criminal offender record information.

''Juvenile'', a child under the age of 18; provided, however, that the term juvenile shall include a person under the age of 22 if the person remains within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or juvenile justice system and a child between the ages of 14 to 18, inclusive, who is charged with first or second degree murder pursuant to section 74.

''Office'', the office of the child advocate.

''Racial or ethnic category'', the socio-cultural racial and ethnic category of an individual as categorized in a manner that is consistent with the categories established and utilized by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

''Type of crime'', the category of crime consistent with the categories established and utilized by the National Incident–Based Reporting System.

(b) There shall be a juvenile justice policy and data board, referred to in this section as the board. The board shall evaluate policies and procedures related to the juvenile justice system, examine the feasibility of the child advocate collecting and disseminating data regarding juvenile contact with criminal justice agencies and study the implementation of any statutory changes to the juvenile justice system.

The board shall consist of 21 members, 1 of whom shall be a member of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; 1 member of the house of representatives to be appointed by the minority leader of the house; 1 of whom shall be a member of the senate appointed by the president of the senate; 1 member of the senate to be appointed by the senate minority leader; 1 of whom shall be the child advocate, who shall serve as chair; 1 of whom shall be the chief justice of the juvenile court or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of probation or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of youth services or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of children and families or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of mental health or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of public health or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the secretary of education or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the chair of the Massachusetts juvenile justice advisory committee or a designee; and 6 of whom shall be appointed by the governor, provided that: 1 of whom shall be from a list provided by Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Inc., 1 of whom shall be from a list provided by the Children's League of Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be from a list provided by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association Incorporated, 2 of whom shall be parents whose children have been subject to juvenile court jurisdiction and 1 of whom shall have experience or expertise related to the design and implementation of state administrative data systems. Members of the board shall serve without compensation.

The board shall analyze and make a recommendation on the feasibility of the child advocate creating and annually updating an instrument to record aggregate statistical data for every contact a juvenile has with: (i) criminal justice agencies; (ii) any contractor, vendor or service-provider working with said agencies; and (iii) any alternative lock-up programs. The data to be recorded on the instrument shall include, without limitation, age, gender, racial or ethnic category and type of crime. The recommendation shall include a study of the feasibility of all offices and departments subject to this section using the instrument to record a juvenile's contact. The board shall determine the best practices for departments to submit data to the child advocate.

The board shall submit its findings and recommendations relative to data collection by the child advocate by June 30, 2019 to the clerks of the house and the senate, who shall forward the report to the chairs of the house committee on ways and means, the senate committee on ways and means, and the joint committee on the judiciary.

The board shall annually report to the governor, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on the judiciary, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public safety and homeland security and the chief justice of the trial court regarding the following:

(1) any statutory changes concerning the juvenile justice system that the board recommends to: (i) improve public safety, (ii) promote the best interests of children and young adults who are under the jurisdiction, supervision, care or custody of the juvenile court, the commissioner of youth services or the commissioner of children and families; (iii) improve transparency and accountability with respect to state-funded services for children and young adults in the juvenile justice system with an emphasis on goals identified by the committee for community-based programs and facility-based interventions; (iv) 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 (v) promote public welfare and public safety outcomes related to the juvenile justice system;

(2) an analysis of 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, without limitation, 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 gender, 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 information center to 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 system; (v) a plan for improving the current juvenile justice reporting requirements, including streamlining and consolidating current requirements without impacting 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 board determines may improve the collection and interagency coordination of juvenile justice data;

(3) the impact of any statutory change that expands or alters the jurisdiction or functioning of the juvenile court, as measured by the following: (i) any change in the average age of children and young adults involved in the juvenile justice system; (ii) the types of services used by designated age groups and the outcomes of those services; (iii) the types of delinquent acts or criminal offenses that children and young adults have been charged with since the enactment and implementation of such statutory change; (iv) the gaps in services identified by the committee with respect to children and young adults involved in the juvenile justice system, including, but not limited to, young adults who have attained the age of 18 after being involved in the juvenile justice system, and recommendations to address such gaps in services; and (v) the strengths and barriers identified by the board that support or impede the educational needs of children and young adults in the juvenile justice system, with specific recommendations for reforms;

(4) the quality and accessibility of diversion programs available to juveniles;

(5) an assessment of the system of community-based services for children and juveniles who are under the supervision, care or custody of the department of youth services or the juvenile court;

(6) an assessment of the number of juveniles 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

(7) an assessment of the overlap between the juvenile justice system and the mental health care system for children.

The board shall establish a timeframe for review and reporting regarding the responsibilities outlined in this section. Each report submitted by the board shall include specific recommendations to improve outcomes and a timeline by which specific tasks or outcomes shall be achieved.