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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 56
    View PDF Version*

    Document Title
    The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice Data Resource Guide Fiscal Year 2009

    Department of Juvenile Justice

    Enabling Authority
    66-13 (D.)

    Executive Summary
    The past year contained many challenges related to the weak national and state economies. But even as financial issues increase the stresses families face, the numbers of juveniles who became involved in the juvenile justice system continued to decrease. Reduced state and local revenues have, however, limited the options available for addressing the problems related to these youth. But by working more effectively across agency and state/local government lines, critical needs are being met.

    This Data Resource Guide includes information on the numbers, demographics, and treatment needs of young members of our society who become involved with the court system. It explains how the legal system related to juveniles works and provides details on programs that attempt to address identified needs. You can find statistics on a statewide basis and broken out by local area, and you can see whether juvenile crime has increased or decreased over the past several years where you live and work. DJJ staff are committed professionals who are dedicated to improving the communities in which our children live. But we know that we cannot do it alone.

    This Guide provides key information for developing strategies to focus our limited dollars on those things that can generate the best results. It is often true that without appropriate data, we attempt to address concerns that rise to the surface at one particular time, such as a response to publicity surrounding a particularly grievous incident or series of crimes involving a group of juveniles, while missing the bigger picture. With data, localities can see building trends and develop means to intercede in areas that may not make the news, but which would otherwise be precursors to more serious occurrences.

    Virginia’s young people experience crime at lower rates than most of the rest of the nation. While the number of juveniles in our Commonwealth has grown considerably over past years, the number who are brought to our courts has decreased (by 7% from Fiscal Year 2006 through Fiscal Year 2009). During the same time, detention home placements dropped by 17%, and commitments to state run facilities declined 11%.

    But this good news is not spread equally across all jurisdictions. It is critical that we know where our problems are if we are to spend our decreasing resources efficiently to address them. In some areas, juvenile offending is on the rise. In other areas, overall numbers may be decreasing while specific types of problems may be growing.

    I would like to thank the Department of Criminal Justice Services and our federal partners at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for providing grant funding to allow us to publish this Guide. Particular thanks goes to our Research and Evaluation Section, without whose hard work the information presented here would not be possible. I admire their ability to compile useful data while reminding us that the information represents human beings.

    I hope that you will take a moment to complete the online survey (http://www.zapsurvey.com/Survey.aspx?id=781b8289-f3de-4edf-aa23-648b6aacafbe) so that we can determine whether we are meeting your needs. Thank you for reviewing this document and caring about our young citizens.


    Barry R. Green