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Evaluation of Pennsylvania's Juvenile Prosecution and Defense Capacity Building Projects, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
David Myers; Dennis Giever; Daniel Lee; Jay Gilliam
Date Published
10 pages
This document examined the implementation and impact of Juvenile Prosecution and Defense Capacity Building Projects (JPDCBP) in 28 counties throughout Pennsylvania.
The findings of this evaluation are supportive of JPDCBP and point to a number of improvements that have been made in juvenile court operations and juvenile services provided during the past 10 to 15 years. Results found that JPDCBP has been a popular and efficient way to hire additional juvenile court personnel, particularly prosecutors and public defenders. Findings indicate that JPDCBP has been implemented in an effective manner and has had a beneficial impact on juvenile prosecution, defense, and case processing services in the counties that received funding. Furthermore, JPDCBP has worked well in combination with Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ); BARJ is viewed as the central aspect of modern juvenile justice in Pennsylvania. The evaluation also uncovered some areas in need of further attention in terms of both juvenile court operations and evaluation capabilities. The evaluation found that increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of juvenile case processing was a consistent and common goal of participating counties. Other findings from the study pertained to the use of detention, diversionary programs, and graduated sanctions, and whether JPDCBP had any impact in these areas across Pennsylvania juvenile courts. Finally, the study found that juvenile prosecutors and public defenders tended to begin their employment with relatively little experience in juvenile matters.