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  SAC Spotlight:  Minnesota

Research Projects

In an effort to meet its goal of providing sound and understandable information to justice system and community stakeholders, the MNSAC is engaged in a variety of projects.

Back to the Future: 30 Years of Minnesota Juvenile Justice Data 1980-2010
In Minnesota, no one agency is responsible for the juvenile justice system or for compiling, analyzing, and reporting on juvenile justice data. As such, little comprehensive data about juveniles in Minnesota's justice system is available to stakeholders. To address this issue, the MNSAC is completing a trend report on juvenile justice data from 1980 to 2010, which includes: juvenile arrests (including status and delinquency arrest); court petition, extended juvenile jurisdiction, and adult certification; probation; juvenile detention; and residential placement information. In addition to the data analysis, this report will include a literature review and comparisons to national data. The MNSAC regularly receives requests for juvenile justice data and this report will be beneficial to many state agencies and non-governmental organizations working with justice-involved youth.

2013 Minnesota Student Survey
The Minnesota Student Survey (MSS) is a collaboration between the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services, and Public Safety. The survey is conducted every three years among three populations of students - students in regular public schools, including charter and tribal schools; students in alternative schools and area learning centers; and students in Minnesota's juvenile correctional facilities. The survey asks questions about activities, experiences, and behaviors. Topics covered include tobacco, alcohol, and drug use; school climate; physical activity; violence and safety; connections with school and family; health and sexual activity; and other topics. The MNSAC serves on the core research team of the MSS and is responsible for ensuring that youth in the correctional facilities are able to take the survey, and that the information collected is analyzed and reported to practitioners working in the juvenile justice system.

Juvenile Justice Decision Points Study: A Follow-Up on Progress and a Revisiting of Recommendations
In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature required the Commissioner of Public Safety to complete a study on the feasibility of collecting and reporting summary data related to the decision points that affect a child's status within the juvenile justice system. This study was completed by the MNSAC in February 2010 and found that quality data collection and dissemination are key elements to ensuring effective, efficient, and equitable juvenile justice practices. The study also provided a task list of activities which, if completed, would result in more complete and accurate data related to Minnesota's juvenile justice system and the youth it serves. Since the report was published, the MNSAC has addressed one of the recommendations: to better understand juvenile diversion at the county attorney level. However, none of the other recommendations has been addressed.

The MNSAC is re-examining the recommendations in the decision points study and engaging involved stakeholders to determine which of the recommendations we can begin to address and work toward. This formal review process will result in an action plan to deal with the recommendations in the report.

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