DELINQUENCY RISK/NEEDS MANAGEMENT AND EQUITABLE TREATMENT OF JUVENILES IN MISSISSIPPI

Report prepared by: Angela Robertson Greg Dunaway

March, 1998

Social Science Research Center Mississippi State University

Executive Summary

The Juvenile Classification Project was funded by the Mississippi Division of Public Safety Planning under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as Amended, (P.L. 93-415) with the intention of impacting one organization of the Mississippi Juvenile Justice System, the Division of Youth Services (DYS). DYS has legislative authority for the handling of cases referred to Youth Court and for the provision of services, including commitment to state training schools or alternative placement for adjudicated delinquents. DYS does not have authority over pre-adjudication detention which is determined by law enforcement officers and detention administrators or Youth Court designees. Nor does DYS have authority over Youth Court Judges who make the disposition determination. However, DYS employs Youth Services Counselors who perform the intake or predisposition information gathering process on which recommendations are made to the court. DYS Counselors also carry out the disposition of the court, which means that they provide supervision of the youth in the community and counseling to the youth and his/her family. When the youth needs specialized services or treatment, the DYS Youth Services Counselor acts as a case manager or broker of such services. The project was divided into three phases with the following objectives: A. Develop a juvenile offender classification system for the Mississippi Division of Youth Services. • To provide rational, consistent and equitable methods of assessing the relative needs and risks of each individual • To set priorities for assigning agency resources • To determine how much supervision a youth may need • To measure the case management goals and evaluate effectiveness of intervention or treatment programs B. Replicate the Butts and Demuro study of state training schools and develop and implement needs assessment for all youth held at the training schools. • Validate the selected instruments on a population of Mississippi juvenile offenders • Determine appropriateness of training school placement • Compare the results of this study with the findings of the Butts and Demuro study C. Conduct an experiment to assess the impact of the risk/needs assessment instrument and procedures on disposition outcomes and determine if a classification system will reduce -i-

disparate treatment of minorities within those aspects of the Mississippi Juvenile Justice system which are under the legislative authority of Division of Youth Services. This is the final report of the Juvenile Classification project. It describes the process of the development and validation of the Risk Assessment instrument, the selection of a Needs Assessment instrument and the development of a placement guide used to classify juvenile offenders and make recommendations to Youth Court judges or referees. The Butts and Demuro replication demonstrated that there have been changes in risk level of youth placed at training school since 1989. About three times as many youth committed to training school scored in the moderate to high risk range (96% vs 29%) compared to when Butts and Demuro visited the two state institutions. There has also been a dramatic increase in the numbers of youth committed to training school for violent offenses. Butts and Demuro found that 12% of youth committed to Columbia training school were there for a violent offense, almost ten years later, 32% were committed for that reason. The earlier research found that 19% of youth were committed to Oakley training school for a violent offense, while our study found that 35% had. Of the 189 individuals at the training schools who had committed at least one violent crime, 85.2% were African American. Our findings indicate that too many youth are inappropriately placed in Mississippi training schools due to status offenses. Although there were slightly fewer (8% vs 11%) female status offenders placed at the training schools as compared to the 1989 study and most status cases (61%) came from counties that do not have community-based alternatives to training school commitment, this remains a problem that the state juvenile justice system must address. Finally Mississippi training schools still hold a disproportionate number of minority youth (78%) given their proportion of the total youth population in the state (45.7%). The third phase of the project was designed to test whether a implemented juvenile classification system impacted commitments to training school. A comparison of Youth Courts using the classification system (experimental courts) with courts who did not (control courts) revealed that: • Both prior delinquency and school misbehavior were positively correlated with being sent to training school. • When a referring offense was a felony or parole violation, a youth was more likely to be sent to training school. • When race, prior history of delinquency and offense type were statistically controlled for, the Control courts were much more likely to commit to training school than the Experimental courts. These findings indicate that the use of the placement guide increases fairness and objectivity in disposition recommendations. -ii-

Acknowledgments

J. Walter Wood, Jr., Director of the Mississippi Division of Youth Services made this project possible by appointing the members of the Juvenile Classification Task Force, by giving project staff access to information from Youth court case records, and by lending his support and assistance throughout all phases of the project. We are grateful to the members of the Juvenile Classification Task Force, Mississippi Division of Youth Services: Willie Blackmon, Community Services
Administrator; Clarence Powell, Region V Director; Melonie Taylor, Region III Director; Carolyn Owen, Counselor-Madison County; Jim Maxwell, Counselor-Washington County; Melissa Chipman, Counselor-Marshall County for their input into the development of the delinquency risk and needs assessment instruments and their participation in the development of the juvenile classification system. In addition, Willie Blackmon, and Jim Maxwell read this manuscript and offered valuable advice. Special thanks to Melonie Taylor, who edited the Juvenile Classification Manual. The testing of the juvenile classification system would not have been possible without approval of the Youth Court Judges of Monroe, Clay, Smith, Warren, Lafayette, Calhoun, Marshall, Copiah and Lauderdale counties. The staff of these courts, particularly the Youth Services Counselors, were responsible for collecting and reporting of information crucial to the conduct of the experiment. We appreciate their efforts. We would also like to thank Terri Earnest, Yuk-Ying Tung and Tan Tsai, staff of the Social Science Research Center. Ms. Earnest was responsible for collecting data from Division of Youth Services and County Youth Court personnel. Mr. Tung performed data entry and data management services and Ms. Tsai provided manuscript preparation and desktop publishing.

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i Part I: Development of Delinquency Risk and Needs Assessments for the Division of Youth Services . . . . . 1 Replication of the Butts and Demuro Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Use of the Juvenile Classification System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Part II: Part III: References Appendices

Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale, Mississippi Division of Youth Services (Version I) . . . . . . . . 49 Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale, Mississippi Division of Youth Services (Version III: An Accepted Version) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Delinquency Risk Assessment Instrument (by J. A. Butts and P. Demuro) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Adolescent Offender Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

List of Tables Table I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-16 Table II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21-24 Table III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37-45

PART I: DEVELOPMENT OF DELINQUENCY RISK AND NEEDS ASSESSMENTS FOR THE DIVISION OF YOUTH SERVICES

Statement of Problem A goal of criminal justice practice is to be able to integrate what we know from criminological research into viable programs and policies which positively impact the effectiveness of crime control efforts and ultimately change offenders to law abiding members of society. In the area of delinquency much is known regarding the social and background correlates of juvenile offending. Recently, this information has been used by both Federal and State juvenile justice systems to develop classification systems and sentencing guidelines based on various risk and needs factors. The purpose of case classification is to provide rational, consistent and equitable methods of assessing the relative needs and risks of each individual and then to set priorities which allow for responsible agency resource allocation (Bemus et al., 1983). Offender case classification is similar to the logic underlying actuarial calculations for insurance premiums. That is, clients are placed by virtue of their numerical score on some instrument, into groups of persons with a similar combination of characteristics. Risk assessment evaluates the probability for further delinquent/criminal behavior. While needs assessment attempts to determine factors which may be related to delinquent/criminal involvement so that appropriate treatment is provided. Currently, Mississippi has no risk or needs assessment which allows for an objective classification of its juvenile offenders. This is particularly alarming given the state’s legacy of racial disparity in sentencing, as well as it over reliance on the use of training schools for its troubled youth. A number of studies have indicated these problems in the Mississippi Juvenile Justice system. A profile of Mississippi’s two training schools found that as many as 71 percent of the juveniles sentenced to training school could be placed in an alternative and/or community-based program without risk to public safety (Butts and Demuro 1989). They noted that two-thirds of the youth studied were sent to the training schools by just 13 counties, five of which had populations under 50,000. Butts and Demuro (1989) suggest that because small counties lack many community alternatives they have relied heavily on training schools. With regard to racial disparity in sentencing, Butts and Demuro (1989) also found that females and racial minorities experienced higher rates of inappropriate placement to training schools. Further, the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Children in Custody” survey indicated that as of 1987 Mississippi ranked third in the nation for the percentage of non-white youths in its training schools. More recently, Ray, Gray-Ray, Robertson, Standard, and Woodley (1993) found disparate treatment for Mississippi minority youth at pre-trial detention, as well as at final disposition. Ray and his associates found, however, that minorities were more likely to experience disparate treatment for
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more serious offenses, but not for non-serious offenses. Ray and his colleagues also documented a lack of consistency among youth court counselors regarding their decisions about court intake. Ultimately, these researchers recommended that the juvenile justice system of Mississippi adopt uniform disposition guidelines. Sentencing disparities and inappropriate placements might be avoided, or at best be reduced, with the implementation of standard sentencing guidelines. This application for funding under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended, (P.L. 93-415) proposed to (a) instigate the development, implementation, and validation of a classification system for court intake, disposition and placement decision-making; (b) evaluate the current population of the state’s two training schools for appropriateness of placement using instruments developed for classification; and (c) compare Youth Courts which implemented the classification system with Youth Courts which did not.

The Development of the Mississippi Delinquency Risk Assessment The project began with the selection of a task force to study classification systems from other states and to make recommendations for adapting or developing instruments and procedures to the juvenile justice system in Mississippi. The Risk/Needs Assessment Task Force consisted of DYS Regional Directors and experienced Youth Services Counselors and were appointed by Mr. Willie Blackmon, Administrator Community Services. See Appendix for list of Task Force members. The Task Force met five times between January and May, 1996 with Angela Robertson, Research Scientist and Project Co-Director. The first version of the Mississippi Delinquency Risk Assessment (DRA) scale to be considered by the Task Force, consisted of items taken from Michigan (Baird et al., 1990) and Indiana DRAs. Because the professional literature regarding juvenile classification generally offers cautions concerning the need for each jurisdiction to develop its own unique profile of potential client indicators of risk, a non-random “convenience” sampling of cases were obtained for preliminary analysis of the reliability of the first version of the Mississippi DRA instrument. A DRA and a Statistical Card were obtained on 274 cases, which came primarily from Lowndes, Forrest and Madison counties. A Statistical Card is completed by Youth Services Counselors on cases handled by Mississippi’s Youth Courts and documents both demographic and referral/arrest information. Since the sample was not randomly selected, it was important to determine whether the sample was representative of the population of youth offenders. Therefore, the data collected on the sample was compared to data from the 1993 Youth Court Report, which provides information on 14,732 juveniles involved in 18,726 cases.
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The sample compares favorably to the 1993 juvenile offender population. For example, the sample consisted of 75.9 percent males, while the 1993 Youth Court Report reported that 72.3 percent of all referrals were male. Tables I-1 through I-6 provide other characteristics of this sample taken from the Statistical form and compares the information to the 1993 Youth Court Report and in some instances, to the 1996 training school population. According to the 1993 Youth Court Report, 19 percent of delinquent cases were alcohol and/or drug related. In this sample, 34 percent of the juveniles had an alcohol and/or drug related referral. There are other differences between the sample and the 1993 Youth Court population. The sample is primarily made up of older juveniles. Half of the sample are below expected grade level, while a third of the total youth court population is below expected grade level. Yet on the characteristics of gender, race, living arrangements and family income the sample is similar to the 1993 population. In Table I-6, the 25 possible youth court dispositions have been grouped into five categories. There are significant differences between the sample and the 1993 Youth Court population. The majority of cases in this sample were handled by supervision by the Youth Court Counselor. This category includes supervision plus fine, restitution, community service and/or suspension of drivers license. Referral means that the youth was referred to a public or private treatment service, such as a Community Mental Health Center. The 1993 Youth Court population was almost five times more likely to be referred than the sample. In the sample, there were nineteen youth sent to either Oakley or Columbia Training School. All but two were referred for a serious offense. One was sent to training school for an offense that was rated as moderate in severity and the other had a status or nondelinquent referral. The race and sex of those youth sent to training school may reflect disposition bias. Seventeen or 89.5 percent of those youth sent to training school were males and 15 or 78.9 percent were African Americans. It is interesting that 11 of the 19 youth sent to training school or 58 percent were from the Lowndes County Youth Court, which does have a community-based alternative available to the court. Thus, training school placement may also be a function of differences in the sentencing practices of particular judges or a reflection of differing patterns of juvenile crime in addition to intervention/treatment resource availability. Table I-7 displays the primary reason for referral. Reasons for referral are grouped into categories by level of severity. See Appendix for listing of reasons for referral and the severity ranking. Note from Table I-7 that only 1.5 percent of the sample had committed a very serious offense. This is not surprising given the state law requires transfer to adult court for juveniles who commit the most serious offenses. Our goal was to determine whether or not implementation of a risk/needs assessment process reduces disparate sentencing. Using the above mentioned sample,
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analyses were conducted to determine if there are gender and/or racial differences in the scores of the proposed DRA scale. No difference was found in the mean risk scores of males and females. However, there was a statistically significant difference between risk scores of blacks and whites. Blacks were more likely to score higher on the DRA (white mean score = 8.9, black mean score = 10.7). DRA items that tap social or familial factors may account for the differences between mean risk scores of black and white youth. For example, in this sample African Americans were more likely than whites to be below expected grade level (55.4% vs 42.9%). The further behind in school, the higher the score. Analysis of two DRA items, “Level of parent/guardian control and supervision” and “Peer relationships” also show racial differences in this sample. White parents were more likely to be rated by the DYS Youth Services Counselor as effective than black parents (31.4% vs 15.5%) and white parents were less likely to be rated as contributing to delinquency than black parents (11.4% vs 16.7%). Black youth were almost twice as likely than white youth to have mostly delinquent peers (45.8% vs 28.6%). The proposed DRA also included criminological items which may account for the racial differences in mean total score. Blacks were more likely than whites to have multiple prior referrals to the court. For example, in the community sample, 15.4 percent of African American youth had four to six prior referrals to the court, while only 4.7 percent of white youth had the same number of prior referrals. The more referrals to court the higher the risk score. Based on the above findings and the strong opinion of some Task Force members that legal items, such as age of first offense or the severity of offense, should be given more weight in scoring than youth or family characteristics, such school behavior or parental supervision, the DRA was revised. Some items were deleted, other items were added, and the wording of original items were changed. In all, three versions of the Mississippi instrument were field tested by collecting DRAs and DYS Statistical Reports on 485 juvenile offenders from across the state. Version three was adopted by the Task Force as a compromise between Division of Youth Services staff beliefs about which items would be acceptable to Mississippi Youth Court Judges and statistical tests of scale item reliability. See Appendix for copy of DRA version three. The final step in the development of DRA scale was the determining the range of scores for different risk levels. Since past criminal behavior is the best predictor of future criminal behavior, the number of previous referrals to the court were used to determine cut-off points for each range of risk. Three risk categories (low, moderate, and high) were established by using the mean number of previous referrals to court per DRA score in the distribution of scores from the community sample. For example, those youth who scored zero up to six on the DRA averaged less than one prior referral to the court. Those youth who scored seven to 12 on the DRA had between one and up to 2.7 prior referrals to the court. Those youth who scored 13 or more points on the
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DRA averaged between three and six prior referrals to the court. A little over a third (36.7 percent) of the test construction sample (DRAs collected on community sample) fell into the low risk category; 44.7 percent fell in the moderate range of risk; and 18.6 percent of the sample fell into the high risk range. This compares with a DRA developed by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for the Michigan Department of Youth Services (Baird et al., 1990). Thirty-three percent of their construction sample fell in the low range, 50 percent fell in the moderate range and 18 percent fell in the high range.

Reliability of the Mississippi Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale The reliability of the Mississippi Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale was determined using the community sample mentioned above and by obtaining the measure on all youth at the two state training schools. The internal consistency or reliability of test items for the final version are presented in Table I-8. Each test item is correlated with the total score. Correlations of .70 or higher indicate a reliable instrument. The third and final version has an acceptable reliability coefficient (r= .745) based on the community sample and was adopted by the Task Force. The overall reliability coefficient (r= .587) for the third version using data from the training school sample was lower than that of the test construction sample, and is not at a generally acceptable level of reliability. It is not totally unanticipated that the training school sample would display less variation on the risk assessment instrument. Given that the training school sample is comprised of juveniles who, theoretically, would have engaged in more serious offenses or committed more numerous offenses, we are capturing only one narrow, albeit important, slice of the juvenile offender population. Conversely, the community sample should include a wider range of juvenile offenders and thus would be more likely to have greater variation in their responses to items on the risk assessment instrument. Variability on individual item scores and the summative scale score is a necessary element in the computation of a scale reliability. One method for determining variability is by calculating the standard deviation of the scores about the average or mean score. The higher the standard deviation the greater the variability as can be seen in Table I-9. There is more variability on six of the eight items for the community sample. The response choices for item three, which is the total number of out-of-home placements, were changed to increase the variability after the data were collected from the community sample and prior to the collection of the DRA data from the training schools. Given more options there is a greater likelihood of variation. The other item on which the training school group had greater spread of scores than the community group is item six, which involves level of parental control. Overall the

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community sample has a greater spread of scores than the training school sample (4.62 vs 3.58). Although the community group has a larger standard deviation on item two (total referrals prior to current referral) than the training school group, the scale could be improved if response options were increased. Note in Table I-9 that the maximum item score is two and the training school group obtained an average item two score of 1.56 which means that they “topped out.” It is recommended that the version three of the DRA could be improved by increasing the number of response option for item two. The correlation between the total DRA score and the total number of previous referrals to court (as noted on the Statistical Card), which is the best predictor of future delinquent behavior, is .6331 for the community sample and .4479 for the training school sample. The lower correlation between Total DRA score and prior referrals for the training school population may be the result of the recent trend to commit youth to training school for serious offenses even though the youth has few or no prior referrals. For example, many judges have decided to “get tough” on youth who carry weapons or deal drugs by sending them to training school. Because the seriousness of the current offense is an important consideration for disposition, four levels of severity and the DRA score are incorporated into the decision matrix called the Mississippi Youth Services/Placement Guide. This guide for Youth Services Counselors to make disposition recommendations to the Youth Court judge will be used in the third part of the project.

The Development of the Mississippi Delinquency Needs Assessment Criminological research has postulated that environmental conditions such as poverty or familial problems contribute to or have a causal relationship with crime. Therefore, if these factors can be identified, some intervention or treatment might reduce offending behavior. The benefits of needs assessment are that it can ensure that certain types of problems are considered, it can provide an additional measure for judging the amount of effort that should be expended on an individual case relative to the entire caseload, it can provide a base for monitoring a client’s progress, and it may provide a basis for judging the relative effectiveness of the case plan. Needs assessment instruments usually emanate from staff efforts to articulate and formalize procedures through a process of identification, definition, and prioritization of problems areas assumed to be related to antisocial behavior. Such a developmental process was undertaken in Wisconsin by a task force involving juvenile probation officers, supervisors, and representatives from clinical services and research/evaluation. Some of the steps in the process included: prioritizing the list of needs based on the need for intervention, developing short definitions, rank ordering the items based on the amount of time required to deal with each type of problem,
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developing a weighing system based on the rank ordering, and constructing a needs assessment manual. The Task Force also reviewed Needs Assessment instruments from Wisconsin, as well as other states, and studied the chapter on needs assessment in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention publication entitled Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders (Howell, 1995). The Wisconsin instrument has all categories of need that the Task Force determined necessary for inclusion in a needs instrument. This instrument also has the endorsement of the National Institute of Corrections. The Task Force adopted the Wisconsin scale. The only change made involved the citation of Mississippi law regarding sexual abuse in the place of Wisconsin law. See Appendix for a copy of the Mississippi Needs Assessment scale. Like the Delinquency Risk Assessment scale, the adopted needs assessment instrument was pretested on the same training school population. Table I-10 lists family and youth needs items and the percentage of youth as meeting the criterion of each item. The greatest family need was identified as parenting skills. Sixty-nine percent of families needed improvement in this area and ten percent of the committed youth’s parents were identified as being abusive in their parenting styles. Approximately onethird (32.1%) of the families had substance abuse problems, that is, family members other than the committed youth. Twenty-eight percent of families had a family member who had been convicted of a crime. Conflict in the homes of these youths was common. Youth problems needing attention were numerous. Sixty-two percent of the committed youth have a history of discipline or behavioral problems in school and 31 percent have either dropped out or have been expelled from school. Twenty percent of the youth were in need of special education services. A little over a quarter of the youth had substance abuse problems that may require treatment. Ten percent had been physically or sexually abused. Most of the youth were considered to have some emotional problems and 11 percent of them were rated as having severe emotional dysfunction. Forty percent of the youth did not possess the life skills necessary to live on their own or employment skills to support themselves and half of the committed youth need parenting skills training. Almost eight percent of committed youth are seen as abusive to their own children. Potentially, both the youth committed to Mississippi training schools and their families could benefit from counseling and other social services. While treatment services for youth could be provided at the training schools, the current structure is that of a military boot camp. Parent skills training, substance abuse treatment, family therapy and other specialized services are usually available from community-based
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agencies and thus it may not be necessary for the Division of Youth Services to duplicate services.
Table I-1: Comparison of the Age Distribution of Juvenile Offenders in Mississippi.* Community sample 8 - 11 yrs 12 yrs 13 yrs 14 yrs 15 yrs 16 yrs 17 yrs 4.3% 4.0% 6.9% 22.3% 26.3% 21.5% 14.6% 1993 DYS population 6.6% 4.9% 9.8% 13.8% 18.4% 20.2% 19.1% 1996 Training School population 0.6% 2.3% 7.2% 16.7% 26.7% 29.2% 15.4%

Table I-2:

Comparison of Racial Distribution of Juvenile Offenders in Mississippi.* Community sample 1993 DYS population 39.5% 59.7% 0.8% 1996 Training School population 21.6% 77.9% 0.6%

White African-American Other

38.3% 61.3% 0.4%

Table I-3:

Comparison of Public Assistance Use by Families of Juvenile Offenders in Mississippi.* Community sample 1993 DYS population 44.9% 39.2% 15.9% 1996 Training School population 62.0% 32.7% 5.3%

Receiving assistance Not receiving Unknown
*

46.4% 50.7% 02.9%

Comparisons are across three groups: a small community sample, the Division of Youth Services caseload in 1993, and the population of both state training schools during the summer of 1996.

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Table I-4:

Comparison of Living Arrangements of Juvenile Offenders in Mississippi.* Community sample 1993 DYS population 23.6% 7.8% 1.9% 49.6% 4.5% 9.9% 1.7% 1.0% 1996 Training School population 11.2% 11.0% 2.1% 47.9% 3.7% 12.7% 6.7% 4.5%

Both parents Mother/stepfather Father/stepmother Mother Father Relatives Independent/other Institution/other

26.6% 8.0% 4.0% 45.3% 2.6% 12.4% 1.1% 0.0%

Table I-5:

Comparison of School Placement of Juvenile Offenders in Mississippi.* Community sample 1993 DYS population 34.4% 40.0% 0.1% 4.2% 1.1% 0.2% 19.9%

Below expected At expected level Accelerated Special Ed. GED Vocational Not in school
*

50.4% 33.9% 0.7% 1.5% 5.8% 0.4% 7.3%

Comparisons are across three groups: a small community sample, the Division of Youth Services caseload in 1993, and the population of both state training schools during the summer of 1996.

Table I-6:

Comparison of Youth Court Disposition for a Community Sample and the Entire Caseload for Division of Youth Services in 1993. Community sample 1993 DYS population 44.9% 36.9% 23.8% 4.9% 4.9%

Dismissed, warned, no action Supervision Referral Training School Custody Transfer

20.8% 65.7% 4.0% 6.9% 2.6%

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Table I-7:

Seriousness of Primary Referral/Offense for Community Sample. Frequency 54 18 82 116 4 Percent 19.7 6.6 29.9 42.3 1.5

Severity level status minor moderate serious very serious

Table I-8: Reliability Analysis of the Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale. Community Sample (n= 210) .4061 Training School Sample (n=523) .2929

DRA Items of Version 3 1. 2. Age of first adjudication or informal sanction for a CHIN or delinquent offense. Total number delinquent, status, and abuse/neglect of referrals to youth court prior to current referral. Number of court ordered/ referred out-ofhome placements, including training school, etc. History of alcohol and/or drug use, etc. Current school status. Level of parental/guardian control and supervision. Peer relationships. Offense severity within past year.

.7289

.4147

3.

.5001 .4484 .6382 .7128 .6735 .6571 .7455

.3601 .1827 .2455 .2949 .3805 .1583 .5870

4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Overall reliability

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Table I-9:

Comparison of Means and Standard Deviations of DRA Version 3 for Community and Training School Samples. Community Training School Mean 1.87 1.56 1.01 0.76 1.94 1.39 2.61 2.13 13.29 Standard Deviation 0.83 0.64 1.12 0.73 0.95 1.23 0.56 1.00 3.58

DRA Items Age at first referral. Total referrals prior to current referral. Total out-of-home placements. History of alcohol and drug use. Current school status. Level of parent control. Peer relationships. Offense severity within past year. Total score
*

Maximum Score 3 2 2, 3* 2 3 3 3 3 22

Mean 1.55 1.03 0.25 0.80 1.25 1.08 2.07 0.94 8.33

Standard Deviation 0.97 0.80 0.66 0.86 1.19 1.04 0.99 1.20 4.62

The response choices for this item were changed from a maximum score of two points to that of three points after the community sample was collected and prior to the data collection at the training schools.

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Table I-10:

Needs of Youth Committed to Training Schools.

A.

FAMILY NEEDS

1.

Substance Abuse No evidence of an alcohol or drug abuse problem with caregiver(s) or other adult household members. One or both caregivers or other adult household members display some alcohol or drug abuse problems resulting in disruptive behavior or causing some discord in family. Caregiver(s) or other household adults may deny there is a problem. One or both caregivers or other adult household members with serious alcohol or drug abuse problems resulting in chronic dysfunction, such as job loss, problems with the law, or abusive/destructive behavior. Caregiver(s) or other household adults are not currently receiving treatment.

67.7%= 23.3%=

9.0%=

2.

Conflict in Home While conflicts may occur, the home environment is relatively stable; there are no problems which require outside intervention. Lack of cooperation between family members resulting in outside intervention. Current marital or domestic discord resulting in physical or emotional abuse of spouse, partner and/or children. Frequent and/or multiple live-in partners. Domestic violence resulting in the involvement of law enforcement and/or domestic violence programs. Could include repeated hisory of leaving and returning to abusive spouse, restraining orders, criminal complaints, substantiated child abuse.

43.4%= 39.5%= 10.7%= 6.4%=

3.

Living Situations/Finances Suitable living environments and family has adequate resources to meet basic needs of children. Current financial stress which results in family conflict and need for outside assistance. Family has housing, but it does not meet the health/safety needs of the children due to such things as inadequate plumbing, heating, wiring, housekeeping, or size. Serious problems, including nomadic lifestyle, or failure to provide meals or medical care to meet health/safety needs of the children. Family has eviction notice, house has been condemned or is uninhabitable, or family is homeless

49.8%= 36.8%= 12.0%=

1.3%=

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4.

Parenting Skills Both caregivers or single caregiver display appropriate parenting patterns which are age appropriate for the child in areas of discipline, expectations, communication, protection and nurturing. Improvement of basic parenting skills is needed by one or more caregivers to effectively control or nurture children; may be evidenced by inconsistent parenting, passive parenting, or parent/child role reversal. One or both caregivers display destructive/abusive parenting patterns.

20.0%=

69.7%=

10.3%=

5.

Disabilities of Caretakers Caregiver(s) have no known physical disabilities, mental illness, emotional problems, or cognitive disabilities that interfere with parenting. Emotional, physical, and/or cognitive disabilities that negatively affect family. Caregiver(s) have ongoing need for formal mental health treatment or have a serious chronic health problem or cognitive disability that seriously impairs ability to provide for youth.

62.0%= 26.3%= 11.7%=

6.

Intra-familial Sexual Abuse No known problem of reason to suspect intra-familial sexual abuse. Intra-familial sexual abuse has been alleged but never substantiated. Includes self-reports by youth and abuse suspected by professionals. Professionals are those listed under MS Code 43-21-353 subsection 3. Intra-familial sexual abuse substantiated.

94.9%= 3.4%=

1.7%=

7.

Family Criminality No caregiver(s) and/or siblings have been convicted/adjudicated for criminal acts in last ten years. Caregiver(s) and/or siblings have a record of convictions/adjudications within the last ten years. One or both caregiver(s) and/or siblings are currently incarcerated.

63.9%= 28.1%= 8.1%=

TOTAL FAMILY NEEDS Scores range from zero to 19. The median score is 4.

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B.

YOUTH NEEDS

1.

Peer Relationships 2.6%= Friendships are basically with non-delinquent friends. Youth exhibits adequate social skills. Uses leisure time constructively. Youth’s peer group is detrimental to goal-achievement, or youth lacks social skills, has few positive interactions with peers. Leisure time is not used productively. Peers are delinquent and exploitive; most activities are with groups having a strong delinquent orientation including but not limited to gang involvement.

37.9%= 59.5%=

2.

School Behavior/Adjustment 6.7%= Attending, graduated or has GED. For those attending, there is no history of attendance and/or behavior problems. Occasional attendance, work effort or disciplinary problems that were handled at home/school. Truancy or severe school behavior problems which require outside intervention. Youth is not attending school or has been expelled.

16.4%= 46.0%= 30.8%=

3.

Intellectual/Educational Deficits Age-appropriate functioning; average or above functional intelligence. Below average intelligence but functioning; at capacity. Average or above intelligence but functioning below expected age/grade level. Youth is determined or ruled as requiring special education services.

20.0%= 22.8%= 36.9%= 20.2%=

4.

Vocational Education/Employment Employed or no need to be employed. Unemployed or underemployed; some vocational interest, needs training. Unemployed; lacks skills and vocational interests.

46.2%= 12.9%= 40.9%=

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5.

Substance Abuse No evidence of alcohol or drug use. Experimentation with alcohol or drugs but no indication of sustained use. Some alcohol or drug abuse problems. Indicated by use that results in prolonged disruptive behavior and/or causes some discord in family or school. Serious alcohol or drug abuse problems with serious disruption of functioning, such as loss of job, removal /dropping out of school, problems with the law, and/or physical harm to self or others.

33.1%= 40.2%= 16.8%= 9.9%=

6.

Emotional Stability Appropriate adolescent response; no apparent dysfunction; appears well adjusted Periodic or sporadic responses which limit but do not prohibit adequate functioning such as aggressive acting out, withdraw, mild symptoms of depression, anxiety, neurosis. Excessive responses which prohibit or severely limit adequate functioning. Clear diagnosis of problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal gestures.

17.2%= 71.8%=

11.0%=

7.

History of Abuse/Neglect as a Victim No history of indication of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect alleged but never substantiated. Substantiated physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Substantiated sexual abuse.

71.6%= 18.5%= 9.2%= 0.7%=

8.

Sexual Behavior No indicators of inappropriate sexual behavior. Inappropriate expressions of sexuality. Uses sexual expression/behaviors to attain power and control over others, harming and/or instilling fear in the victim.

88.0%= 9.7%= 2.2%=

9.

Parenting Skills Appropriate skills or not applicable. Improvement/skill building needed. Destructive/abusive parenting.

42.2%= 50.1%= 7.7%=

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10.

Life Skills Take responsibility for daily living skills or not applicable as youth is not expected to live on his/her own in the near future. Able to live independently, some daily living skills deficits.. Unable to live independently, needs training/skill building on tasks of daily living.

43.9%= 16.1%= 40.0%=

11.

Health/Hygiene No apparent problem. Youth has medical, dental, or health education needs. Youth has physical handicap or chronic illness which limits functioning.

80.0%= 18.7%= 1.3%=

TOTAL YOUTH NEEDS Scores range from zero to 33. The median score is 17.

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PART II: REPLICATION OF THE BUTTS AND DEMURO STUDY

The DRA data collected on the training school population was also used to determine appropriateness of training school placement, and to compare the results of this study with earlier findings by Butts and Demuro (1989). The Butts and Demuro study used a different, but comparable, delinquency risk instrument. See Appendix for copy the DRA instrument used by Butts and Demuro. Both instruments included items for severity of prior offense, and out of home placements. The Butts and Demuro instrument, however, only counted drug-related arrests while the Task Force instrument counted self-reported or suspected alcohol and/or drug use by the offender. The Butts and Demuro instrument assigned higher weights (as high as 10 points) to legal items, while the Task Force included extralegal items, such as school status, and the highest weight is 3 points. The overall findings of Butts and Demuro (1989) were : 1. “Mississippi relies too heavily on training schools.” Only 29 percent of the youth in the system scored in the moderate to high range on the risk assessment instrument. The study recommended the use of alternative, locally-based programs to serve youth who scored below a certain score. “From a public safety perspective, female juvenile experience especially high rates of inappropriate placement. Typically, the girls were runaways, often with a history of abuse and in need of specialized services.” “The Columbia school (for females and young boys up to the age of 14) serves a high proportion of nonviolent youths.” The authors felt that nonviolent youth with low DRA scores should not be in training school.

2.

3.

The analysis of our data revealed several significant findings. Using the Mississippi DRA, we found that 96 percent of all youth in training school scored in the moderate to high range of risk. As stated above, Butts and Demuro reported only 29 percent of the training school youth scored in the moderate to high range of risk. Since 1989 there has been a dramatic reduction in the placement of youth at training school who were categorized low risk. This may be attributed to the AOP which have opened across the state in recent years. AOPs are community-17-

based, outpatient intervention programs operated by community mental health centers. See Appendix for locations and start dates of AOPs. Butts and Demuro expressed concern that large numbers of youth, particularly females, were inappropriately placed at training school. They defined commitment of status offenders as “inappropriate”. At the time of this study, there were 31 youth committed to the training schools for a status offense. Table II-1 shows that 5.6 percent of males and eight percent of females were committed to the training school for status offenses. Butts and Demuro (1989) reported that four percent of males were committed to the training school for status offenses. It would appear that the rates of status commitments have not significantly changed for males. However, there has been a 27% decrease in the percentage of females committed to training school for status offenses as Butts and Demuro (1989) reported that 11 percent of females were committed for a status offense. Unlike the Butts and Demuro study, we examined some possible reasons for continued placement of status offenders at the training schools. First, the 31 status cases come from 17 counties and 12 of these counties do not have an Adolescent Offender Program. The percentage of status cases that came from AOP counties is 32.2 percent; 61.3 percent of the status cases came from counties without AOPs and 6.5 percent of the status cases did not have a county identified. This lends credence to the argument that lack of community delinquency intervention resources may be a factor in training school commitment rates. Second, it is possible for a status offender to be at moderate to high risk for reoffending based on prior offending history. There were only three cases in the low risk range with no prior referrals to Youth Court. Clearly, these state training school placements were inappropriate. As for the other 28 status cases, prior referrals to the court ranged from two to 13 referrals. It may be that for most of the status cases, their last referral to the Youth Court was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Even with these justifications, the Mississippi juvenile justice system must redouble efforts to locate or develop community-based programs for status offenders, as federal law (Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as Amended P.L. 93-415) prohibits placement in secure detention facilities or secure correctional facilities of juveniles who are charged with or who have committed offenses that would not be criminal if committed by an adult (the definition of status). Butts and Demuro found that 12 percent of the youth at Columbia Training School were committed for a violent offense and that 19 percent of youth at Oakley Training School were committed for violence. Our study reveals a dramatic change, which reflects the national trend of increased youth violence. About one-third (31.6%) of youth committed to Columbia Training School and 35 percent of the youth at Oakley Training School were committed for a violent offense.

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Butts and Demuro also reported that just 13 counties were responsible for committing nearly two-thirds of the training school population. Nineteen (19) percent of the youth came from two of the three largest counties in the state—Harrison and Hinds. Twenty-seven (27.5) percent were committed from six mid-size counties (with populations between 50,000 and 100,000)—Forrest, Lauderdale, Lee, Lowndes, Warren and Washington. Five small counties with populations under 50,000—Boliver, Coahoma, Leflore, Lincoln and Sunflower—contributed 19 percent of the commitments.

We found that the three largest counties account for 13 percent of commitments; 21.6 percent of commitments came from the eight moderate size counties. Counties with populations of 50,000 or less, that is 71 out of 82 counties in the state, account for 65.4 percent of commitments to training school. Eight of the counties with populations of 50,000 or less—Alcorn, Coahoma, Hancock, Leflore, Pike, Sunflower, Warren, and Yazoo—placed ten or more youth in training school and account for 29.5 percent of commitments. See Table II-2 for number and percentage of commitments by county. It is of note that three counties—Coahoma, Leflore, and Sunflower—show up in both studies as having higher than might be expected commitments given population size. It is helpful to look at commitment rates based on youth population (also included in Table II-2). Coahoma county has the highest commitment rate in the state (123.13 per 10,000). Leflore county is ranked 10th and Sunflower county is 18th in the state based on commitment rates. Mississippi training schools hold a “seemingly disproportionate number of minority youth”(p. 13), according to Butts and Demuro. We also found that 78 percent of the youth committed to training school are African American. The youth population (ages 10 to 17 years) in Mississippi is 339,478 and 45.7 percent of those youth are African American. There are racial differences in percentage of youth committed to training school by risk category (see Table II-3). Actually a larger percent of white youth (9%) were committed to training school with a low risk score than black youth (3%). Of the 189 individuals at the training schools who had committed at least one violent crime, 85.2 percent were black. Whether this disparity is due to a true difference in delinquency by race, or a reflection of other factors, such as differential patterns of arrest for blacks and whites, remains to be determined. In summary, the Mississippi Delinquency Risk Assessment is a reliable measure for determining the risk for re-offending and should be used along with other relevant information in the case disposition process. The instrument could be further improved as noted above. The use of this instrument on the training school population demonstrates that there has been changes in risk level of youth placed at training school since 1989. Most youth currently placed at the training schools score in the

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moderate to high risk range. Very few youth are now being committed for status offenses in violation of federal regulations.

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Table II-1:

Severity of Offense Resulting in Commitment by Gender. Male Female n 26 16 159 211 17 % 7.5% 6.0% 56.7% 24.0% 4.5% n 5 4 38 16 3

Severity level Status/Non-offense Minor Moderate Serious Very Serious

% 6.0% 3.7% 36.6% 48.5% 3.9%

Table II-2.

Number and Percentage of Commitments by County by Current Placement. Total Current Placement Valid Percent Per 10,000 Commitment Rate

County Name Over 100,000 Harrison Hinds Jackson 50,000 to 100,000 DeSoto Forrest Jones Lauderdale Lee Lowndes Madison Washington Under 50,000 Adams Alcorn Amite Benton

37 19 6

7.7 4.0 1.3

55.09 36.33 29.73

9 19 1 28 19 9 8 10

1.9 4.0 .2 5.8 4.0 1.9 1.7 2.1

32.18 70.39 12.92 71.38 82.66 50.28 59.74 73.77

7 10 6 1 (continued)

1.5 2.1 1.3 .2

63.80 34.48 48.50 22.11

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TABLE II-2.

Continued.

County Name Under 50,000 (continued) Bolivar Calhoun Carroll Chickasaw Clarke Clay Coahoma Copiah Covington George Greene Grenada Hancock Holmes Itawamba Jeff Davis Kemper Lafayette Lamar Leflore Lincoln Marion Marshall Monroe Montgomery Neshoba Newton

Total Current Placement

Valid Percent

Per 10,000 Commitment Rate

5 1 4 3 4 7 21 4 2 2 3 8 10 9 3 4 1 2 1 24 9 1 7 3 3 4 6 (continued)

1.0 .2 .8 .6 .8 1.5 4.4 .8 .4 .4 .6 1.7 2.1 1.9 .6 .8 .2 .4 .2 5.0 1.9 .2 1.5 .6 .6 .8 1.3

35.50 13.25 12.91 20.22 17.36 38.85 123.13 39.25 17.39 6.72 16.30 104.14 56.62 29.56 18.71 15.31 .00 10.21 .00 73.65 51.64 2.21 53.89 16.67 88.67 30.07 11.15

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TABLE II-2.

Continued.

County Name Under 50,000 (continued) Noxubee Oktibbeha Panola Pearl River Perry Pike Pontotoc Prentiss Quitman Scott Simpson Smith Sunflower Tallahatchie Tate Tippah Tishimingo Tunica Walthall Warren Wayne Wilkinson Winston Yalobusha Yazoo

Total Current Placement

Valid Percent

Per 10,000 Commitment Rate

1 4 1 5 1 18 1 2 7 9 4 1 18 3 1 2 2 1 6 28 5 1 2 1 12

.2 .8 .2 1.0 .2 3.8 .2 .4 1.5 1.9 .8 .2 3.8 .6 .2 .4 .4 .2 1.3 5.8 1.0 .2 .4 .2 2.5

17.33 28.30 52.58 21.17 20.20 44.78 31.73 28.31 14.50 63.55 22.37 20.53 54.21 20.54 19.99 6.43 16.39 33.94 15.16 51.36 78.76 .00 81.25 20.09 78.26

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Table II-3:

Risk Categories by Race and Gender.

Training School Population all youth white youth black youth males females

Low Risk 4.0% 9.0% 3.0% 5.0% 1.0%

Moderate Risk 33% 38% 31% 31% 35%

High Risk 63% 53% 66% 64% 64%

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PART III: USE OF THE JUVENILE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

Evaluation of the use of the classification system on disposition outcomes This section of the report will focus on the third phase of the project, which involved the following objectives: • The Mississippi Crime and Justice Research Unit will review the most currently available information to determine which Youth Court jurisdictions have high rates of disproportionate minority commitment to state training schools based on the minority youth population. Further, we will identify jurisdictions which have high utilization of training schools as a placement based on the number of cases disposed of in the preceding year. Based upon the above results, DYS and project staff will select and recruit at least six county Youth Courts for participation in a research study of the effect of classification policies and procedures in reducing disparate treatment of minorities and inappropriate placement at training schools. Train staff of Youth Courts selected for classification system. implementation of the

The Mississippi Crime and Justice Research Unit will conduct an experiment in which Youth Courts with a classification system and disposition guidelines are compared to Youth Courts that follow current practices (no formal guidelines) to determine the effects, if any, of formal disposition guidelines on dispositions of delinquency offenses and commitment to state training schools. Complete an analysis of data collected, and report to DYS regarding modifications of classification policy/procedures, if necessary, and recommendations for implementation of a classification system statewide.

Selection of Youth Courts The third and final phase of the project began October 1, 1996. The plan was to select six Youth Courts on the basis of (a.) demographic characteristics of the county
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including youth and racial composition, (b.) high utilization of training school given the number of cases disposed of in the preceding year, and (c.) willingness of the Judge to participate in this project. The selected courts were to be placed in three matched-paired groups based on comparable caseloads, training school sentencing rates, as well as key demographic factors (i.e. youth population, and racial composition). In each matched pair one court was to be randomly assigned to use the risk/needs assessment instruments and thus, constitute an experimental group. The other court was to follow its normal procedures and thus, constitute a control group. Mississippi counties were matched on the basis of racial composition, youth population, and training school commitment rates in 1994. The matching procedure generated 14 possible groups of county youth courts. The Community Services Administrator and the Regional Directors made a selection of three matched pairs of courts. The determining factor in the selection process was willingness of the Youth Court Judge to allow the study to take place in his court. Unfortunately, none of the courts with the highest utilization of training school were selected. A secondary factor in court selection was the likelihood of the Youth Services Counselors in the experimental courts to follow the classification guidelines and the level of cooperation of staff in all selected courts to collect evaluation data in a timely manner. Youth Services counselors already have a tremendous amount of paperwork, so the project used existing forms where possible and made the classification instruments brief and user friendly. Courts selected had low volume of cases. Within a few months of data collection, it became obvious that insufficient numbers of cases were being handled by the selected courts to allow for statistical analyses. Therefore, one of the originally selected courts was dropped from the study and four more courts were added. To equalize the number of cases by condition, we now had four experimental courts and five control courts. The new courts were chosen for the volume of cases that they handled in the preceding year and because of their willingness to participate, not because they met the matching criteria mentioned above.

Implementation At the end of February, 1997 project staff met with Division of Youth Services personnel from the selected courts. DYS and other court personnel in the experimental courts were trained in the scoring, interpretation, and application of the risk/needs assessment instruments and the use of the classification system for disposition determination and placement.

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Data collection began March, 1997 on all new cases coming to the court. Both experimental and control courts provided copies of the Statistical Report forms to the project. A Statistical Report form was completed by the Youth Services Counselor after disposition. The Statistical Report is already in use statewide by youth courts and provides the Division of Youth Services with demographic information, the reason for referral or arrest and the date and type of disposition on every child that comes before the court. Both experimental and control courts also provided information regarding the Youth Services Counselors’ recommendations to the Judge for disposition or handling of the case. In the experimental courts, the Youth Services Counselor was required to complete a DRA prior to the disposition hearing and to follow dispositional placement guidelines that are based on the (DRA) score and the severity of presenting offence. If the Youth Services counselor deviated from the classification system, they were to justify their alternate recommendations for disposition of the case. Data collection continued through September, 1997. The total cases collected from the control group was 199, while the total cases collected from the experimental group was 312.

Sample Characteristics In order to ascertain whether observed differences in juvenile placement/ disposition, and judicial compliance with youth court counselor recommendations is a result of the experimental effect, it is first necessary to examine to what extent the groups themselves are comparable on an array of pertinent factors. As indicated above, initially courts were statistically selected and paired based on similar demographic and court characteristics (i.e. percent juvenile population; percent minority population; number of court referrals; etc.). Ultimately, however, the courts which were finally selected were ones where the judges gave permission to participate. Since there was no a priori way of accounting for judicial cooperativeness, it is imperative that the final groups be checked to see if there are significant differences on key background attributes. To the extent that the groups are similar the more confident we will be about any potential group differences on variables of interest. Thus, we examined group characteristics for comparability on selected demographic, risk, and offense factors. Table III-1 presents demographic characteristics by group. Three key factors are presented within this table—race, gender, and age. As can be seen both experimental and control courts under the period of study had a caseload which was predominantly black and male. The experimental group had a slightly higher percent (2.2) of females than the control group. On the other hand, the control group had approximately ten percent more white juvenile cases than did the experimental group. With regard to
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age, the average (mean) age for the groups was nearly identical (14.98 years for the control group and 14.96 years for the experimental group). Group characteristics with regard to juvenile risk factors are presented in Table III-2. Prior involvement in delinquency, status offenses, and experiences with abuse or neglect are examined as potential risk factors. The data suggest that with regard to prior involvement with status offenses and referrals for abuse or neglect the two groups are nearly identical. The experimental group, however, had slightly more youths (approximately seven percent) referred for a delinquent offense both within the same year of the study and in years prior to the study. The majority of this difference is accounted for by youths which have multiple referrals. For example, 14.5 percent of the youth in the experimental group had more than one referral for a delinquent act in the same calendar year compared to just 8.5 percent in the control group. When examining the referrals for delinquency in prior years, the difference between groups is more pronounced in the more than two referrals categories. Youth having three or more referrals for delinquency in prior years to the study comprised 22.4 percent of the experimental group compared with 13 percent for the control group. Tables III-3 through III-5 present group differences on a wide array of offense categories. Tables III-3a and III-3b list the distribution of primary and secondary offenses for which youth were referred by group. With regard to primary reasons for referral there is considerable similarity across groups. Four of the top five primary reasons for referral were the same for both groups (non-aggravated assault; burglary; non-shoplifting larceny; and disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace). Shoplifting was the other top five primary reason for referral within the control group while nonnarcotic drug violations was the other top five primary reason for referral for the experimental group. Table III-3b lists the distribution of secondary reasons for referrals. It should be first noted that not all cases carry a secondary reason for referral. And as it turns out there is quite a large difference between the groups with regard to the presence of a secondary reason for referral. Nearly 42 (41.7) percent of the control group cases reported a secondary reason for referral compared to 27.9 percent of the experimental group. The secondary reasons for referral were much less concentrated for the control group. The top two secondary reasons for referral reported for the control group—contempt of court and burglary—accounted for 18 percent of all secondary reasons reported (9.6 and 8.4 percent respectively). On the other hand, the top two secondary reasons for referral for the experimental group—disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace and contempt of court—comprised a third of the reasons reported (18.4 and 14.9 percent respectively). Tables III-4a and III-4b categorize the primary and secondary offenses by level of seriousness. The groups are very closely matched with regard to the distribution of seriousness for both primary and secondary offenses. In both groups serious offenses
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were the most common category and very serious offenses were the least common category with regard to primary offense referrals. It should be noted, however, that while very serious offenses comprised the minority of referrals, very serious offenses were reported more often for the experimental group. Moderate offenses were the most common secondary reason for referral and, again, very serious offenses were the least common secondary reason for referral. Finally, Table III-5 reports an array of offense characteristics by each group including: whether the offense could have been considered a felony if committed by an adult; whether drugs or alcohol were involved; whether a weapon was involved; and whether physical violence was involved with the offense. The most significant differences between groups observed involved alcohol and physical violence. Over 14 percent of the cases in the experimental group involved alcohol while only 4 percent of the control group involved alcohol. Additionally, experimental group cases were more likely to have involved physical (hands, fists, feet, etc.) violence. To a lesser extent firearms were more likely to be involved with offenses from the control group. Overall, the control and experimental groups are very similar on basic demographic, risk, and offense characteristics. Obviously, some differences were observed. The experimental group had a greater percentage of cases involving black adolescents, were more likely to have had more than one prior delinquent referral, were slightly more likely to have had a case involving a very serious offense, and were more likely to have had cases involving alcohol and the presence of physical violence. Still, the majority of factors were very similar across groups and thus are comparable. Factors which did vary between the groups will be controlled for in subsequent analyses of the effects of the experiment.

Judge and Counselor Compliance A crucial aspect of the study was to determine whether counselors would use the risk assessment guidelines for making their recommendations regarding sentencing and then determine whether judges would follow youth court counselors’ recommendations. Table III-6 reveals the compliance rate of judges with youth court counselor recommendations for both groups. As can be seen, in both groups judges overwhelmingly followed the recommendations of the counselor. We did find, however, that judges in the experimental group were less likely to follow counselor recommendations. Judges in the experimental group complied with counselor recommendation 65.8 percent of the time. While judges in the control group complied 74.1 percent of the time. The lower compliance rate for judges in the experimental group could be caused by a number of factors including a resistance to the use of the instrument guidelines. If lower judicial compliance is a result of this resistance, then it may reduce the effectiveness of the guidelines and may make implementation difficult.
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Unfortunately, this study does not include data which might assess judicial rationale for non-compliance. We can, however, indirectly assess the potential effect of judicial bias against the guidelines by examining judicial compliance within the experimental groups in cases where the counselor followed guidelines and in cases where the counselor did not follow guidelines. Table III-7 presents counselor compliance with risk assessment guidelines. In 71.8 percent of the cases counselors in the experimental group did indeed follow the guidelines. Table III-8 displays judicial compliance by counselor compliance. The results indicate that judges were more likely to accept the recommendation of counselors when there recommendation did not follow the guidelines. In fact, the judicial compliance for non-complying counselors was very close to the judicial compliance rate in the control group (71.8 percent and 74.1 percent respectively). This finding, however, should be treated cautiously for at least two significant reasons. First, judicial compliance within the experimental group was high for both complying and non-complying counselor recommendations. Second and most significantly, we do not know whether judges were informed as to whether a counselor was making his/her decision based on the guidelines. If the judge was unaware of what factors determined the counselors’ recommendation a judicial bias based on the guidelines would not be possible.

Training School Disposition Another major reason for conducting this study was to assess the impact of using objective sentencing guidelines on the referral of youth to training schools. Earlier work by Butts and Demuro (1989) suggested that black youth were disproportionately sent to training school. It is assumed that courts using guidelines would be less likely to be racially biased. Table III-9 lists the distribution of final dispositions of cases examined. With regard to training school dispositions, 21.6 percent of the cases in the control group resulted in the youth being remanded to training school compared to just 13.8 percent of the experimental cases. When controlling for whether the counselor in the experimental group complied with the guidelines the percent of cases resulting in a training school disposition rose just less than one percent (14.4 percent). Thus, it appears that sentencing guidelines may assist with suggesting alternatives for training school. Table III-10 displays racial and gender characteristics for those youth remanded to training school. As might be expected the vast majority sent to training schools are male. Black youth are also disproportionately represented in cases which received a training school disposition. Both control and experimental groups sent more black youth to training schools (74.4 percent and 93 percent, respectively) than would their proportion of the sample predicted. This may be the result of black youth committing more serious offenses for which training school may be the traditional punishment. The finding may also be the result of racial bias in sentencing. Yet, this is unlikely due to the fact that even in the experimental court where an intended “color-blind” set of
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guidelines were used black youths were still much more likely to be sent to training school. In order to better understand the factors which impact both judicial compliance and training school dispositions more complex statistical models are required. Below we examine the impact of an array of factors to determine whether or not they significantly predict judicial compliance and training school dispositions. Key in these analyses is whether being in the control or experimental group affects judicial compliance and training school referrals controlling for the effects of the other factors examined.

Predicting Judicial Compliance and Training School Disposition In order to better understand the experimental effect on key outcomes such as whether judges followed youth court counselor recommendations and whether or not a judge sentenced a youth to training school more sophisticated statistical techniques need to be employed. Multivariate statistical analyses allow for us to assess the impact of being exposed to the experimental stimulus while controlling for other factors which may also effect the examined outcome or dependent variable. Logistic regression was the statistical technique used to examine the effect of determinants of judicial compliance and training school disposition. Logistic regression analysis is a multivariate statistical technique used to test the relationship between a dependent variable and independent variables. In the logistic regression model, one or more predictor variables are used to estimate whether the likelihood that a discrete outcome will be observed on a dichotomous dependent variable. The process of regression analysis also tests whether independent variables are useful in making the prediction. In other words, logistic regression analysis uses a set of independent variables to predict a binary dependent variable. The functions of the analysis are to account for the effects of different indicators on dependent variable simultaneously and to consider the relationships among these indicators in making the prediction of a dependent variable (Norusis, 1994). The experimental effect was examined in three separate predictive models for both judicial compliance and training school disposition. Each model incorporated an array of different category factors (i.e., social background; risk; and offense) which may also impact the dependent variables. A fourth, integrative, model which included all statistically significant predictors from the previous models was analyzed as well.

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Judicial Compliance Table III-11 presents the results of the court effect on judicial compliance for each model. The social background model assessed the impact of being in the experimental court group while controlling for the following variables: the sex, race, and age of the youth; whether the youth’s parents were married; whether the youth resided in an urban area; whether the youth’s family received public assistance (i.e., welfare); and whether the youth had a part-time job. Our results suggest that only group membership was a significant predictor of judicial compliance. However, group membership and judicial compliance were inversely related meaning that judges in courts in the control group (where counselors did not use the risk instrument) were more likely to comply with the youth court counselors’ recommendations. The second model examined the effect of court group controlling for the following risk factors: prior experience with delinquency; abuse or neglect; status offending; and school misbehavior. Judges in the control group continued to be significantly more likely to comply with counselor recommendations in this model. No risk factors, however, impacted whether judges were more or less likely to comply. The offense factor model tested the effect of court group by controlling for a set of offense factors. These factors were associated with the offense which caused the youth to be referred to juvenile court. The offense factors controlled for were: whether drug or alcohol were involved with the offense; whether the offense would have constituted a felony for an adult, whether the offense was a parole or probation violation; whether a weapon was involved in the case; whether there was an additional charge(s) attached to the referral; and the level of seriousness of the offense. The results of this analysis suggest that if the referral offense would have constituted a felony if it involved an adult, judges were more likely to comply with counselor recommendations. We also found that seriousness of offense was inversely related to judicial compliance. Thus, the less serious the offense the more likely judges were to accept counselor recommendations. Finally, judges in the control group remained more likely to accept the recommendations made by counselors. Finally, the integrated model included the three previously discovered significant factors for judicial compliance—court group, whether the offense would be considered a felony, and the seriousness of the offense. The model revealed that all three continued to have a significant impact on judicial compliance in the same manner as was witnessed in the previous models.

Training School Dispositions It has been noted above that research shows that Mississippi has had a history of disproportionately punishing black youth by sending them to training school. The
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disproportionate representation of black youth in training schools may, in part, be due to racial bias in the recommendation and sentencing processes. One of the purposes of developing and implementing a risk assessment instrument form with accompanying guidelines for disposition is to reduce the chance for individual bias. With this in mind we examined the court group effect on whether youth received a training school disposition controlling for the same array of factors examined for judicial compliance. Table III-12 presents the effect of court group on training school disposition controlling for social background, risk, and offense factors. In the social background model court group is significantly related to training school disposition. Here we find that judges in control courts were more likely to give a training school disposition and judges in the experimental courts were less likely to sentence youth to training school. The only other variable within the social background model to affect training school disposition was race. As previous research suggests black youth were more likely to be given a training school disposition. The results from the risk factors model revealed that engagement in prior delinquency and reported school mis-behavior are linked to training school disposition. In other words, youth which have a prior history of delinquent involvement and who exhibit inappropriate school conduct are more likely to be sent to training school. Further, youth cases in the experimental courts were again found to be less likely to be sent to training school. The offense factors model yielded four significant effects. Youth offenses which would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult were more likely to be disposed of by way of training school. Further, youth offenses which were either a probation or parole violation were also more likely to have received a training school disposition. And the court group effect remained constant. Finally, all significant factors from the previous three models were placed in the integrated model. Only previous involvement with delinquency failed to remain a significant predictor of training school disposition.

Discussion of Predictive Models Using a wide range of social background, risk and offense variables to explain judicial compliance with counselor recommendations, we found that there were very few significant determinants. Most significant among them was that judges in the control group were more likely to comply with counselor recommendations than were judges in the experimental courts. This finding is potentially troubling because it may signal that judges in the experimental courts were less likely to accept a recommendation if they perceived it was based on standardized guidelines. Thus, one

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interpretation of this finding would suggest that judges may be bias against following the sentence guidelines. This interpretation, however, should be made very cautiously for at least two major reasons. First, not all counselors in the experimental courts made their recommendations based on the guidelines—30 percent of the recommendations were not based on the guidelines. And it is not known whether judges were aware whether the counselors were making their recommendations based on the guidelines. Thus, if the judges were unaware of the guidelines being used no judicial bias could have taken place. Complete judicial ignorance of the guidelines being used, however, seems unlikely. Permission was needed and granted from judges in order for courts to initially participate in the study. Further, in some cases judges were alerted as to whether they would be in the experimental or control group. Finally, the data from within the experimental group tends to support a judicial bias against the guidelines. Judges in the experimental courts were more likely to comply with counselor recommendations when the counselor did not follow the guidelines. When counselors in the experimental group did not follow the guidelines judges complied 76 percent of the time compared to just under 64 percent when guidelines were followed. A second and more critical caveat to the judicial bias interpretation has to do with other determinants of judicial compliance which were not examined. Except for the group the case was in, all variables examined as potential determinants of judicial compliance were characteristics of the offender and his or her offense. While these factors are viewed as important in understanding compliance, they are but one dimension of explanation of judicial compliance. Other dimensions not accounted for were characteristics of the other actors in the process such as the judges, counselors, and prosecutors. Further, it would be important to examine court characteristics (e.g volume of case load, types of cases, number of plea bargains). Finally, and maybe most important would be to assess the relationship between the actors. For example, does the judge trust the counselor or do prosecutors and counselors agree on dispositions? It may turn out than these other dimensions are more important for whether judges accept counselor recommendations. And if they are they may diminish the effect of the case being in one group or another thus, weakening the judicial bias argument. In addition to the court group, two other factors were found to affect judicial compliance. If the case could be considered a felony for an adult, judges were more likely to accept the counselor recommendation. And the less serious offense, the more likely judicial compliance. These relationships are seemingly at odds with one another. It would seem that if the offense could be considered a felony than it would have to be a more serious offense. What these somewhat contradictory findings suggest is a U shape relationship between offense severity and judicial compliance. In other words, it may be the case that judges trust their counselors to handle less serious offenses and therefore accept their recommendations frequently. Conversely, in a potential felony case options for disposition recommendation may be more narrow. Here a counselor
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has more limited legitimate options for their recommendations and the judge may be more bound to accept those recommendations. The interpretation of the findings regarding the training school disposition are, in our opinion, more straightforward. The court group effect was significant throughout our models; suggesting that experimental court judges were less likely to dispose of their cases through training school. This finding holds up despite other significant risk and offense determinants of training school disposition. Youth who had reported prior delinquent and mis-conduct problems, who had previous official contact with juvenile court by virtue of either being on probation or parole, and who had committed a felony caliber offense were all more likely to be sent to training school. None of these findings are surprising since in many instances the counselors and judges would be compelled to give this disposition. What is surprising perhaps is that the group effect was still significant after controlling for these factors. Thus, our findings do suggest that the presences of an objective set of guidelines may reduce the chance of sending a youth to training school. However, our results do still suggest that there may be racial bias with regard to training school disposition. After controlling for risk and offense factors, as well as group, black youth were still more likely to be sent to training schools.

Modifications to the Juvenile Classification system The Project Director met with Task Force and interviewed some of the Youth Services counselors in the Experimental courts to seek reasons for disregarding the guidelines and making alternative dispositional recommendations. Melissa Chipman of Marshall county reported that the rating of the contempt of court charge posed problems for her, particularly when the contempt was for violation of parole. She believes that violation of parole should result in automatic commitment to training school, whereas contempt for violation of probation should result in continued probation. Overall, she found the classification system very helpful when she was uncertain about recommendations. Bob McClatchy of Lauderdale county said that the placement guide was flexible enough to give counselor leeway in recommendations. He agreed with Ms. Chipman about the rating of contempt offense. He added that the ranking for simple assault was too high. Finally, Tracy Phillips was consulted. In Copiah county there is an interagency council that meets monthly, discusses all cases that will come before the court, and formulated recommendations for intervention to the court. She said that simple assault should be rated as moderate and that school fights were usually not taken to court. She pointed out that although weapons possession at school is a serious offense, when the weapon is a pocket knife the interagency council did not believe that commitment to training school was an appropriate recommendation. Other changes in the offense rating that Ms. Phillips suggested are that sexual battery should be
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serious instead of moderate because it is a crime against person and that the rating for vandalism should be based on the amount of damage. Based upon the above comments the Task Force made minor changes in the ranking of offense severity, which along with the risk score, is used to determine disposition recommendations. The Task Force recommends to the Executive Director of the Division of Youth Services that this juvenile classification system be adopted and implemented statewide.

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Table III-1:

Demographic information by group. Control Group1 Experimental Group2 74.4% 78.2% 14.96 (n=232) (n=244)

Race (percent Black) Gender (percent male) Average age
1 2

64.1% 80.4% 14.98

(n=127) (n=160)

Total cases for control group, n = 199. Total cases for experimental group, n = 312.

Table III-2:

Risk factors by group. Control Group (n=199) This calendar year % per n In prior years % per n Experimental Group (n=312) This calendar year % per n In prior years % per n

Risk Factors

Delinquent: 0 referrals 1 referral 2 referrals 3 referrals 3+ referrals Status Offense: 0 referrals 1 referral 2 referrals 3 referrals 3+ Abuse /neglect: 0 referrals 1 referral 2 referrals 99.0 0.0 0.0 197 0 0 98.5 0.5 0.0 196 1 0 98.1 0.3 0.0 306 1 0 95.8 1.9 0.6 299 6 2 90.5 8.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 180 16 2 0 0 86.9 7.0 4.0 1.0 0.5 173 14 8 2 1 89.4 8.3 0.6 0.0 0.0 279 26 2 0 0 87.8 8.3 1.6 0.0 0.6 274 26 5 0 2 70.9 20.6 7.0 0.0 1.5 141 41 14 0 3 54.3 21.1 11.6 6.5 6.5 108 42 23 13 13 63.8 20.5 9.6 2.6 1.9 199 64 30 8 6 47.4 19.9 8.7 7.1 15.3 146 62 27 22 48

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Table III-3:

Referral circumstances by group. Control Group (n = 199) Percent 26.3 18.1 4.0 5.0 1.0 10.6 2.0 Frequency 51 36 8 10 2 21 4 Experimental Group (n =312 ) Percent 24.0 21.2 14.4 1.6 4.2 23.4 3.8 Frequency 75 66 45 5 13 73 12

Circumstances of referral (percent ‘yes’) Referral would constitute a felony if committed by an adult Drugs were involved in referral Alcohol was involved in referral Firearm was involved in referral Knife or cutting instrument involved in referral Hands, fists, feet, etc., involved in referral Other weapon involved in referral

Table III-4a: Primary reason for referral. Control Group (n=199) Primary reason referred Forcible rape Robbery: purse snatching Robbery, except purse snatching Assault: aggravated Assault: except aggravated Burglary: breaking and entering Larceny: shoplifting Larceny: except shoplifting Motor vehicle theft: unauthorized use Motor vehicle theft: except unauthorized use Weapons: carrying and possessing Percent 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.5 11.2 13.7 9.1 9.1 2.5 0.5 4.1 (Continued) Frequency 0 0 2 1 22 27 18 18 5 1 8 Experimental Group (n=312) Percent 1.6 0.7 1.0 3.3 16.6 11.4 5.2 6.5 1.0 0.3 1.6 Frequency 5 2 3 10 51 35 16 20 3 1 5

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TABLE III-4a.

Continued.

Control Group (n=199) Primary reason referred Forgery and counterfeiting Fraud Stolen property Vandalism /malicious mischief Disorderly conduct /disturbing the peace Trespassing Drunkenness Sex offenses: except forcible rape Violation of drug laws: narcotic Violation of drug laws: except narcotic Contempt of court Running away Violation of curfew Ungovernable behavior /incorrigible Possessing /drinking of alcohol Truancy /educational neglect Other delinquency Percent 0.5 0.0 0.0 7.6 8.1 2.0 1.0 0.5 7.6 4.1 5.6 3.0 0.5 2.5 0.0 2.0 3.0 Frequency 1 0 0 15 16 4 2 1 15 8 11 6 1 5 0 4 6

Experimental Group (n=312) Percent 0.0 0.3 1.0 5.2 8.5 4.6 0.3 1.0 5.5 1.3 11.1 3.6 1.0 3.9 1.0 1.3 1.3 Frequency 0 1 3 16 26 14 1 3 17 4 34 11 3 12 3 4 4

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Table III-4b: Secondary reason for referral. Control Group (n=199) Primary reason referred Robbery, except purse snatching Assault: except aggravated Burglary: breaking and entering Larceny: shoplifting Larceny: except shoplifting Motor vehicle theft: unauthorized use Motor vehicle theft: except unauthorized use Weapons: carrying and possessing Forgery and counterfeiting Fraud Stolen property Vandalism /malicious mischief Disorderly conduct /disturbing the peace Trespassing Drunkenness Violation of drug laws: narcotic Violation of drug laws: except narcotic Driving under the influence Contempt of court Running away Violation of curfew Ungovernable behavior /incorrigible Possessing /drinking of alcohol Truancy /educational neglect Other delinquency Percent 1.2 7.2 8.4 1.2 7.2 4.8 1.2 0.0 0.0 2.4 0.0 7.2 7.2 6.0 2.4 2.4 7.2 0.0 9.6 0.0 7.2 7.2 1.2 4.8 3.6 Frequency 1 6 7 1 6 4 1 0 0 2 0 6 6 5 2 2 6 0 8 0 6 6 1 4 3 Experimental Group (n=312) Percent 1.1 10.3 2.3 4.6 0.0 0.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 0.0 1.1 10.3 18.4 3.4 0.0 2.3 6.9 1.1 14.9 5.7 2.3 6.9 1.1 2.3 1.1 Frequency 1 9 2 4 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 9 16 3 0 2 6 1 13 5 2 6 1 2 1

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Table III-5a: Primary offense category. Control Group (n=199) Offense Category Very Serious (Category IV) Serious (Category III) Moderate (Category II) Minor (Category I) Status /non-offense (Category I) Percent 1.5 46.2 22.3 21.8 8.1 Frequency 3 91 44 43 16 Experimental Group (n=312) Percent 6.5 40.7 24.4 17.6 10.7 Frequency 20 125 75 54 33

Table III-5b: Secondary offense category. Control Group (n=199) Offense Category Very Serious (Category IV) Serious (Category III) Moderate (Category II) Minor (Category I) Status /non-offense (Category I) Percent 1.2 20.5 33.7 24.1 20.5 Frequency 1 17 28 20 17 Experimental Group (n=312) Percent 1.1 18.4 42.5 19.5 18.4 Frequency 1 16 37 17 16

Table III-6:

Judge Compliance by Group. Control Group Experimental Group % 65.8% 34.2% 100.0% n 198 103 301

Judge Compliance Follow Recommendation Not Follow Recommendation Total

% 74.1% 25.9% 100.0%

n 146 51 197

Table III-7:

Counselor Compliance with Guidelines (Experimental Group). Frequency 216 85 301 Percent 71.8 28.2 100.0

Counselor Compliance Follow Guidelines Not Follow Guidelines Total

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Table III-8:

Judge Compliance with Counselor Recommendation. Counselor Followed Guidelines Not Followed Guidelines % 71.8% 28.2% 100.0% n 61 24 85

Judge Compliance Follow Recommendation Not Follow Recommendation Total

% 63.3% 36.7% 100.0%

n 136 79 215

Table III-9:

Disposition by group. Complying Counselor Group % 3.3 20.5 1.9 0.9 44.2 0.9 0.5 7.0 1.5 3.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.9 0.0 14.4 n 7 44 4 2 95 2 1 15 1 7 0 0 0 1 2 0 31

Control Group Disposition Waived to justice /circuit court Dismissed not proven or not found involved Warned, adjusted, and counseled Held open without further action Youth Court counselor to supervise Supervision and fined Fined Supervision and restitution restitution Supervision and special services Other combination of supervision Adolescent offender program (refer) Other public institution (refer) Public agency /department (refer) Private agency /institution (refer) Other disposition (refer) Public institution for delinquents (transfer) % 3.5 11.6 0.5 3.0 26.6 3.5 0.0 6.5 1.0 2.0 4.0 5.5 1.5 3.0 1.5 2.5 21.1 n 7 23 1 6 53 7 0 13 2 4 8 11 3 6 3 5 42

Experimental Group % 2.9 18.0 2.3 0.6 43.7 0.6 0.3 8.0 0.3 3.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.6 0.6 0.0 13.8 n 9 56 7 2 136 2 1 25 1 12 0 0 0 8 2 0 43

(continued)

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TABLE III-9. Continued.

Control Group Disposition Other public institution (transfer) Public agency /department (transfer) Private agency /institution (transfer) Individual (transfer) Other (transfer) Total % 0.5 0.5 0.0 1.0 0.5 100.0 n 1 1 0 2 1 199

Experimental Group % 0.0 1.0 0.3 0.3 0.6 100.0 n 0 3 1 1 2 311

Complying Counselor Group % 0.0 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.5 100.0 n 0 2 0 0 1 215

Table III-10: Race and Gender Composition of Those Receiving Training School Disposition by Group. Variable Race Category White Black Hispanic Gender Male Female Control Group 25.6% 74.4% 0.0% 88.4% 11.6% Experimental Group 4.7% 93.0% 2.3% 86.0% 14.0%

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Table III-11: Group, Social Background, Risk, and Offender Characteristics, Effects on Judicial Compliance with Counselor Recommendations. Social Background Model Variable Name Group Age Public Assistance Employed Parents Married Sex Urban Residence Race (White) Prior Delinquency Prior Status Offenses School Mis-Behavior Alcohol Presence Adult Felony Drug Presence Parole Violation Probation Violation Seriousness of Offense Secondary Offense Weapon Presence
*

Risk Factors Model B -.664* Exp(B) .515*

Offense Factors Model B -.529* Exp(B) .589*

Integrated Model B -.409* Exp(B) .664*

B -.560* .048 -.139 .098 -.233 -.174 -.150 -.389

Exp(B) .572* 1.049 .871 1.103 .792 .840 .861 .678

.013 -.214 .165

1.013 .807 1.179 .071 .896* -.031 .504 -.205 -.327* .312 -.050 1.073 2.445* .969 1.655 .815 .721* 1.366 .951 -.269* .764* .728* 2.072*

Significant at .05 Level

B=Regression Coefficient Exp(B)=Odds Ratio

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Table III-12: Group, Social Background, Risk, and Offender Characteristics, Effects on Training School/Disposition. Social Background Model Variable Name Group Age Public Assistance Employed Parents Married Sex Urban Residence Race (White) Prior Delinquency Prior Status Offenses School MisBehavior Alcohol Presence Adult Felony Drug Presence Parole Violation Probation Violation Seriousness of Offense Secondary Offense Weapon Presence
*

Risk Factors Model B -.720* Exp(B) .487*

Offense Factors Model B -.694* Exp(B) .500*

Integrated Model B -.759* Exp(B) .468*

B -.753* .149 .252 -.273 -.648 .608 .081 -.954*

Exp(B) .471* 1.161 1.286 .762 .523 1.837 1.084 .385*

-.793* .142* .121 1.484* 1.152* 1.129 4.412* .851 1.117* .088 2.653* 2.227* .068 -.153 -.202 2.343 3.054* 1.092 14.197* 9.268* 1.070 .858 .817 2.156* 2.281* 1.397* .979* .068

.452* 1.070

2.661*

4.041*

8.634* 9.784*

Significant at .05 Level

B=Regression Coefficient

Exp(B)=Odds Ratio

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REFERENCES

Araza, J. (1990). Antisocial Children and Adolescents: A Risk Assessment Inventory and Diagnostic Manual. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 11-37. Baird, S. C. (1974). Parole Prediction Report No. 3. Joliette, Ill.: Illinois Department of Corrections. Baird, S. C. and Heinz, R. (1978). Risk Assessment in Juvenile Probation and Aftercare. Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Division of Corrections. Unpublished. Baird, S. C. (1985, February). Classifying Juveniles: Making the Most of an Important Management Tool. Corrections Today. pp. 32-38. Baird, C., Neuenfeldt, D., Wagner, D., Prestine, R., and Klockziem, B. (1990, July). Development of the Michigan Delinquency Risk Assessment Instruments. National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Madison, Wisconsin. Bohnstedt, M. (1979). Screening for Risk: Classification Instruments for Criminal Justice Decisions. National Institute of Corrections, Washington, D. C. Bemus, B., Arling, G., and Quigley, P. (1983, May). Workload Measures for Probation and Parole. U.S. Dept. of Justice, National Institute of Corrections. Butts, J. A. and Demuro, P. (1989, February). Population Profile and Risk Assessment Study: Mississippi Department of Youth Services. Center for the Study of Youth Policy, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Clear, T. R. (1980). New Jersey Case Management Project. School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey. Clear, T. R., and Gallagher, K. W. (1983, Spring). Management Problems in Risk Screening Devices in Probation and Parole. Evaluation Review. Howell, J. C. (ED) (1995, June). Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency. Krisberg, B., Baird, C., Quiley, P., and Wiebush, R. (1993, March). A classification and Placement System for Indiana Juvenile Corrections. National Council on Crime and Delinquency, San Francisco, CA. Lerner, K., Arling, G., and Baird, S. C. (1986, July). Client Management Classification Strategies for Case Supervision. Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 254-272.

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Norusis, Marija J. (1994). SPSS Advanced Statistics 6.1 Chicago: SPSS INC. Ray, M.C., Gray-Ray, P., Robertson, C. T., Stanard, D. C., and Woodley, C. (1993). Disparate Treatment of Minority Youth within Mississippi’s Juvenile Justice System. Mississippi Crime and Justice Research Unit, The Social Science Research Center, and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Mississippi State University, Starkvelle, Mississippi. Towberman, D. B. (1992). A National Survey of Juvenile Risk Assessment. Juvenile and Family Court Journal. Towberman, D. B. (1992). A National Survey of Juvenile Needs Assessment. Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 38 No.2, pp. 230-238. Wenk, E. A. and Emerick, R. L. (1976, July). Assualtive Youth: An Exploratory Study of Assaultive Experience and Assaultive Potential of CYA Wards. Journal of Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 9, No. 2.

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APPENDICES

Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale, Mississippi Division of Youth Services (Version I) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale, Mississippi Division of Youth Services (Version III: An Accepted Version) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Delinquency Risk Assessment Instrument (by J.A. Butts and P. Demuro) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Adolescent Offender Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 JUVENILE CLASSIFICATION: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Instruction Manual for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services, which includes the Mississippi Delinquency Need Assessment instrument and revisions to Risk Assessment, Offense severity ranking as well as the Placement Guide

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Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale (Version I) Mississippi Division of Youth Services
Youth’s Name:________________________________ Counselor’s Name:____________________________ Child No. ________________ Date Completed:__________

___ 1. Age of first adjudication or informal sanction for delinquent offense 3 = 11 or under 2 = 12 - 14 1 = 15 0 = 16 or over ___ 2. Number of referrals to youth court 0 = none 1 = one or two ___ 3. Number of prior out-of-home placements 0 = none or one 2 = two or more ___ 4. History of substance abuse 0 = no known use 1 = experimental use

2 = three or more

2 = regular use

___ 5. Current school status 0 = attending regularly or graduated/GED 1 = dropped out of school 2 = expelled, major behavior problems or habitually truant ___ 6. Number of grades behind in school 0 = one or fewer 1 = two or three

2 = four or more

___ 7. Level of parental/guardian control and supervision 0 = Effective: Parent(s) or guardian(s) are concerned and expect the child to attend school, obey the law, and take responsibility for his/her actions. Parents communicate their expectations and provide sanctions for misbehavior and rewards for good behavior. 1 = Inconsistent or ineffective: Parents have expectations for good behavior, but do not provide sanctions for misbehavior or they are inconsistent when they do. Or, the discipline is excessive and does not reasonably address the problem. Includes juveniles who move frequently in and out of foster care or move frequently between foster care parents. 2 = No supervision: Parent(s) are uninvolved and allow the minor to function on his/her own 3 = Contributes to delinquency: The family has a history of involvement in the justice system. Parents resist outside intervention from public agencies. Parents contribute to delinquency by being involved in antisocial behavior themselves. Parents are overprotective and blame other’s for the minor’s delinquent behavior. ___ 8. Peer relationships 0 = good support and influence; associates with non-delinquent friends 2 = not peer oriented or some companions with delinquent orientation 3 = most companions involved in delinquent behavior or gang involvement ___ 9. Current offense 2 = non-assaultive offense (i.e., property, drug, etc.)

0 = all others

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Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale (VERSION III: An Accepted Version) Mississippi Division of Youth Services
Youth’s Name:________________________________ Counselor’s Name:____________________________ Child No. ________________ Date Completed:__________

___ 1. Age of first adjudication or informal sanction for a CHIN or delinquent offense 3 = 11 or under 2 = 12 - 14 1 = 15 0 = 16 or over ___ 2. Total number delinquent, status, and abuse/neglect of referrals to youth court prior to current referral 0 = none 1 = one or two 2 = three or more ___ 3. Number of court ordered/referred out-of-home placements, including training school, shelter or foster care, group home, and residential treatment. 0 = none or one 2 = two or three 3 = four or more

___ 4. History of alcohol and/or drug use based on self report, parent report, or reports from community informants and/or child associates with alcohol/drug using peers 0 = no use in past six months 1 = occasional or suspected use 2 = regular use as defined as use of alcohol/drugs three or more times per month for the past six months ___ 5. Current school status 0 = attending regularly and no behavioral problems 1 = dropped out of school 2 = behind two or more grades or behavioral problems 3 = expelled or major behavioral problems ___ 6. Level of parental/guardian control and supervision 0 = Child lives at home and parent(s) is/are not known to contribute to delinquency. 2 = No supervision: Parent(s) are uninvolved and allow the minor to function on his/her own 3 = Contributes to delinquency: The family has a history of involvement in the justice system. Parents resist outside intervention from public agencies. Parents contribute to delinquency by being involved in antisocial behavior themselves. Parents are overprotective and blame other’s for the minor’s delinquent behavior. ___ 7. Peer relationships 0 = good support and influence; associates with non-delinquent friends 2 = not peer oriented or some companions with delinquent orientation 3 = most companions involved in delinquent behavior or gang involvement ___ 8. Offense severity within past year 0 = none 1 = Category I or II 3 = Category III or IV ___ TOTAL RISK SCORE Risk assessment: 0 - 6

2 = Category I or II occurred within past 6 months

= low risk; 7 - 12

= moderate risk;

13 - 22 = high risk

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Delinquency Risk Assessment Instrument
Jeffrey A. Butts and Paul Demuro Center for the Study of Youth Policy, The University of Michigan February 1989
PLACEMENT: ________ ________ ________ TRAINING SCHOOL RESIDENTIAL WAIVED DATA COLLECTOR: 2. MALE FEMALE NO DK 4. 6. D.O.B.: RACE: HIGHEST GRADE COMPLETED: DATE: SCORE:

COMMITTING COUNTY: 1. 3. 5. 7. 8. FILE #: SEX:

ENROLLED IN SCHOOL: YES

DATE OF CURRENT COMMITMENT:

7a. DATE OF FIRST COMMITMENT:

CURRENT INSTANT OFFENSE WHICH RESULTED IN ADJUDICATION AND PRESENT COMMITMENT:

9.

MOST SERIOUS PRIOR ADJUDICATED OFFENSE:

10. NUMBER OF PRIOR COMMITMENTS: 11. GANG INVOLVEMENT: PRE COMMITMENT POST COMMITMENT YES YES NO NO

WAS GANG INVOLVEMENT DIRECTLY RELATED TO INSTANT OFFENSE YES NO

I.

Severity of Current Offense (Locate offense and its corresponding point value (Column I) on the attached Felony Listing Sheet)

II. Severity of Prior Offense (Locate Offense and its corresponding point value (Column II) on the attached Felony Listing Sheet

III. Number of Prior Commitments for Felonies: Three or more in the last two years (5 pts.)

STABILITY FACTORS IV. Prior Out of Home Court-Ordered Placement as a Result of Adjudication for Delinquent Act: Yes (1 pt.) No (0 pt.) DK

V.

Degree of Drug Involvement: (Assess points only if drugs were directly related to the commission of the instant offense) Crack/Cocaine/Heroine (2 pts.) Alcohol/Marijuana (1 pt.) No Use (0 pt.)

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Delinquency Risk Assessment Instrument (Continued)

Scoring Procedures

Factors in Risk Score Points for Offenses See Scoring of Offenses

Prior Felony Adjudications in Past Two Years

Less than 3 3 or more

0 point 5 points

Youth’s Age at First Commitment

Age 13 or Older Before age 13

0 points 1 point

Prior Out-of-Home Placements (Due to delinquency)

No Yes

0 point 1 point

Instant Offense Directly Related to Drug Use

No to Unknown Yes (Alcohol/Marijuana) Yes (Cocaine/Heroin)

0 point 1 point 2 points

Instant Offense Directly Related to Gang Involvement

No to Unknown Yes

0 point 1 point

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Delinquency Risk Assessment Instrument (Continued)

Scoring of Offenses (Points Awarded)
Points if Instant Offense Points if Prior Offense

Offense Type Status Status Program Violation Misdemeanors Contempt VOP Disorderly Other Misdemeanors Level 3 Felonies Poss Minor Drugs Shoplift Simple Assault Stolen Property Fraud Arson 2/3 Degree Level 2 Felonies Poss Weapons Larceny Burglary Grand Larceny Car Theft Burg/Business B+E Unarmed Robbery Escape Assault Level 1 Felonies Aggravated Assault Armed Robbery Rape/Sex Offense

0 0

0 0

1 2 0 0

0 0 0 0

3 1 1 3 2 3

1 0 0 1 1 1

3 3 5 5 5 5 3 5 3 3

2 1 3 3 3 3 2 3 1 1

10 10 10

7 7 7

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Adolescent Offender Programs

Grantee Community Counseling Services P.O. Box 1188 Starkville, MS 39759

Counties Lowndes Clay

Date Program Operational 1990 1991

Adams County Coalition for Children and Youth P.O. Box 18932 Natchez, MS 39122

Adams

March, 1995

Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources Forrest P.O. Box 1030 Hattiesburg,MS 39401

February, 1995

Region I Mental Health Center P.O. Box 1046 Clarksdale, MS 38614

Coahoma Tunica Quitman Tallahatchie

April, 1995 June, 1995 March, 1996 unknown

Warren-Yazoo Mental Health P.O. Box 820691 Vicksburg, MS 39182

Warren

March, 1995

Region III Mental Health Center 605 Eason Blvd. Tupelo, MS 38801

Lee

January, 1996

Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA 1820 Government St. Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Jackson

November, 1995

Hinds County Human Resources 258 Maddox Road P.O. Box 22657 Jackson, MS 39225

Hinds

January, 1996

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INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES DIVISION OF YOUTH SERVICES

JUVENILE CLASSIFICATION

Table of Contents

Purpose of Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Delinquency Risk Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DRAS Items Definitions and Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 1 1

Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale, Mississippi Division of Youth Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Current Offense Classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Mississippi Youth Services/Placement Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Needs Screening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Scoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Mississippi Delinquency Needs Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Purpose of Manual
The purpose of juvenile classification is to provide rational, consistent and equitable methods of assessing the relative needs and risks of each youth referred to Youth Court and then to set priorities for allocation of DYS resources. Juvenile classification involves the use of objective instruments which group clients based on their likelihood of reoffending and based on their need for interventions and services. These instruments will benefit the Youth Services Counselors by providing disposition and case management guidance. The purpose of this document is to set forth uniform procedures governing the classification process and to provide instruction for the scoring and use of delinquency risk and needs assessment instruments.

Delinquency Risk Assessment
Risk assessment is the process of determining the probability that an individual will repeat an unlawful or destructive behavior. It is an instrument designed to be statistically predictive of an individual’s future delinquency based on past behavior. Procedures The Mississippi Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale (DRAS) will be completed after the initial face-to-face contact with youth and his/her parent, guardian, or custodian. The DRAS will be completed on every CHINS and delinquent referral by the Intake Worker. The completed DRAS will be placed in the client case record. The DRAS score and the severity of current offense will be used to make disposition recommendations to the court (See Mississippi Youth Services/Placement Guide). DRAS Items Definitions and Instructions 1. Age of first adjudication or informal sanction for a CHINS or delinquent offense. The age of youth at the time of the first actual disposition . 2. Total number of delinquent, status, and abuse/neglect referrals to youth court prior to current referral. Only prior referrals are to be counted. 3. Number of court ordered/referred out-of-home placements, including training school, shelter or foster care, group home, and residential treatment. Pre-adjudication detention is not counted. Count only post disposition out -of home placements. -1-

4. History of alcohol and/or drug use based on self report, parent report, or reports from community informants and/or child associates with alcohol/drug using peers. The Intake Worker is expected to collect some information about youths’ recent use of alcohol and other drugs. 5. Current school status. If possible the Intake Worker should verify the reported information regarding school grades, attendance and behavior by checking with the school. 6. Level of parental/guardian control and supervision. The Intake Worker should ask questions about family rules, such as chores and curfew, forms of discipline, youth’s response to discipline, and other relevant questions in order to make a judgement about the level of control and supervision that the parent or guardian provides to the youth. The Intake Worker should also observe the parent-youth interactions during the interview. 7. Peer relationships. The Intake Worker should determine the types of peer(s) with whom the youth associates. Also ask the parent/guardian if he/she knows youth’s associates and approves of these friends. 8. Offense severity within past year. Refer to “Current Offense Classification” in appendix for the level assigned to each offense. Scoring For each item determine best answer and place corresponding number in the blank. Add scores of eight items to obtain total score. The total score falls into a range of either low, moderate, or high risk for reoffending.

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Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale Mississippi Division of Youth Services

Youth’s Name:________________________________ Counselor’s Name:____________________________

Child No. ________________ Date Completed:__________

___ 1. Age of first adjudication or informal sanction for a CHIN or delinquent offense 3 = 11 or under 2 = 12 - 14 1 = 15 0 = 16 or over ___ 2. Total number of delinquent, status, and abuse/neglect referrals to youth court prior to current referral 0 = none 1 = one or two 2 = three or four 3 = five or more ___ 3. Number of court ordered/referred out-of-home placements, including training school, shelter or foster care, group home, and residential treatment. 0 = none 1 = one 2 = two or three 3 = four or more

___ 4. History of alcohol and/or drug use based on self report, parent report, or reports from community informants and/or child associates with alcohol/drug using peers 0 = no use in past six months 1 = occasional or suspected use 2 = regular use as defined as use of alcohol/drugs three or more times per month for the past six months ___ 5. Current school status 0 = attending regularly and no behavioral problems 1 = dropped out of school 2 = behind two or more grades or behavioral problems 3 = expelled or major behavioral problems ___ 6. Level of parental/guardian control and supervision 0 = Child lives at home and parent(s) is/are not known to contribute to delinquency. 2 = No supervision: Parent(s) are uninvolved and allow the minor to function on his/her own 3 = Contributes to delinquency: The family has a history of involvement in the justice system. Parents resist outside intervention from public agencies. Parents contribute to delinquency by being involved in antisocial behavior themselves. Parents are overprotective and blame other’s for the minor’s delinquent behavior. ___ 7. Peer relationships 0 = good support and influence; associates with non-delinquent friends 2 = not peer oriented or some companions with delinquent orientation 3 = most companions involved in delinquent behavior or gang involvement ___ 8. Offense severity within past year 0 = none 1 = Category I or II 3 = Category III or IV

2 = Category I or II occurred within past 6 months

___ TOTAL RISK SCORE Risk assessment: 0 - 6 = low risk; 7 - 12 = moderate risk; 13 - 23 = high risk

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Current Offense Classification

OFFENSE Murder Manslaughter Forcible Rape Robbery, Armed Kidnaping Attempt to commit any of the above Assault: aggravated Car Jacking Robbery: purse snatching by force Robbery: all except purse snatching Assault: simple with injuries simple without injuries Burglary: B and E Motor vehicle theft: all except unauthorized use (joyriding) Weapons Arson Grand Larceny (over $250) Escape Drug possession of cocaine and other narcotics DUI Drug possession with intent to sale, sale or manufacture Drug possession of marijuana Motor vehicle theft: joyriding Forgery and counterfeiting Fraud Embezzlement Stolen property: buying, receiving, possessing Prostitution Sex offense: all except forcible rape and prostitution Contempt of court: parole violation probation violation Larceny (misdemeanor) Vandalism/malicious mischief

REFERRAL CODE 1 2 3 4 or 5 6 4 5 7 8 12 13 14 9 or 10 30 25 28 25 or 26 26 11 15 16 17 18 23 24 29 9 or 10 19 20 21 22 27 34 31 32 33 35 41

LEVEL very serious very serious very serious very serious very serious very serious very serious very serious serious serious serious minor to moderate serious serious serious serious serious serious serious serious serious moderate moderate moderate moderate moderate moderate moderate serious serious moderate minor minor to moderate moderate minor moderate minor minor status/non-offense status/non-offence status/non-offence status/non-offence status/non-offence

CATEGORY IV IV IV IV IV IV IV IV III III III III III III III III III III III III II II II II II II II III III II I depending on the amount of damage II I II I I I I I I I

Disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace Trespassing Drunkenness Gambling Possessing or drinking alcohol Running away Violation of curfew Incorrigible Truancy other status

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Mississippi Youth Services/Placement Guide
The following table was developed by a Task Force of DYS Regional Directors and experienced Youth Services Counselors. Its purpose is to serve as a guide for case disposition and to assure consistency and fairness in the handling of cases. While a formal override system has not yet been developed, it is expected that any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that necessitate deviating from the Guide will be documented in the case record.

RISK*
Severity Current Offense** Status (non-offense) and Minor

Low Warn and release

Medium Informal Supervision, Special services: community work project, restitution, fines, other Court ordered Supervision, Adolescent Offender Program, Wilderness Program Special services Court ordered Supervision, AOP or other community-based program, Electronic Monitoring, DYS Placement/T.S. DYS Placement/T.S. Certify

High Special services, Court ordered Supervision, Wilderness Program or other residential treatment Out of home placement Court ordered Supervision plus AOP, Intensive Supervision, DYS Placement/Training School (T.S.) Intensive Supervision and/or Electronic Monitoring, DYS Placement/Training School DYS Placement/T.S. Certify

Moderate

Special services Court ordered Supervision

Serious

Court ordered Supervision, AOP or other local community-based program Intensive Supervision plus Electronic Monitoring, DYS Placement/T.S.

Very Serious

*

Obtain a risk score by using the Mississippi Division of Youth Services Delinquency Risk Assessment Scale. ** Refer to Current Offense Classification listing to determine the severity of current offense category.

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Needs Screening Needs assessment differs from risk assessment in a number of important ways. Needs assessment addresses the intervention needs of juvenile offenders; risk assessment focuses on the probability of recidivism among various offender sub-populations. The former provides a mechanism through which to determine the types of services needed by delinquent youth; the latter provides a mechanism through which to determine appropriate supervision levels based on potential threat to the community. While probability statements of recidivism are derived through statistical analysis, needs assessment scores are categorical statements identifying and prioritizing the service needs of delinquent juveniles. They are derived primarily through qualitative assessments of a youth’s service needs. In general, a structured and formalized needs assessment process: • • Should focus on the learning of remedial, competency-based skills; Need not only focus on the juvenile, but also on family members and other individuals who play a significant role in the youth’s overall social development; Should lead to an integrated intervention plan for individual juvenile client; and Should be on-going process, occurring over an extended period of time, with the ability to track progress and allow for modification of the intervention plan as necessary.

• •

Besides identifying the service needs of the individual juveniles, a formalized needs assessment process can provide DYS valuable information regarding the aggregate service needs of the client population. This information can be incorporated into the planning process to determine appropriate funding levels to insure that the necessary mix and quantity of services are available. Procedures The Mississippi Delinquency Needs Assessment is a post-dispositional tool, therefore, it is only to be used in cases where adjudication has taken place and a disposition has been ordered, which involves supervision by the Youth Services Counselor. In such cases, the needs assessment instrument will be used to formally document the need for counseling and/or other special services, either provided by DHS programs or provided by other treatment agencies. Scoring In each of the categories, select the value which best describes the juvenile’s and the family’s behavior or level of functioning. While specific definitions for each need category are listed on the form, in general a score of “0” indicates that the juvenile or family is not experiencing any problems in a specific needs category and intervention is not necessary at this time. The higher the value the more serious the difficulties in the specific needs category and some type of intervention is required.

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The total needs assessment score provides the Youth Services Counselor with a sense of how well adjusted the juvenile and family is. The greater the overall score, the greater the likelihood that the youth is experiencing severe difficulties and has multiple problems which need addressing. However, treatment and intervention strategies are best developed by examining these needs categories individually. A low overall needs score does not invariably imply that intervention is unnecessary in any specific area.

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Mississippi Delinquency Needs Assessment
YOUTH NAME (Last Name, First Name, MI) BIRTH DATE WORKER NAME SEX RACE DATE CHILD NUMBER

Select most appropriate answer for each item and add for total score. A. FAMILY NEEDS _____ 1. Substance Abuse 0= No evidence of an alcohol or drug abuse problem with caregiver(s) or other adult household members. 2= One or both caregivers or other adult household members display some alcohol or drug abuse problems resulting in disruptive behavior or causing some discord in family. Caregiver(s) or other household adults may deny there is a problem. 4= One or both caregivers or other adult household members with serious alcohol or drug abuse problems resulting in chronic dysfunction, such as job loss, problems with the law or abusive/destructive behavior. Caregiver(s) or other household adults are not currently receiving treatment. 2. Conflict in Home 0= While conflicts may occur, the home environment is relatively stable; there are no problems which require outside intervention. 1= Lack of cooperation between family members resulting in outside intervention. 2= Current marital or domestic discord resulting in physical or emotional abuse of spouse, partner and/or children. Frequent and/or multiple live-in partners. 3= Domestic violence resulting in the involvement of law enforcement and/or domestic violence programs. Could include repeated history of leaving and returning to abusive spouse, restraining orders, criminal complaints, substantiated child abuse. 3. Living Situations/Finances 0= Suitable living environment and family has adequate resources to meet basic needs of children. 1= Current financial stress which results in family conflict and need for outside assistance. 2= Family has housing, but it does not meet the health/safety needs of the children due to such things as inadequate plumbing, heating, wiring, housekeeping, or size. Serious problems, including nomadic lifestyle, or failure to provide meals or medical care to meet health/safety needs of the children. 4= Family has eviction notice, house has been condemned or is uninhabitable, or family is homeless. 4. Parenting Skills 0= Both caregivers or single caregiver display appropriate parenting patterns which are age appropriate for the child in areas of discipline, expectations, communication, protection and nurturing. 2= Improvement of basic parenting skills in needed by one or more caregivers to effectively control or nurture children; may be evidenced by inconsistent parenting, passive parenting, or parent/child role reversal. 4= One or both caregivers display destructive/abusive parenting patterns.

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5. Disabilities of Caretakers 0= Caregiver(s) have no known physical disabilities, mental illness, emotional problems, or cognitive disabilities that interfere with parenting. 1= Emotional, physical, and/or cognitive disabilities that negatively affect family. 2= Caregiver(s) have ongoing need for formal mental health treatment or have a serious chronic health problem or cognitive disability that seriously impairs ability to provide for youth. 6. Intra-familial Sexual Abuse 0= No known problem or reason to suspect intra-familial sexual abuse. 2= Intra-familial sexual abuse has been alleged but never substantiated. Includes selfreports by youth and abuse suspected by professionals. Professionals are those listed under MS Code 43-21-353 subsection 3. 4= Intra-familial sexual abuse substantiated. 7. Family Criminality 0= No caregiver(s) and/or siblings have been convicted/adjudicated for criminal acts in last ten years. 1= Caregiver(s) and/or siblings have record of convictions/adjudications within the last ten years. 2= One or both caregiver(s) and/or siblings are currently incarcerated. TOTAL FAMILY NEEDS

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B. YOUTH NEEDS _____ 1. Peer Relationships 0= Friendships are basically with non-delinquent friends. Youth exhibits adequate social skills. Uses leisure time constructively. 3= Youth’s peer group is detrimental to goal-achievement, or youth lacks social skills, has few positive interactions with peers. Leisure time is not used productively. 5= Peers are delinquent and exploitive; most activities are with groups having a strong delinquent orientation including but not limited to gang involvement. 2. School Behavior/Adjustment 0= Attending, graduated or has GED. For those attending, there is no history of attendance and/or behavior problems. 1= Occasional attendance, work effort or disciplinary problems that were handled at home/school. 3= Truancy or severe school behavior problems which require outside intervention. 4= Youth is not attending school or has been expelled. 3. Intellectual/Educational Deficits 0= Age-appropriate functioning; average or above functional intelligence. 1= Below average intelligence but functioning at capacity. 2= Average or above intelligence but functioning below expected age/grade level. 4= Youth is determined or ruled as requiring special education services. 4. Vocational Education/Employment 0= Employed or no need to be employed. 1= Unemployed or underemployed; some vocational interests, needs training. 2= Unemployed; lacks skills and vocational interests.

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5. Substance Abuse 0= No evidence of alcohol or drug use. 1= Experimentation with alcohol or drugs but no indication of sustained use. 3= Some alcohol of drug abuse problems, indicated by use that results in prolonged disruptive behavior and/or causes some discord in family or school. 5= Serious alcohol or drug abuse problems with serious disruption of functioning, such as loss of job, removal/dropping out of school, problems with the law, and/or physical harm to self or others. 6. Emotional Stability 0= Appropriate adolescent response; no apparent dysfunction; appears well adjusted. 3= Periodic or sporadic responses which limit but do not prohibit adequate functioning such as aggressive acting out, withdrawal, mild symptoms of depression, anxiety, neurosis. 5= Excessive responses which prohibit or severely limit adequate functioning. Clear diagnosis of problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal gestures. 7. History of Abuse/Neglect as a Victim 0= No history or indication of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect. 1= Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect alleged but never substantiated. 2= Substantiated physical or emotional abuse or neglect. 4= Substantiated sexual abuse. 8. Sexual Behavior 0= No indicators of inappropriate sexual behavior. 3= Inappropriate expressions of sexuality. 5= Uses sexual expression/behaviors to attain power and control over others, harming and/or instilling fear in the victim. 9. Parenting Skills 0= Appropriate skills or not applicable. 2= Improvement/skill building needed. 3= Destructive/abusive parenting. 10. Life Skills 0= Take responsibility for daily living skills or not applicable as youth is not expected to live on his/her own in the near future. 1= Able to live independently, some daily living skills deficits. 2= Unable to live independently, needs training/skill building on tasks of daily living. 11. Health/Hygiene 0= No apparent problem. 1= Youth has medical, dental, or health education needs. 2= Youth has physical handicap or chronic illness which limits functioning. TOTAL YOUTH NEEDS TOTAL SCORE (Both A and B) 0 - 15= Low Need; 16 - 25= Medium Need; 26 - Above = High Need

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Identified needs which were not ranked by this form.

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