The Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative (JJRRI) aimed to reform juvenile justice through the use of evidence-based tools: risk assessment, dispositional matrices, and the SPEPTM system for rating program effectiveness. In combination, these tools were envisioned to improve dispositional decisions, reduce disparities, and drive continuous quality improvement in services.
Implementation proved slower than hoped, largely because deficiencies were uncovered in risk assessment processes and data. JJRRI then helped motivate improvements to those systems. Implementation sites also involved considerable technical assistance. Despite these implementation issues, JJRRI’s approach to harnessing evidence through evidence-based tools seems to have considerable potential to uncover and remediate deficiencies in existing systems and processes, use evidence to bolster stakeholder support, and ultimately improve juvenile justice practice and effectiveness.