The County Voice

Santa Cruz County Pilots CSAC Support Hub Juvenile Hall Analytics Tool

In 2019, the CSAC Support Hub for Criminal Justice Programming developed and piloted an analytics tool for juvenile hall facilities utilization with Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara Counties. Using this analytics tool, Santa Cruz County is now examining how COVID-19 has impacted juvenile hall bookings, lengths of stay, and alternatives to detention to improve community intervention programs in the future.

With juvenile hall bookings down 60 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Cruz County is using the analytics tool to determine what community supports are influencing the change in order to sustain this declining rate as the County and the state recover. The County is combining citation data from its intake unit with data from the juvenile hall analytics tool to pinpoint those communities where county services like probation have helped support at-risk kids and their families, as evidenced by declining rates of juvenile hall facility utilization.

“Santa Cruz County is coming together to support its families, and the CSAC Support Hub juvenile facilities analytics tool provides powerful insight into the collective impacts of our efforts,” said Rob Doty, Juvenile Services Division Director for Probation. “The data will allow us to lift up those communities where we have seen success and apply those proven strategies in more areas of the county and share them with the wider criminal justice community.”

In criminal justice circles, common wisdom may hold that changes in policing have led to the decline, but Santa Cruz County Probation believes the “collective impact” of services in the county is the deciding factor. To know for sure, the county is combining citation data from its intake unit with data from the juvenile hall analytics tool to pinpoint those communities where county services like probation have helped support at-risk kids and their families, as evidenced by declining rates of juvenile hall facility utilization. 

“We want to identify what’s working so we can sustain these positive changes and not wait until things return to normal,” said Valerie Thompson, Assistant Chief of Probation, responsible for the oversight of the Juvenile Division and Juvenile Hall. Ongoing technical assistance provided by the CSAC Support Hub will help Santa Cruz County do just that.

The CSAC Support Hub is working to make other resources available to counties who want to use data and evidence to inform their practices in on juvenile justice. For more information on the CSAC Support Hub please contact Diana Medina, Project Manager at dmedina@counties.org.

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