Ohio Organizations Pushing for More Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Data

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Juvenile justice groups throughout Ohio are advocating for the creation of a more comprehensive statewide juvenile justice data system that would track more than just the number of cases being handled.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, each Ohio county has its own method of how it collects data, what it collects and the way it tracks data related to juvenile cases.  The state Supreme Court requires each county court to collect and report basic information about the number of delinquency cases heard each year and how many have been cleared.

However, the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio and the Ohio Juvenile Justice Alliance want an improved system across the state. Erin Davies, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio, said the issue with the current data that is being collected is there are no demographics, ages, race or ethnicity listed in the cases, according to the article.

Juveniles accused of crimes in Columbus likely would be handled in the Franklin County Juvenile Court. Franklin County is one of eight counties in the state that will join the national Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The goal of the initiative is to reduce unnecessary detention of juveniles, and that is based heavily on analyzing data collection. According to the article, Franklin County soon will upgrade its technology to have a better tracking system, which could begin in approximately 18 months.

In Ohio, juvenile offenders could be labeled juvenile delinquents. These generally are children who violate the laws of Ohio or federal laws that would be an offense if committed by an adult, except a juvenile traffic offender according to Ohio Revised Code § 2152.02.

Juveniles who commit certain acts at certain ages, but who are not transferred to an adult court for the offense, could be considered serious youthful offenders under Ohio Revised Code § 2152.02. These offenders could be taken into custody and either brought to a detention center or released to a guardian.

A date for an adjudicatory hearing must be set within 72 hours of the child being detained. At this hearing, the court will determine if the juvenile has violated a law that would be an offense as adult and if the juvenile is required to be held in a detention center.

Juveniles have the right to have an attorney present throughout the proceedings and when they present their case to a judge. They can use evidence and witnesses to present their defense in the case. After an adjudicatory hearing, the juvenile judge will hold a hearing to determine a sentence.

Tracking the information related to juvenile cases could be important in learning beneficial ways to reform these offenders. Rather than simply punishing someone convicted of a crime, the juvenile system focuses or rehabilitation. This data could be informative as to the best ways to do it.

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