Report 2011-129 Recommendations and Responses in 2014-041

Report 2011-129: Juvenile Justice Realignment: Limited Information Prevents a Meaningful Assessment of Realignment's Effectiveness

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2013-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Board of State and Community Corrections 2 8 8 8 8
Department of Justice 2 3 2 2 0

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To improve the usefulness of its reports so that they can be used to assess the outcomes of realignment, if the Legislature chooses not to change the law as suggested, or if the counties are unable to report countywide statistics, the board should discontinue comparing outcomes for juveniles who receive block grant services to those who do not in its reports.

Response

Historically, the YOBG annual reports have included data comparing outcomes for juveniles who received block grant services to those who did not. Given the structure of the YOBG program, this is one of the few ways we have had to present outcomes. Although the BSCC has heretofore disagreed with this recommendation, it is anticipated that the work of the JJDWG will result in at least partial implementation. Since the JJDWG is mandated to recommend a plan for improving the reporting requirements for YOBG with an eye toward streamlining and consolidating current requirements without sacrificing meaningful data collection, it is likely that the current requirements will be replaced in the near future. The first meeting of the working group has been set for October 9, 2014 and the recommended plan is due by April 30, 2015.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To maximize the usefulness of the information it makes available to stakeholders and to increase accountability, the board should consider verifying the counties' data by conducting regular site visits on a rotating basis or by employing other procedures to verify data that counties submit.

Response

As noted previously, the JJDWG will begin meeting October 9, 2014. We are eager to receive the recommendations out of this group and will be reconsidering the State Auditor's above concern in light of those recommendations.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To increase the amount of juvenile justice data the counties make available to the public, the board should work with counties on how best to report these data.

Response

In establishing the new JJDWG, the Legislature mandated broad representation from the membership. The working group will begin meeting in October and is charged with analyzing the capacities and limitations of the data systems and networks used to collect and report state and local juvenile caseload and outcome data. As such, we expect the work of the JJDWG to inform our consideration of changes to county reporting of juvenile justice data.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To assist the Legislature in its effort to revise state law to specify the intended goals of juvenile justice realignment, the board should work with stakeholders to propose performance outcome goals to use to measure the success of realignment.

Response

The new JJDWG, which will begin meeting on October 9, 2014, is comprised of stakeholders representing a variety of disciplines and jurisdictions. Since the work group is required to review YOBG reporting requirements, we expect their work will help shape future performance outcome goals.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To ensure that counties do not maintain excessive balances of unexpended block grant funds, the board should develop procedures to monitor counties' unspent funds and follow up with them if the balances become unreasonable.

Response

Since there were no YOBG reporting requirements during 2008-09 and 2009-10, data to assess county levels of unspent funds is incomplete. In 2010, reporting requirements were enacted and BSCC began collecting expenditure data from counties. Appendicies D and E of BSCC's March 2013 and March 2014 legislative reports show planned versus actual expenditures for each county. BSCC does not plan to develop anything further in this area, pending recommendations from the JJDWG.

This topic invites an important reminder about the changed nature of public safety since enactment of YOBG. Given today's post-realignment and post-Proposition 30 world, it is essential to allow counties the flexibility to manage their funds in accordance with local needs and priorities. Indeed, Proposition 30 clearly stated "The [realignment] legislation shall provide local agencies with maximum flexibility and control over the design, administration, and delivery of Public Safety Services..." (Section 36(a)(2) of Article XIII of the California Constitution) For the purposes of this section, Public Safety Services is defined (in part) as "... providing housing, treatment and services for, and supervision of, juvenile and adult offenders." (Section 36(a)(1) of Article XIII of the California Constitution)

Should the recommendations of the JJDWG support a change in direction, the BSCC would re-evaluate the State Auditor's suggestion at that time.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To maximize the usefulness of the information it makes available to stakeholders and to increase accountability, the board should publish performance outcome and expenditure data for each county on its Web site and in its annual reports.

Response

BSCC partially adopted this recommendation and presented county level expenditure data in its legislative reports dated March 15, 2013 and March 15, 2014. During the course of the audit, BSCC's website did not contain any county level data. Today, there are summaries posted of all counties' planned expenditures for fiscal year 2014-15. The latest legislative report is also posted online.

Regarding performance outcome data, BSCC does not intend to implement CSA's recommendation. Implementing the recommendation would in some instances result in publishing outcome results in a given year for a given county based on one juvenile. It is difficult to comprehend how this information could be useful for purposes of assessing trends within and between counties, especially when one considers that a majority of counties (approximately 30) report outcome results based on five or fewer juveniles. Indeed, in Table 5 of CSA's report, the performance outcome results reported for Yuba County are based on only two juveniles. Furthermore, on page 21 of CSA's report the reader is warned about drawing conclusions about the differences between Los Angeles County and Sacramento County with respect to offenders who received YOBG-funded services versus offenders who did not receive YOBG-funded services given that Los Angeles County spends more of its YOBG funds on high risk offenders, while Sacramento County uses YOBG funds on juvenile offenders at various risk levels. Consistent with our stance on this issue, CSA's admonition seems contrary to reporting performance outcome results by county for purposes of assessing trends within and between counties.

The above concerns notwithstanding, the BSCC is uncertain how performance outcome reporting may change based on recommendations of the JJDWG and is prepared to re-evaluate this recommendation in light of any changes to said reporting.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To maximize the usefulness of the information it makes available to stakeholders and to increase accountability, the board should create policies and procedures that include clear, comprehensive guidance to counties about all aspects of performance outcome and expenditure reporting. At a minimum, such guidance should include specifying how counties should define when a juvenile has received a service and whether certain services, such as training, should qualify as serving juveniles.

Response

As noted in our original response to the audit report, BSCC past practice has been to provide training to county personnel responsible for submitting data. In addition, BSCC has also made available a "user's manual" to guide those responsible for data submission. This has not been possible for the YOBG program due to staffing and budgetary constraints. Consequently, instructions are incorporated into all reporting forms and those instructions have been updated where possible to address the concerns of the State Auditor.

Since the reporting requirements are likely to change in the very near future, the BSCC is looking toward the opportunity to more fully implement this recommendation based upon the new direction charted by the JJDWG. The JJDWG recommendations are due by April 30, 2015; action on this recommendation would commence thereafter.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: State and Community Corrections, Board of

To improve the usefulness of its reports so that they can be used to assess the outcomes of realignment, the board should work with counties and relevant stakeholders, such as the committee that established performance outcome measures for the block grant, to determine the data that counties should report. To minimize the potential for creating a state mandate, the board should take into consideration the information that counties already collect to satisfy requirements for other grants.

Response

On June 20, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1468, establishing the California Juvenile Justice Data Working Group (JJDWG). This working group has specified representation and is charged with analyzing the capacities and limitations of the data systems and networks used to collect and report state and local juvenile caseload and outcome data.

The most immediate requirement of the JJDWG is that it recommend a plan for improving the current juvenile justice reporting requirements for the Youthful Offender Block Grant (YOBG) and the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA). Specifically, the group is directed by law to look toward streamlining and consolidating current requirements without sacrificing meaningful data collection. Although the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) had previously hoped the Juvenile Justice Standing Committee would be able to assist it in moving forward on implementing some of the State Auditor's recommendations, that did not happen. However, in light of the legal mandate accompanying the JJDWG, we are confident these issues will begin to be tackled. The first meeting of the JJDWG has been set for October 9, 2014 and their recommended plan is due by April 30, 2015.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: unknown
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: Justice, Department of

To ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data the counties submit into the Juvenile Court and Probation Statistical System (JCPSS), Justice should follow its procedure to send annual summaries of the JCPSS data to the counties for review and to conduct occasional field audits of the counties' records.

Response

Summaries for the calendar year 2013 data were sent out on March 25, 2014 to all 58 counties and responses from the 56 counties participating in JCPSS affirmed their data by mid-April 2014. (Del Norte and Sierra Counties do not submit data to JCPSS.)

In early May 2014, the DOJ's Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC), in conjunction with the CPOC's Training Committee, developed an audit questionnaire related to JCPSS data entry.

In mid-May 2014, the DOJ's Client Services Program, which conducts audits on behalf of the Department's various Programs, performed a desk audit of 10 randomly selected probation departments using the audit questionnaire in order to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data being submitted into the JCPSS. As a result, all probation departments completed and returned the audit questionnaire with only one probation department answering one of the audit questions incorrectly. Consequently, the CJSC contacted this particular probation department via telephone regarding this error and has provided training to ensure their data entry into JCPSS is correct.

DOJ will perform a desk audit of an additional 10 randomly selected probation departments in November 2014 to meet the semi-annual commitment discussed in DOJ's November 20, 2013 response. Subsequently, DOJ will address and resolve any outstanding issues identified via the audit.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: May 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Recommendation To: Justice, Department of

To ensure that its criminal history system contains complete and accurate data related to juvenile offenders, Justice should implement a procedure similar to the one it employs for the JCPSS to verify the accuracy of information the counties submit.

Response

The Hawkins Data Center (HDC) provided juvenile cycle data and the first data sampling was completed in May 2014. DOJ sampled 50 cycles and identified four cycles, or 8% that were updated with incorrect disposition codes. In each case, the juvenile record cycles were updated with the same incorrect adult disposition code instead of the appropriate corresponding juvenile disposition code. All of the cycles sampled were corrected to reflect the appropriate juvenile disposition codes. Staff responsible were made aware of the errors, reminded to use juvenile disposition codes on juvenile cycles, and provided with the list of new juvenile disposition codes in a staff meeting. DOJ will produce another sampling of 50 juvenile cycles in November 2014.

To ensure that DOJ's criminal history system contains complete and accurate data for juvenile offenders, the HDC provided statistics from the Department's ACHS showing agencies with a decline in juvenile disposition submissions for an eight month period.

Using these statistics, the CJSC identified a group of Juvenile Courts which showed declined submissions and contacted them via telephone/email to determine the reason for the decline. All of the Juvenile Courts contacted either did not know why there was a decrease in submissions or suggested that the decline is likely a result of new juvenile filings having decreased and/or their courts being under staffed.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: May 2014
  • Response Date: September 2014

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2014-041