Examining the Capacity of the Juvenile Justice System in Wyandotte County’s Judicial District #29
The juvenile justice system for JD #29 in Wyandotte County was examined with the aim of enhancing the capacity to systematically collect and use data to inform decision-making. The ThrYve Youth Justice Initiative served as the convener with the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas to collaboratively engage 71 multisector stakeholders. Support was provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) Juvenile Service Division and the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Although some progress has been made through local and state efforts to support juvenile justice reform, racial and ethnic disparities are experienced in the system at each stage, particularly for Black youth. There are also some persistent disparities for Hispanic youth, particularly males. By examining the data, it was identified that the disparities in initial contact with the juvenile justice system (e.g., 1.5 to twice as many arrests of Black youth arrested as White) remain steady with similar disparities in rates of detention, prosecution, sentencing to correctional facilities, and recidivism. There have also been notable reductions in rates of arrest, detention, and cases received by the DA in recent years.
In addition, the Youth Justice Toolkit was developed as an online resource to enhance the capacity of juvenile justice system partners to plan and support systems improvements.