Indiana Kicks Off Comprehensive Juvenile Justice System Review

August 31, 2021

On August 16, the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana, along with leaders from Indiana’s legislative, executive and judicial branches, launched a comprehensive, data-driven review of Indiana’s juvenile justice system. The bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force will analyze the state’s youth justice system landscape and identify policy changes to promote positive outcomes for Indiana youth and strengthen public safety.

This effort builds upon an earlier assessment that focused on examining Indiana’s juvenile justice data collection capabilities and identifying priorities for improvement.

During the launch meeting, the task force established four different issue-specific working groups based on the identified priorities, made up of multiple stakeholders within Indiana’s juvenile justice system. These groups are tasked with identifying recommendations that can be brought to the task force for consideration and consensus approval and will be later used to develop legislation.

The review will be conducted as part of the national Improving Outcomes for Youth (IOYouth) initiative, which helps states and local jurisdictions align their policies and practices with research on what works to reduce recidivism, maintain public safety, and improve youth outcomes, like future education and employment. Co-chaired by Indiana state Rep. Wendy McNamara and Sen. Michael Crider, the task force is composed of leaders from the state’s education, child and family services, and corrections departments; local juvenile justice officials; judiciary members; attorneys; law enforcement representatives; and advocates, among others.

The CSG Justice Center will guide the task force in analyzing juvenile justice data and developing recommendations that will be translated into legislation next session.

What They’re Saying:

“We are committed to proactively improving our system, through research and evidence, to advance positive change for Indiana’s youth,” said Loretta Rush, Chief Justice of Indiana.

“This initiative is critical to strengthening and improving Indiana’s juvenile justice system. Through the work of this task force, our goal is to advance positive changes for our state’s troubled youth, reduce recidivism rates and ultimately improve public safety,” said Rep. Wendy McNamara.

“This task force represents a profound opportunity for juvenile justice reform. Through bipartisan collaboration and studying the best available research and data, we can begin to build a better system that provides youth with the critical services and support they require for success, while ensuring our state’s resources are being used efficiently and effectively,” said Sen. Michael Crider.

“Working together, we can improve youth outcomes and accountability, which will ultimately protect public safety by reducing the number of children coming into contact with the justice system in the first place,” said Julie Whitman, Executive Director of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana.


Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash.

About the Author

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Deputy Division Director, Corrections and Reentry
Nina Salomon oversees the Improving Outcomes for Youth Statewide Juvenile Justice Initiative, supporting states to develop, adopt, and implement legislative reforms. Nina was a lead author of the School Discipline Consensus Report, and leads the organization's efforts to improve educational outcomes
for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. Previously, she was a policy advisor at EducationCounsel LLC, a national policy and legal consulting firm, where she provided assistance to clients at state education agencies, school districts, and national organizations to advance policy change. As an investment associate at The Chicago Public Education Fund, Nina conducted due diligence on prospective investments and managed projects to ensure they achieved performance benchmarks. She also conducted research and wrote policy briefs and funding guides to support charter schools and youth development programs and worked in government relations for a national youth development organization. Nina earned a BA in political science from The George Washington University and an MSEd in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
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