COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There’s limited information available about what happens to thousands of juveniles who end up in the Ohio justice system, according to a newly released report by the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio.
Few of the state’s 88 juvenile court systems keep comprehensive data on juveniles who pass through their doors, and less than half of the courts contacted by the nonprofit had a publicly available report on their cases, according to the new report.
Under state law, each court is required to prepare those reports annually and file them no later than June. The nonprofit has called on the state to implement a comprehensive juvenile justice data collection system for Ohio. According to the report, 95 percent of the unruly and delinquency cases in the state aren’t comprehensively tracked by any entity.
“We’re spending millions of dollars — we don’t even know how many million — on juvenile justice without knowing if we’re getting what we’re paying for,” Erin Davies, the coalition’s executive director, told The Columbus Dispatch.
Of the juvenile court systems that did publish annual reports, only 13 had data on how many minors were charged with misdemeanors and felonies, according to the report.
“How can we not know what happens to youth in Ohio’s courts?” coalition organizer Amber Evans told Cleveland.com. “Communities have to know how courts are truly keeping them safe.”
The report also found that spending on juvenile court systems varies widely from county to county, ranging last year from $116,000 to $45 million.