With the backing of the U.S. Department of Justice, Nevada will get a comprehensive review of its juvenile justice system.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said Nevada is the only state to get the award from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention office. The review will be led by the Statewide Juvenile Justice Improvement Initiative Task Force. Retiring Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta and First Lady Kathleen Sandoval, Director of Operations for the Reno-based Children’s Cabinet, will chair the task force.
Between 2006 and 2014, officials say Nevada saw a 47 percent decrease in juvenile arrests and a 54 percent reduction in commitments to the Division of Child and Family Services. But the state lacks the data to determine whether juvenile justice programs and services are cost effective.
“We’re spending millions of dollars on juvenile justice without a clear picture of whether this investment follows best practices and sets these kids up for success,” said Assembly Speaker John Hambrick of Las Vegas, who’s also on the task force.
“Having access to this data will help us make sure that no child falls through the cracks,” said First Lady Kathleen Sandoval. “For the first time we will be able to see what is working and where we can do better.”
The analysis work will be conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Council of State Government’s Justice Center and will develop policy changes and recommendations for the 2017 Nevada Legislature.