// black kids // white kids

Data Matters

Because data to understand and describe the workings of Massachusetts’ juvenile justice system is not consistently collected or made public, it is often difficult to determine whether it is fair or effective. As you can see from the chart below, some agencies (such as the Department of Youth Services) regularly publish data and make it available, while others (such as District Attorneys and the Juvenile Court) do not.

As noted throughout the JJ System Primer, due to lack of publicly available data, some calculations are the author’s best estimates based on currently available information, indicating the type of data quality.

It does not have to be this way. Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice is leading the way in public-facing visualizations for state-level juvenile justice. They collect data that many Massachusetts government entities currently fail to collect, or choose not to share, and they have built up the internal capacity to share some great reports.