Juvenile and Adult Court Records


Abstract

Juvenile and Adult Court Records captures crimes for which study youth were arrested, adjudicated, diverted at the intake level, or brought before the magistrate. Each record in the unscored adjudication dataset represents a court case. If a study youth has not had contact with the court system, he or she still has one observation in the dataset and the adjudication date for that record is coded as “skip”.

For each court case, details about each offense are coded as well as information about the sentencing associated with the case. The variables include:

  • Type of Court (juvenile or adult court system)
  • Date of Adjudication when the case was decided
  • Offense Name as reported in the court documents
  • Crime Sum are multiple charges often associated with the same crime
  • Offense Type describes the type of offense committed
  • Severity Codes indicate the severity of the offense
  • Docket Number assigned to each offense
  • Date of Offense when committed
  • If an offense was reduced before or at the trial, the Offense Reduced To captures the new, reduced sentence
  • Reduced Offense Type for those offenses that were reduced
  • Reduced Offense Severity Code of the reduced offense
  • Disposition of the Offense (guilty, not guilty, diverted, dismissed, postponed, missing)
  • Details Regarding the Sentence if adjudicated or diverted (also includes type and length of sentence)

From the original unscored adjudication dataset, an unscored offense level dataset was created. Each offense from the original adjudication level dataset becomes an observation in this new unscored dataset (jcd_unscored_off).

From this offense level dataset, a scored dataset is constructed with one observation for each study child. First, probation violations and minor traffic violations are are omitted due to potential inconsistencies in reporting across sites. Then only the most severe offense from each adjudication date was retained to avoid inflating the number of offenses committed.

Summary variables were constructed to capture information about the most severe offenses across all adjudication records in a given year. Summary scales are created separately for juvenile and adult arrests. The summary scales are first separated by severity level and then combined across severity levels.

In addition to summary measures capturing offenses within a single study year, lifetime summary scales are also created.

Probation violations were supposed to be recorded in the same record (adjudication date) as the original offense with the “crime sum” number corresponding to the original crime. Unfortunately, this was difficult in practice. The final scored dataset excludes probation violations due to inconsistencies in how they were recorded across time and sites.

If a youth who was given diversion does not fulfill all the diversion requirements and is then given additional ones, these diversions were supposed to be added to the original diversion requirements.

If a youth commits another crime while on diversion and he comes back to the intake officer or magistrate and it is decided to give him more diversion, a new record with a new intake date or magistrate appearance as the adjudication date was supposed to be entered.

Unfortunately, this practice was difficult to implement. This is part of the reason why Fast Track analyzes only the most severe offense within any adjudication date.

Dataset Names

Raw Dataset Name: JCD
Scored Dataset Name: JCDySCc

Keywords

Type of Court, Date of Adjudication, Offense Name, Offense Type