- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 12, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - In a story July 12 about Nevada getting federal help to study its state juvenile justice system, The Associated Press erroneously reported the number youths incarcerated in the state. The Nevada Division of Child & Family Services says the number is 198, not 231, as it previously reported.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Nevada getting federal help to study state juvenile justice

State officials are acknowledging they don’t know whether Nevada’s juvenile justice programs meet current standards, but say they expect that’ll change with federal help for a sweeping review of how youthful offenders are treated


Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Top state officials acknowledged Tuesday they don’t know whether Nevada’s juvenile justice programs meet current standards, but said they expect that’ll change with federal help for a sweeping review of youthful offender treatment.

Gov. Brian Sandoval headed officials announcing that the nonprofit, nonpartisan Council of State Governments Justice Center will head the study and make recommendations that the state Legislature can take up next year.

State Republican Assembly Speaker John Hambrick hailed the effort as a step toward providing lawmakers with what he called “the hard data necessary to craft meaningful policy and to improve accountability and transparency toward how these funds are used.”

The Republican governor named a task force to accept the report and said he was grateful that Nevada was the only state picked for the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention program.

Sandoval noted that the number of youths at detention centers in Elko, Caliente and Mount Charleston outside Las Vegas is at its lowest level in 10 years.

As of February, there were 198 youths age 12-21 being detained for delinquent behavior or mental health treatment in the state Juvenile Justice Services, an aide to the governor said.

Another 334 were being supervised in the youth parole system, which has offices in Las Vegas, Reno, Elko, Fallon and Carson City.

An American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada official said her organization has been calling for such a reckoning for at least four years.

“There have been a lot of problems when it comes to systems in place for tracking kids and the facilities themselves,” said Holly Welborn, ACLU policy chief in Reno. “We’re pleased that treatment of juveniles is getting attention.”

Welborn said Nevada addressed some problems with state laws in 2013 that limited the use of solitary confinement for juveniles, and in 2015 that ended life without parole for most juveniles sentenced as an adult.

“The evidence is uncontroverted at this point that the development of a juvenile brain is different than that of an adult,” she said.

A statement from Sandoval’s office said the state and most of its 17 counties don’t currently track recidivism rates. It said that leaves lawmakers, judges and juvenile justice administrators unable to determine whether resources are being used effectively and whether the state meets research and evidence-based practices.

The state spent $28 million last year on juvenile justice, and Clark and Washoe counties spend a combined $61 million a year on community supervision and services, the statement said.

But, “Nevada lacks sufficient data to determine whether its juvenile justice programs and services are cost effective and aligned with research and evidence-based practices,” it said.

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