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The 2014 State of Juvenile Justice Report provides a snapshot of the juvenile justice system in Nebraska, with a specific focus on the current legislative context and an examination of three key points in the system: diversion, probation, and detention.

Trends within the juvenile justice system should be analyzed against the backdrop of statewide shifts that are a result of legislative mandates. In particular, Legislative Bill 561 has altered the juvenile justice landscape. Passed in 2013, LB 561 required communities to use programs aligned with evidence-based practices or best practices, with the goal of diverting youth out of the formal system and reducing the number of youth in detention.

The new emphasis on evidence-based practices highlights a commitment to identifying programs and reforms that are truly effective. Reform efforts of this magnitude require time to allow for evaluation assessment, careful implementation of revised programming, and re-evaluation.

The Juvenile Justice Institute (JJI) is committed to following these reform efforts and conducting ongoing evaluations of Nebraska’s progress. JJI is a research unit within the University of Nebraska Omaha’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. JJI provides technical assistance and completes policy and program evaluations for state and local agencies, as well as private organizations. JJI also partners with policymakers, practitioners, and criminal justice faculty to explore the most effective and practical juvenile justice strategies and programs.

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