SUCCESS Story: Juvenile Justice Services Youth Recidivism Rate Declining 

Colby Oliverson Newsletters, Success Stories

Historically, more than half of youth served by Utah’s Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) reoffend within one year of their original offense; however, recent data indicate this is no longer the case.


In April 2018, JJS and GOMB embarked on an intensive effort using the SUCCESS framework to reduce the risk of youth recidivism by 25% by 2021.


JJS redesigned both the early intervention and custody systems with numerous improvements using key strategies that include:

  1. Generate capacity for staff to have the time to focus on serving youth that need it most
  2. Apply new capacity to reduce youth risk of reoffending by providing a concentrated dosage of evidence-based treatment to change mindset and behavior in a timely manner
  3. Strengthen home environments so youth are more likely to be successful at home

System Changes

The infographic below illustrates how the system was changed:



Since implementing improvements, including realigning staffing ratios and tasks, more than 1100 additional hours have been freed up to focus staff on delivering youths 12 hours of treatment a week for positive, sustainable change. The number of reported assaults has decreased by 50% and family satisfaction with JJS services has increased by 26%. But most impressively, youths leaving JJS custody are less likely to reoffend as indicated by a 31% reduction in their average risk scores. These successes, coupled with statutory reforms, have helped free up  $4.9 million to be reinvested in evidence-based early intervention services, or Youth Services Model.

Congratulations and thank you to the JJS team for achieving breakthrough results and better serving Utah youth, families, and taxpayers!