Performance Management in the Juvenile Justice System

You are here


Stoneleigh Foundation / District Attorney's Office





Organization Overview:

Two of the most frequently discussed challenges among juvenile justice stakeholders are the lack of reliable data and the absence of protocols for using data to improve outcomes for youth. Without standardized information on youth in the juvenile justice system or a robust understanding about the efficacy of the services they are receiving, efforts to improve outcomes for system-involved youth are significantly hampered.

After a decade of working with young people in community-based supervision programs in Philadelphia, Adam Serlin developed a custom performance management system to track the numbers, characteristics, and outcomes of the young people in his care, as well as the efficacy of his program’s services. This information led to improvements in service delivery, new strategies for youth engagement, and better youth outcomes.

Through his Stoneleigh Fellowship, Adam is partnering with The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to develop and further implement performance management tools and strategies to help establish data-informed practices that address the needs of juvenile justice stakeholders who express interest in leveraging their data to better serve youth.

The goals of Adam’s Stoneleigh Fellowship are two-fold:

  • Identify gaps in information and implement data solutions. Adam will work with system stakeholders to align their data collection and outcome standards, and to design tailored technology and management solutions.
  • Sustain and expand his performance management approach. Adam will work with stakeholders to build an infrastructure for data-informed performance management systems, develop potential policy recommendations, and collect lessons and best practices to help replicate the model in other jurisdictions.

A capstone student would work closely with Adam on a project of student interest as described below.

Project Name:

Performance Management in the Juvenile Justice System
Project Type: 
Data Analysis; Policy Research; Performance Management

Project Overview:

Fels Lab students will have the opportunity to work with Adam through a variety of different projects depending on student interest. Capstone opportunities can include, but not be limited to: 1) implementation of public sector data-informed performance management processes, 2) data analytics, and 3) criminal justice policy research.

Options outlined below (there is likely to be crossover between options based upon project and student interest):

Implementation of Public Sector Data-Informed Performance Management Processes: Interested students could work to help integrate data collection and analytic processes into the daily operations of juvenile justice stakeholders. Specific projects may vary based upon timeline of implementation and student interest, but all will involve establishing and normalizing processes and forums for stakeholders to use data to inform and improve their daily practices. Projects will focus on a specific process or intervention, work to establish logic models and baseline metrics, implement regular forums for data-informed review, and demonstrate progress towards improving an end outcome.

Criminal Justice Policy Research: Interested students could work with Adam and partner stakeholder to select a relevant juvenile justice policy issue, collect and examine relevant stakeholder data, complete academic research to couch this data within local and national trends, and produce a final capstone report including policy and practice recommendations aligned with both established best practices as well as targeted innovations.

Data Analytics: Students particularly interested in data and analytics can focus their capstone project on helping Adam build and analyze data systems to track juvenile justice outcomes. In particular, students with a strong statistics background could have a great experience in confirming both structural database logic and data accuracy, as well as establishing models to test for statistical significance. Final capstone projects would include innovations to existing data systems and developments in stakeholders’ capacity for statistical modeling (as well as accompanying reports).  

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326