Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    Mostly state operated

  • Detention

    Mostly state operated

  • Probation

    State operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

Delinquency services are centralized in Florida. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) administers probation, reentry, and commitment to state facilities. Juvenile probation officers solely supervise youth, as opposed to carrying caseloads with adults and youth. Probation and aftercare services, called “conditional release” in Florida, fall under the DJJ’s Probation and Community Intervention Office.

Secure detention facilities are administered by the DJJ as well, with the exception of Marion, Polk, and Seminole counties which have locally administered detention facilities.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) administers commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities and aftercare services for youth leaving those facilities.

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

Pre-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is not allowed in Florida's juvenile correctional facilities.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

Release decisions for youth committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) are made by committing courts. DJJ makes a recommendation for release to the juvenile court; however a youth cannot be released from a residential program without the approval of the committing court. Release from a residential program is based on the youth’s completion of the goals and objectives in his or her individualized treatment plan. The Residential Positive Achievement Change Tool (R-PACT), is utilized to develop a Youth Needs Assessment that will effectively identify those risk/needs and protective factors from which specific interventions are developed. These interventions make up what is referred to as the Performance Plan and are used as the basis for determining a youth’s release from a residential program. NCJJ's 2005 survey indicated the Department had final release authority. 

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Florida, juvenile probation is administered by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). State statute and DJJ administrative policy require the use of a risk/needs assessment in juvenile probation. Florida uses the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) statewide and provides training on the PACT for probation officers. Information from the PACT is used to guide diversion from formal process decisions and informal adjustment planning, develop/inform pre-disposition investigation reports and/or planning, develop probation disposition recommendations to the juvenile court, assign probation supervision level, and develop probation case plans. The state is able to aggregate case level data and uses it to support local reliability and validity testing of the PACT, assist with probation administration and organizational planning, and for ongoing policy research.

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT)

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2)
Florida requires screening for suicide risk, mental health, and substance abuse upon a youth's intake to the juvenile justice system and also upon the youth's admission to a juvenile justice facility through state statute and departmental rules and policies. Screening first occurs in a Juvenile Assessment Center or Probation Screening Unit and consists of administration of the Probation sections of the DJJ Suicide Risk Screening Instrument (SRSI) and also the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT). Upon a youth’s admission to a detention center, the Detention sections of the DJJ Suicide Risk Screening Instrument (SRSI) are administered and the PACT Mental Health and Substance Abuse Report and Referral Form is reviewed by intake and clinical staff for any indications of suicide, mental health or substance abuse issues on the PACT. Upon a youth’s admission to a residential commitment program, either the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Edition (MAYSI-2) or Clinical Mental Health and Substance Abuse Screening is administered. The state supports these screening practices through providing training on motivational interviewing as well as training on the administration of the SRSI, the PACT and MAYSI-2.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice applies a specific definition for evidence based practices; it is, treatment and practices which have been independently evaluated and found to reduce the likelihood of recidivism or at least two criminogenic needs. State statutes and agency policies support the use of evidence-based practices for youth, and efforts are supported in practice through the Department's Office of Program Accountability. The Department makes every effort to implement and contract for services that are evidence-based. They provide training and technical assistance on implementing evidence-based programs and practices for both Department employees and contracting providers. They also publish a source book that outlines prevention and intervention programs that are evidence-based, promising, or practices with demonstrated effectiveness as well as an interactive community resource guide that lists available programs by type and location. Contracted service providers are required to submit outcome and quality improvement data to the Department, and there is a great deal of this data publicly available on the Department's website.

Florida is also participating in the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project and is thus engaged in the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP). Currently the project is focused on residential providers, but there are plans to extend the SPEP to the community providers.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Study populations

The group(s) of youth being studied in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Re-offense events

Events that are used to measure recidivism in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Follow-up periods

Details regarding the length of time and frequency that youth are tracked in states that publicly report recidivism data.

12 months with adult systems reporting


Additional levels of analysis provided in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • County

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/ethn.

  • Risk level

  • Initial offense

  • Re-offense

  • Prior history

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) publishes recidivism rates for youth completing probation and residential programs. Recidivism is defined as a subsequent adjudication or conviction. Youth are tracked for 12 months after program completion. DJJ also reports the percentage of youth who commit a new offense while under supervision (probation and residential).

Data sources

2014 Comprehensive Accountability Report
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

Progressive recidivism data

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice publishes an annual Comprehensive Accountability Report (CAR) which includes recidivism rates for various populations including civil citation and diversion releases, community programs (probation, day treatment, post commitment services) and residential programs. One unique feature of the report is that recidivism rates are based only on those that successfully completed the program or service. Like Virginia, Florida reports on offending while under supervision or in placement separate from offending after service completion.

Program areaTotal releasesTotal completions% Completions% Any ODS% Recidivism
Diversion services 14,543 12,578 86% NA 13%
Probation services - state operated 12,672 9,514 75% 33% 15%
Probation/CBIS services - provider operated 64 22 34% 48% 36%
Probation enhancement services 1,388 909 65% 21% 18%
Day treatment and minimum risk commitment programs 1,202 751 62% 38% 32%
Redirection programs 920 626 68% 27% 31%
Post commitment - redirection services 175 108 62% 26% 39%
Post commitment services - state operated 2,199 1,376 63% 28% 19%
Post commitment services - provider operated 347 159 46% 25% 39%
Post commitment - transition services 565 244 43% 30% 19%
Probation and community intervention total 37,075 26,287 77% 19% 15%

Report excerpt, 2014–15 Comprehensive Accountability Report: Probation Services (p. 8).

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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