Recommendations Adopted into Laws & Policies

Study recommendations adopted into laws and policies

In the past five years this annual study has made numerous recommendations for changes in laws, policies and systems that have been adopted on the state, county and municipal levels. Here are a few examples:

1. Requiring law enforcement to document, justify and have supervisory approval to make an arrest for a civil citation-eligible offense.

Study recommendations 2016 and 2017: “In those rare and exceptional circumstances for using an arrest rather than a civil citation, law enforcement should document, justify and have supervisory approval.”

Resulting change 2018: State legislation in 2018 included data reporting requirements by law enforcement agencies to report justification of arrests for civil citation-eligible offenses. Anecdotally, many law enforcement agencies throughout the state began requiring supervisory approval.

2. Requiring all counties / circuits to have prearrest diversion programs.

Study recommendation 2016: “ALL counties, school districts and law enforcement agencies should be using civil citations.”

Resulting change 2018: In the 2018 legislative session, the legislature passed SB 1392 which made meaningful and important changes to the existing juvenile pre-arrest diversion statute in F.S. 985.12 that included each judicial circuit being required to adopt a circuit-wide juvenile pre-arrest diversion program.

3. Increasing prearrest diversion utilization and addressing racial disparity with first-time misdemeanor arrests in Duval County.

Study recommendation 2016: “Dramatically increase juvenile civil citation utilization rates in Duval and Hillsborough and continue the upward trend in Orange.”

Resulting change 2018: After policy changes led by Duval State Attorney Melissa Nelson in the first three months of 2018, law enforcement agencies across Duval County issued juvenile civil citations instead of making arrests about 90 percent of the time. Previously, Duval had a 27 percent prearrest diversion utilization rate in 2016. Duval’s rate in 2018-19 was 82%.

Key Finding 2017: “Duval County is arresting substantially more civil citation-eligible black youth than white youth, causing a notable racial disparity. Duval County arrested civil citation-eligible black youth at a rate of 16 percentage points higher than white youth in 2016.”

Resulting change 2018: As a result of Duval County substantially increasing utilization of juvenile civil citations, the racial disparity with arrests for first-time common youth misbehavior has initially been eliminated. In the first three months of 2018, 12 percent of black youth in Duval were arrested, compared to 12.5 percent of white youth.The Duval trend in offering prearrest diversion to black and white youth at similar rates continues through 2018-19. Study author Dewey Caruthers reported that Duval is an excellent example of how high utilization of civil citations can eliminate racial disparity -- by arresting so few youth racial disparity becomes impossible -- as well as recognized Duval’s accomplishment in a Jacksonville Times-Union story titled “Report: Duval poised to be a state leader in juvenile civil citation use.”

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