The Indiana Supreme Court has approved the release of identifying information of young offenders in juvenile courts, including full names and partial social security numbers, as part of a scholarly study into health care utilization and quality for juvenile offenders.
In July 2016, the Supreme Court initially approved the release of confidential identifying information in the QUEST Case Management System of the Marion County Juvenile Court that is usually shielded from public access. The information, including partial dates of birth and individual juvenile QUEST identification numbers, was released to Dr. Sarah Wiehe, who is conducting a study into health care related to sexually transmitted infections and HIV in the period following juvenile detentions.
Wiehe’s study seeks to link the QUEST data with data from other sources, including a variety of state agencies such as the Indiana Department of Correction and Marion County Sheriff, among others, to better understand juvenile sexual health care utilization and quality following detention.
Although the court initially did not allow for the release of the names of the juveniles, their Social Security numbers or full birth dates, the July 2016 order held that if “Dr. Wiehe was unable to achieve individual offender matches using authorized and confidential data, she could provide the Court…with a list of individuals suggested by the other utilized sources that she sought to match with court record data from the juvenile court.”
After Wiehe submitted her list, the court determined in its Jan. 17 order that “The Quest ID number is unique to the Marion County Juvenile Court cases and does not occur in the data from other sources which has rendered it unusable for data matching purposes.” Thus, without the names, dates of birth and partial social security numbers including only the last four digits, Wiehe would not be able to match data with the other sources.
The court therefore lifted its previously imposed restrictions on the identifying information and allowed for the release of juveniles’ names, full dates of birth and partial social security numbers.
The full order describing and lifting the previously imposed restrictions can be read here.