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  • Join the Conversation in the Reclaiming Futures LinkedIn Group
    by ASHLEY HEINONEN

    Did you know that Reclaiming Futures has a LinkedIn group? Becoming a member lets you stay on top of the latest news related to juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment, participate in thought-provoking discussions, and connect with peers and thought leaders in the industry. All you have to do is visit our Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment LinkedIn group and request to join.

    Our group will be especially beneficial if you are a:

    • Policy maker or legislator
    • Professional in the field of juvenile justice or adolescent substance abuse treatment
    • Family or youth advocate

  • Sneak Peek: Recovery Month 2014
    by DAVID BACKES

    September 2014 is still several months away, but SAMHSA is already busy preparing for the 25th anniversary of Recovery Month. The trailer below gives a sneak preview of what was accomplished in 2013, along with a look ahead to 2014's Recovery Month.  

    Learn more about how you can help support Recovery Month 2014 >>


  • How About a Caring Adult for Every Teen?
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Community leaders in Snohomish County, Washington, are helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol, mental health issues and crime.

    They have a lofty goal: To have a caring adult help every teen.

    The Herald of Everett, Washington, recently highlighted mentors who spoke out on behalf of young people involved in the juvenile justice system: 

    "They're not bad kids. A detour has taken them off the road to success," Litzkow says, repeating a mantra favored by Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss. Weiss presides over the juvenile drug court at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center. He also is a champion for the county's Reclaiming Futures project. The pilot program was launched in 2010 in the county's juvenile court system. It's modeled after a national initiative aimed at providing effective treatment for drug- and alcohol-addicted teens, and caring for their needs once they're out of the criminal justice system. A large part of that initiative is connecting kids with positive role models.

    Deena Eckroth, 49, believes young people need support regardless of some of the bad decisions that they may make. "They've had enough people abandon them," Eckroth said. The Mukilteo mother of two grown children recently was paired up with a 15-year-old girl. Eckroth said she was compelled to volunteer with at-risk youth in part because of her experience as a human resources manager. She has had to turn people away for jobs because of their past mistakes. "It made me wonder what happened in their life and what could have helped that person turn around," she said. "This really makes sense for me." Eckroth now is recruiting co-workers and others to become mentors.

    This effort builds on the success of the Promising Artists in Recovery program that is still going strong in Snohomish County. 


  • The Great Hidden Secret: How ‘The Anonymous People’ is Changing Recovery Culture
    by DARYL KHAN

    Note: this article originally appeared on JJIE.org and is reprinted with their permission. 

    EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — On a recent grey Saturday morning, a quiet fell over the sparse audience seated in a vocational school assembly hall as Kimberly Beauregard stepped up to the stage. She was introducing the movie to a small audience of three dozen, who had endured a brutally cold morning and a wicked ice storm.

    After a few words greeting the crowd and thanking them for their intrepid spirit braving the treacherous conditions to make it to the screening, she praised the movie they were about to see. After that Beauregard, the president of InterCommunity, an East Hartford-based health organization that provides addiction and mental health care, bowed her head and collected herself for a moment. And then she told the crowd something she had never spoken of publicly before: She was one of the Anonymous People.

    “I have never said that before in public,” she said, her voice cracking. “And after you see the movie you will understand why I am.”

    The movie was “The Anonymous People,” a spunky profile of the burgeoning grassroots drug and alcohol recovery movement by a 30-year-old first time feature length filmmaker named Greg Williams, who himself has been in recovery since he was 17-years-old.

    After a few moments, the lights dimmed and the movie began.


  • Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide
    by DAVID BACKES

    Earlier this month, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), published a guide detailing a drug abuse approach that goes way beyond "Just Say No!" The guide, "Presents research-based principles of adolescent substance use disorder treatment; covers treatment for a variety of drugs including, illicit and prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; presents settings and evidence-based approaches unique to treating adolescents." Via the report:

    People are most likely to begin abusing drugs—including tobacco, alcohol, and illegal and prescription drugs—during adolescence and young adulthood.

    By the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose.1 There are many reasons adolescents use these substances, including the desire for new experiences, an attempt to deal with problems or perform better in school, and simple peer pressure. Adolescents are “biologically wired” to seek new experiences and take risks, as well as to carve out their own identity. Trying drugs may fulfill all of these normal developmental drives, but in an unhealthy way that can have very serious long-term consequences.

    Many factors influence whether an adolescent tries drugs, including the availability of drugs within the neighborhood, community, and school and whether the adolescent’s friends are using them. The family environment is also important: Violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or drug use in the household increase the likelihood an adolescent will use drugs. Finally, an adolescent’s inherited genetic vulnerability; personality traits like poor impulse control or a high need for excitement; mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD; and beliefs such as that drugs are “cool” or harmless make it more likely that an adolescent will use drugs.

    Get the full publication on DrugAbuse.gov >>


  • Help Teens Shatter Myths About Drugs and Drug Abuse
    by BRIAN MARQUIS

    Many teens are not aware of the serious risks drugs and alcohol pose to their health, success in school and future. What can communities do to effectively educate teens about the risks of drug abuse? One way is for school staff, parents, and students to work together to get the truth out.

    During this year’s National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), a national health observance designed to arm communities with the materials and tools they need to counteract the myths about drug abuse, science teachers, health teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, drug prevention programs, and community support programs will use science-based information, available free from NIDA, in their curriculum, school assemblies, PTA meetings, and evening workshops.

    Inspired by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institute of Health, NDFW is in its fourth year, and will be held from January 27 through February 2, 2014.

    In the wake of new recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, the time is ripe to encourage communities and leaders to work together to improve the health of our nation by investing in children.

    Close to 1,000 events are planned this year to focus on communicating with teens about drug use and its consequences. Some examples include:

    • Addiction-themed art contests
    • Trivia nights
    • School assemblies
    • Panel discussions
    • Government proclamations

    Using ideas and resources provided by NIDA, there is a way for everyone to learn the facts and help shatter myths about drug abuse during National Drug Facts Week and beyond.

    For more information, visit the National Drug Facts Week website or email drugfacts@nida.nih.gov.


  • OP-ED: Reducing Youth Crime by Treating Substance Abuse
    by JOHN LASH

     Note: this post originally appeared on JJIE.org and is reprinted with their permission.

    One of the most effective and long-running efforts to change both policies and practices in juvenile justice is Reclaiming Futures, housed at the Regional Research Institute for Human Services of the School of Social Work at Portland State University in Oregon. The organization began in 2001 with a $21 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and initially went to work in 10 communities.

    Now they are active in 39 communities in 18 states. Their six-step model tracks various phases of youth involvement with the justice system and brings together “judges, probation officers, substance abuse treatment professionals and community members” to provide the services that kids need to address their needs and make the community safer.

    The main focus of the approach is treating substance abuse, a behavior strongly linked to youth crime and delinquency. The six steps seek to identify drug and alcohol use early on in the youth’s encounter with the justice system, then ensure quality treatment, support and transition back to everyday life.

    Since its beginning, Reclaiming Futures has been dedicated to data collection and evaluation, and independent analysis of the founding communities has shown improvement in quality of service, improved efficiency of service delivery, improved outcomes for kids and an overall savings when compared to more traditional approaches.

    The current director, Susan Richardson, wrote a post last week entitled “How to Help More Kids in 2014.” She writes: “Did you know that 343,000 teens are arrested each year in the United States for drug and alcohol related crimes, yet only one in 16 teens who need treatment receive it?” Problems like this are at the heart of what Reclaiming Futures seek to change. All too often the facts have little to do with how youth crime and delinquency are addressed.

    With a commitment to processes and interventions that work, and that are both trackable and repeatable, Reclaiming Futures has made a deep and sustainable impact on the communities where their approach has been implemented. Let’s hope their work is spread further around the country in the coming year.


  • Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened the Commission to Build a Healthier America to find better ways to improve the health of our nation.

    In their search for solutions, the Commissioners found that where we live, learn, work, and play profoundly influences our health.

    The new recommendations, released January 13, are aimed at improving health now and for generations to come, and specifically highlight the need to:

    • Prioritize investments in America's youngest children.
    • Encourage leaders in different sectors to work together to create communities where healthy decisions are possible, with a particular emphasis on community development.
    • Challenge health professionals and health care institutions to expand their focus from treating illness to helping people live healthy lives.

    Reclaiming Futures supports RWJF's effort and continues to unite juvenile courts, probation, mental health treatment, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth.

    We'd love to hear from you. How can the Commission's recommendations change the way communities invest in young people? Please share your suggestions in the comments section below. 


  • For Young People Addicted to Painkillers, the Path Less Taken -- Why?
    by STEPHEN J. PASIERB AND A. THOMAS MCLELLEN PH. D.

    Note: this piece originally appeared on Huffington Post

    Abuse of prescription (Rx) medications, particularly of Rx opioids (medicines that treat pain), continues to be one of the nation's most concerning health problems. Mistakenly, many adolescents believe that Rx opioids are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor. But when abused, they can be as potent and as deadly as heroin. In fact, many teens and young adults who abuse Rx opioids move on to heroin abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls prescription drug abuse an "epidemic," and we see it as a public health issue that disproportionately impacts our kids.

    But Rx opioid or heroin abuse does not have to be lethal. There are behavioral and pharmacological treatments that can save lives and bring even seriously addicted kids into long-term recovery. The problem is that many treatment programs have chosen to either rely on only behavioral treatments or only medications; and most physicians do not have sufficient training in either medication or behavioral therapy to provide effective treatment. So, when parents find themselves at the critical crossroads of what to do for an opiate-addicted child, what can they do to get help? What are our doctors providing, or even offering, to them?

    While no one treatment approach is right for every teen, it is clinically sensible -- but not easy -- to find comprehensive care. We tell families to look for three things: First, the availability of professional counseling; second, medications and regular monitoring for the affected teen; and finally, family therapy to help that teen.

    Teens who abuse opioids require professional counseling, combined with regular monitoring, as a minimum requirement of effective treatment. Their families can also benefit from professional therapy, helping them better understand the basis of their teen's addiction. This therapy can help both them and their child create a practical plan to recovery.


  • 2014 Brings Change to the Georgia Juvenile Justice System; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Juvenile Justice Redefined (BostonHerald.com)
      Times change. And science changes. And however belatedly sometimes the law needs to change to take all of that into account. In reaction to some admittedly horrific crimes, lawmakers — here and around the country — rewrote laws that allowed juveniles to be sentenced in adult courts to some very adult penalties, including life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    • 2014 Brings Change to the Georgia Juvenile Justice System (WALB.com)
      Georgia is making some changes when it comes to juvenile offenders, a new law will be put in place to reduce the number of minors in lockup and help save the state thousands of dollars. Starting this year, only those who commit serious offenses will be held in custody and as for those accountable for minor offenses, they will be placed in community based programs instead.
    • Looking Back: A Year in Juvenile Justice (JJIE.org)
      As 2013 concludes and 2014 begins, JJIE has compiled a selection of some of our most compelling stories from the last year. Collectively, these articles tell of issues in juvenile mental health, improvements in alternative forms of treatment, the danger of stop and frisk, and more.

  • Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Black Girls Disproportionately Confined; Struggle for Dignity in Juvenile Court Schools (New Pittsburgh Courier)
      African American girls continue to be disproportionately over-represented among girls in confinement and court-ordered residential placements. They are also significantly over-represented among girls who experience exclusionary discipline, such as out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and other punishment.
    • Teen-Produced Video Highlights Campaign to ‘Raise the Age’ (JJIE.org)
      Last summer, a group of teens enrolled in a program at the New York Center for Juvenile Justice decided to take on what they see as an unfair practice in a recently released video called “Because I’m 16.”
      “Because I’m 16, I can’t drive at night,” a teen says as the video begins. It lists other things you can’t do as a 16-year-old -- drink, smoke, buy a lottery ticket, see an R-rated movie.
    • Reforming the Juvenile Justice System Could Save Hawaii Millions (CivilBeat.com)
      Hawaii is spending nearly $200,000 per bed per year to house juvenile offenders, most of whom got in trouble for non-violent low-level crimes. But the state could save millions of dollars a year by focusing only on the most serious offenders and putting the savings back into the community to help with mental health and substance abuse programs for young offenders, juvenile justice experts say.
    • Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System (JJIE.org)
      In the ABC News video, the white youth and the black youth both appear to be trying to do the same thing: steal a bike in broad daylight in a community park. But the two actors playing thieves, both filmed by hidden cameras at different times, get decidedly different reactions from passers-by.

  • Holidays in the Juvenile Justice System; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • At Thanksgiving, Reflecting on Justice for Native Americans (YouthToday.org)
      “Native Americans and Juvenile Justice: A Hidden Tragedy,” is an article from the 2008 issue of Poverty and Race, and covers the intersection of this historically disadvantaged group with the modern justice system.
    • OP-ED: Life-Saving Suicide Prevention Resources Address Critical Need in Juvenile Justice System (JJIE.org)
      When it comes to high risk for suicide, youth in contact with the juvenile justice system stand out. It is alarming. Fortunately, staff within the system can play a crucial preventive role by working collectively to provide guidance, support and access to needed care.
    • Holidays in the Juvenile Justice System (JJIE.org)
      "My wife, Mary Jo, and I were snowbound in Michigan while working on a building project so we lost Thanksgiving with our families in southern Illinois. Missing a holiday with the dozens of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles got me to wondering – what is the holiday experience for a kid in detention?"

  • New Research Shows More Than Half of Teens With Mental Health Disorders Do Not Receive Treatment
    by DAVID BACKES

    According to a recent blog post on Drugfree.org, over half of teens with mental health disorders don't receive the treatment they need. Via the post: 

    “It’s still the case in this country that people don’t take psychiatric conditions as seriously as they should,” lead researcher E. Jane Costello of Duke University said in a news release. “This, despite the fact that these conditions are linked to a whole host of other problems.”

    Overall, in the past year, 45 percent of teens with psychiatric disorders received some form of service. The most likely to receive help were those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (74 percent), conduct disorder (73 percent) or oppositional defiant disorder (71 percent). Those least likely to receive services were those with phobias (41 percent) and any anxiety disorder (41 percent). Black teens were much less likely than white teens to receive mental health treatment.

    There are not enough qualified pediatric mental health professionals in the United States, Costello said. “We need to train more child psychiatrists in this country,” she noted. “And those individuals need to be used strategically, as consultants to the school counselors and others who do the lion’s share of the work.”

    See the detailed analysis in the Psychiatric Services journal >>


  • Economics Alone Supports Juvenile Justice Reform; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • [OP-ED] Economics Alone Supports Juvenile Justice Reform (TheNewsStar.com)
      "Locking up a juvenile is estimated to cost between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, while treating one at a community-based center is estimated by the Juvenile Justice Project to cost about $5,000."
    • Talking Juvenile Justice: A Webinar with Photographer Richard Ross (JJIE.org)
      On Monday, November 18th JJIE hosted a webinar with Richard Ross -- a photographer, researcher and professor of art based in Santa Barbara, California. Ross has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Fulbright, and the Center for Cultural Innovation.
    • Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice System Addressed (TheMiddletownPress.com)
      To illustrate the stark racial disparities in Connecticut’s juvenile justice system, think about this: While non-white kids make up 57 percent of the patients at Riverview Hospital, a youth psychiatric facility, non-white kids at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, a secure facility for delinquents, make up 86 percent of the kids serving there. It’s a reality that child advocates, city officials and roughly 100 residents gathered to discuss Wednesday.
    • [OP-ED] Spotlight on Solano: Youth Thrive Through County Innovation (JJIE.org)
      Today, juvenile justice reform and innovation is underway in California and nationwide. The Missouri and Washington models of juvenile justice programming are renowned, as they should be. They present a much-needed road map for other jurisdictions strategizing for systemic change. However, California may not need to look so far away to find the answers. With 58 counties, California is a hotbed of innovation, and Solano County is forging the way.

  • Supporting Systems Change in Reclaiming Futures Communities
    by LORI HOWELL

    Reclaiming Futures has helped communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime for more than 10 years. But how exactly does Reclaiming Futures accomplish systems change? We sat down with National Executive Director Susan Richardson to discuss the model and benefits of becoming a Reclaiming Futures site.

    Lori Howell (LH): What makes Reclaiming Futures successful in a variety of communities across the country?  

    Susan J. Richardson (SJR): Reclaiming Futures offers powerful tools and resources to communities helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime. We work to improve drug, alcohol and mental health treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.

    LH: That sounds like quite a feat! How do you accomplish this? 

    SJR: Reclaiming Futures unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, teen mental health treatment and the community to reclaim youth.

    LH: Please tell us about the Reclaiming Futures model.

    SJR:  The proven six-step Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Together this leadership team works for change to improve drug, alcohol and mental health treatment for teens and connect them to positive activities and caring adults.

    LH: Please tell me more about the leadership team and how it functions.

    SJR: The Reclaiming Futures Change Teams are organized into five groups: Judicial, Juvenile Justice, Substance Abuse Treatment, Community, and Project Director Fellowships. This change team also represents their local community at national Reclaiming Futures meetings. In addition to regular conference calls, each Fellowship has an annual meeting with their colleagues. Both the calls and meetings provide opportunities for Fellows to discuss implementation issues, professional topics, and seek the advice and support of colleagues as they work to implement the Reclaiming Futures model at the local level.


  • [Video] What is Juvenile Indigent Defense? News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • [Video] What is Juvenile Indigent Defense? (JJIE.org)
      On November 11th, JJIE rolled out the next section of our juvenile justice resource hub on juvenile indigent defense. To kick start the launch, JJIE led a compelling and informative live group video chat with key players in the Juvenile Indigent Defense reform movement—exploring youth’s rights and access to quality council and defense when they find themselves in court.
    • Proposed Reforms to Juvenile Representation Stir Concerns in Colorado (The Denver Post)
      Criminal justice experts are questioning whether proposed reforms requiring youth offenders to have attorneys are really necessary — or if the system can even afford it. Legislation on juvenile representation — including one provision requiring juveniles to have legal counsel at detention hearings — will be proposed in January when state lawmakers convene.
    • Criminal Case Puts Focus on Bullying Laws (JJIE.org)
      Once considered a teenage rite of passage, bullying is now the subject of hundreds of state laws and a rallying cry for pundits, parents and celebrities.
    • Inside Heads and Cells of Juvenile Offenders: New Philly Art Exhibit Showcases and Helps Youth (Philly.com)
      What was originally conceived as a locally-staged art exhibition highlighting the need for reforms to the nation's juvenile justice system has snowballed into something much more. At nonprofit arts organization and studio space InLiquid, housed inside Kensington's Crane Arts building, hundreds of youths will this month receive the opportunity to have their juvenile records expunged, while hundreds more will be provided with resources about diversionary programming that could potentially save them from having to face the issue, in the first place.

  • Study: Many Convicted Juveniles Say They Falsely Admitted Crime; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Study: Many Convicted Juveniles Say They Falsely Admitted Crime (JJIE.org)
      More than a third of juveniles convicted of serious crimes said in a recent study they had falsely admitted to a crime they did not commit. The study, which appeared in the journal “Law and Human Behavior,” focused on 193 males aged 14 to 17 incarcerated in a California juvenile justice facility.
    • Our Views: Give More Teens Second Chances in Juvenile Court (GazetteXtra.com)
      Wisconsin should give 17-year-old nonviolent first-time offenders a break. Instead of sending them to adult court and risking higher levels of recidivism, the state should keep these low-level offenders in the juvenile justice system, where they can get the help they might need.
    • South Florida Squeezes School-to-Prison Pipeline (JJIE.org)
      South Florida’s Broward County School Board voted unanimously to sign new rules, written by many hands, which are meant to drive down arrests and their unintended consequences in the state’s second most populous school district. The Nov. 5 Memorandum of Understanding approved by the school board has its signatories promise “appropriate responses and use of resources when responding to school-based misbehavior.”
    • Debate Over Role Of Government In Juvenile Justice System (WCTV.tv)
      More than 58,000 delinquents were arrested between 2011 and 2012, according to Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice. Because of those staggering numbers, The James Madison Institute hosted a debate at the Challenger Learning Center tonight.

  • What Role Does Race Play in Juvenile Justice? News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Juvenile Justice Reform Pays, in Dollars and Sense (Ledger-Enquirer)
      One eye-popping number: The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice says the state can save more than $90,000 for every child -- every child -- that doesn't have to be placed in a juvenile detention center. So said political, law enforcement and judicial officials in a town-hall panel discussion at the Augusta Library Headquarters.
    • New Coalition to Focus on Juvenile Justice in Jacksonville (Jacksonville.com)
      More than two dozen Northeast Florida elected officials, churches, advocacy groups and policy organizations are joining forces to put a stop to the criminalization of first-time juvenile offenders accused of committing misdemeanors.
    • Georgia Closing Juvenile Prison With Nation’s Highest Rate of Sexual Victimization (JJIE.org)
      A Georgia youth prison, recently found by a federal study to have the highest rate in the nation of sexual victimization of incarcerated youth, will close at the end of the year, the state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced Monday.
    • What Role Does Race Play in Juvenile Justice? Youth Forum Tackles Subject (Middletown-CT.Patch.com)
      The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and young people will explore solutions to racial disparity to promote equality for Connecticut young people in the system.

  • OP-ED: Girls in the System Need More of Our Support; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • In ‘Vernon’s World,’ a Young Photographer Documents the Life of a Homeless Teenager (JJIE.org)
      Unaccustomed to the cold, hard floor in his spot next to the door of the public bathrooms in Trenton, Missouri, Sam Wilson, 22, slept badly. In a stall next to him, Vernon Foster, 18, didn’t have the same trouble. By the time Foster woke, Wilson had been in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness for hours, apologizing to the morning walkers as they filtered through the bathroom, surprised to see two young boys asleep on the floor.
    • Mandatory Sentencing 17 year-olds in Adult Court - Is There a Better Alternative for Wisconsin's Youth and Taxpayers? (MacIver Institute)
      In the United States, there is a wide consensus that children differ from adults. The very fact that each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. have institutions designed to render judgment on cases and administer justice outside of the adult criminal court speaks to this critical distinction.
    • OP-ED: Girls in the System Need More of Our Support (JJIE.org)
      "I just returned from the Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders Conference in Portland, Maine, where Piper Kerman, author of the memoir 'Orange Is the New Black,' -- the inspiration for the wildly successful Netflix series of the same name -- gave the keynote address to the 400 or so attendees all with some connection to the offender population."
    • Florida's Juvenile Justice Department Seeking Reform Suggestions (WJHG.com)
      Gulf County residents sat quietly as Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters talked about a major change, focusing more on prevention programs. "These problems that allow people to become violent and so disregard authority and commit crimes and know that they're committing crimes, these things don't happen in a day," said Secretary Wansley Walters of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

  • Nearly Half of U.S. States Enact Juvenile Justice Reforms; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Nearly Half of U.S. States Enact Juvenile Justice Reforms (JJIE.org)
      Nearly half of U.S. states have made great strides in the past eight years toward reducing the prosecution of juveniles in the adult criminal justice system or preventing youths from being placed in adult jails and prisons, a report released Thursday found.
    • ‘Raise the Age’ Advocates Tout New Report on Juvenile Justice (NewsObserver.com)
      The NC Insider is reporting that advocates for raising the age at which North Carolinians are tried in adult courts are touting a new national study that notes that 48 other states have enacted legislation to prevent older teenagers from being prosecuted in adult courts.
    • When Babysitting Joins Forces With Zero Tolerance (JJIE.org)
      Sometimes on a Friday night, when there’s nothing better to do and the streets are quiet, indigenous kids in this town 100km (some 60 miles) north-east of Perth, Western Australia, might hang out at the local police station. They’re often not there by choice, but they don’t really mind sticking around either.
    • Florida Struggles To Craft Juvenile Sentencing Policy (Miami.CBSLocal.com)
      As state legislators have tried and failed to craft a juvenile-sentencing law that conforms to landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings, a national advocacy group is calling Florida a “clear outlier” among states for its hard-line approach to trying juveniles as adults.

  • Six Steps to Break the Cycle of Drugs, Alcohol and Crime
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Nearly 1 in 5 youth (17%) at the door of the juvenile justice system meet criteria for substance abuse disorders; in detention, 39% do. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 1 in 16 young people with substance abuse disorders get into treatment

    That's unfortunate, because while we need to hold teens accountable for their actions, simply locking them up does not work.

    Effective adolescent substance abuse treatment can help teens stay out of trouble, make our communities safer, and save money.

    The Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Together, they work to improve drug and alcohol treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.

    Please call 503-725-8911 to learn how to bring the six steps of the Reclaiming Futures to your community:


  • Free Drug Facts Webinar October 29; News Roundup
    by LORI HOWELL

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Justice Department Pushes New Thinking on Kids and Crime (npr.org)
      Robert L. Listenbee, administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, advocates for understanding adolescent brain development to stop what experts describe as a "school-to-prison pipeline."
    • Bipartisan Support for Criminal Justice Reform (vera.org)
      The current moment of government shutdown might seem the antithesis to bipartisanship. But one area in which bipartisanship is in evidence might offer some hope: criminal justice reform.
    • Nearly Half of U.S. States Enact Juvenile Justice Reforms (jjie.org)
      A new report from the Washington-based Campaign for Youth Justice finds that nearly half of U.S. states have made great strides in the past eight years toward reducing the prosecution of juveniles in the adult criminal justice system or preventing youths from being placed in adult jails and prisons.

  • Fitness Program Encourages Healthy Lifestyle in Hocking County Juvenile Justice
    by CECILIA BIANCO

    Preventing drug use before it begins, especially among our youth, is a cost-effective way to reduce substance abuse and its negative consequences. A great way to achieve this is by encouraging an overall healthy lifestyle, which is exactly what the Hocking County Juvenile Court (HCJC) did this summer in Ohio.

    HCJC partnered with North’s Fitness Center, a local gym, to invite 14 court-involved young people to exercise in their facility at no cost for the duration of the six-week summer program called “Crush-It Fitness”.

    Similar to programs like SPORT and InShape, Hocking County’s Crush-It Fitness was designed to channel the youth’s free time into something positive and guide them toward a healthier lifestyle—a tactic that can be very effective to prevent substance abuse and reduce recidivism.

    A celebration ceremony was held on Sept. 12, 2013 to recognize the young people who completed the program. They received t-shirts and positive affirmations. Participants gave mixed reviews on the program—mandating exercise is tough business! But, a combination of logistic and planning feedback came in that will help Hocking County succeed if they continue the “Crush-It Fitness” program in summer 2014.


  • Complex Trauma Among Youth; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Complex Trauma Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Impact and Implications (Corrections.com)
      Youth who have experienced complex trauma—repeated and various forms of victimization, life-threatening accidents or disasters, and interpersonal losses at an early age or for prolonged periods—have difficulties forming attachments with caregivers and self-regulating emotions.
    • Family Seeks Change in Law to Protect Students (JJIE.org)
      The government has a duty to protect prisoners from harm. It also has a duty to protect people who have been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment. Yet that same duty doesn’t apply to the government when it comes to protecting students in school, according to case law.
    • Grant to Help Men Leaving Juvenile Justice System (The Boston Herald)
      The U.S. Labor Department is giving Massachusetts an $11.7 million grant for a project to increase employment and reduce repeat crimes for men leaving the state's juvenile justice system. The grant will first go to serve 535 men ages 16-22 in Chelsea and Springfield who are leaving the juvenile justice system. It will provide education and pre-vocational training to help them get jobs.
    • When Young Offenders–and Their Teacher–Say Goodbye (Kids in the System Blog)
      Last month, due to a lack of funding, the juvenile lock-up where I taught a weekly “life skills” workshop was shuttered. According to my very rough calculation, in the year that I worked there I had about 400 young men of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds pass through my group. Of those, about half came and went frequently, often gone for a couple of months to less than a week, and then re-offended to find themselves right back where they started.

  • Lucas County Youth Assessment Center to Open Soon; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Massachusetts Increases Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to Include 17-Year-Olds (JJIE.org)
      Massachusetts now includes 17-year-olds in its juvenile justice system. Only 10 states remain which place 17-year-olds under adult court jurisdiction. Although 17-year-olds who commit violent crimes will be placed in the Massachusetts juvenile justice system, judges still have the discretion to sentence them as adults.
    • U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey Announce $11.67 Million Grant to Reduce Juvenile Recidivism in Massachusetts (MassLive.com)
      An innovative program which started in Chelsea and has since expanded to Springfield is getting an influx of cash to help curb juvenile recidivism rates, thanks to a grant from the Department of Labor. On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Massachusetts Democrats, announced that the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has landed $11.67 million to boost employment opportunities and reduce recidivism for young men leaving the state's juvenile justice system.
    • State's Youth Prison System Violates Inmates' Rights, Experts Say (Chicago Tribune)
      Illinois' youth prison system is violating the constitutional rights of inmates by failing to provide adequate mental health care and education and by unnecessarily keeping youths in solitary confinement, three court-appointed experts found this week.
    • OP-ED: Transforming the ‘Bench Box’ Judge (JJIE.org)
      "I am a reformist who happens to be a judge. I came to this realization when introduced as a "reformer" at a recent Houston gathering of politicians, judges, clergy and juvenile justice stakeholders. I was invited to share some insights into the collaborative process of building effective juvenile justice systems at the local level -- a judicially led process."

  • Underage Suspects Are Apt to Confess to Crimes They Didn’t Commit. Here’s Why; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Underage Suspects Are Apt to Confess to Crimes They Didn’t Commit. Here’s Why. (Slate.com)
      Why so many false confessions? Juvenile suspects are generally more deferential to authority—at least in the context of a police interrogation—and less likely to understand the consequences of confessing to something they didn’t do.
    • [OPINION] Time to Affirm What We Mean by ‘Juvenile’ (The New York Times)
      Recent Supreme Court rulings on juvenile sentencing raise issues that go beyond what’s at stake in Miller v. Alabama. They also present an opportunity to affirm what we mean by “juvenile.” New York State may soon be the only state in the country that processes all youth as young as 16 in the criminal justice system, regardless of the severity of the offense.
    • Health and Incarceration: A Workshop Summary (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
      The health disparities that exist in our communities are concentrated in the population that cycles in and out of our jails and prisons. Justice-involved populations have very high rates of physical illness, mental illness, and substance use disorders. And their health problems have significant impacts on the communities from which they come and to which, in nearly all cases, they will return.
    • [OPINION] A Court Just for Juveniles in N.Y. (The New York Times)
      Teenagers prosecuted in adult courts or who do time in adult jails fare worse in life and can go on to commit more violent crimes than those who are handled by the juvenile justice system. Neuroscience research has found that these young offenders don’t weigh risks the way adults do, making them prone to rash judgments that can land them in trouble with the law.

  • Teens' Photovoices Celebrate Recovery Month
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    It's not too late to add your voice in support of National Recovery Month 2013 and promote the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for mental and substance use disorders.

    Forsyth County Reclaiming Futures is leading the way this September in Winston-Salem, N.C. with:

    I encourage you to visit Facebook to see the powerful images of teens' choices, their motivations for recovery and hopes for the future.


  • Juvenile Life Without Parole: The Confusion Remains; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • OP-ED: Digging up the Past (JJIE.org & The Miami Herald)
      Sometimes, only by unearthing the skeletons of a tortured past can they be given a proper burial. That is what is happening in Marianna, in North Florida, literally and figuratively. A team of researchers, including anthropologists, archeologists, students and police detectives are searching, painstakingly, for the remains of young boys once confined to the Dozier School for Boys.
    • Wisconsin Considers Keeping Non-Violent Teen Offenders In Juvenile Court (Wisconsin Public Radio News)
      Wisconsin is moving slowly towards changing the age at which teenagers are automatically treated as adults when they commit a crime. A bill introduced Thursday would allow 17-year-olds who commit nonviolent crimes to be tried in juvenile court.
    • OP-ED: Juvenile Life Without Parole: The Confusion Remains (JJIE.org)
      "Last June, on the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Miller v. Alabama, I spoke to a long-time advocate for the elimination of juvenile life without parole. Like a lot of people, I was pleased with the ruling, and saw it as a victory not only for activists but for science-based research into the juvenile brain."

  • Get Involved in Recovery Month
    by LORI HOWELL

    Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.

    What are you doing to help spread the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover?

    It's not too late. Add your community's voice to the celebration now at Recoverymonth.gov. You'll find the following helpful resources:

    • Proclamations
    • Press materials
    • Fast facts, glossaries and guides
    • Infographics

  • New Hope – Health Care for Justice-Involved Youth; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Years Later, Mother and Daughter Still Scarred By Teen Boot Camp Experiences (JJIE.org)
      Nicole’s story is one demonstrating both how far -- and how little -- mental health treatment in the nation’s juvenile justice systems have progressed. In a state fraught with Department of Youth Services troubles, she did not receive intensive treatment or rehabilitative services when she entered Alabama’s juvenile justice system.
    • A Court to Give Juveniles a Chance (Tampa Bay Times)
      "Plenty of kids who commit serious crimes deserve adult court and adult sanctions. Others — like juveniles who end up there because a co-defendant qualifies for adult court — might be salvageable. As Judge Stoddard put it: 'Some kids have burned all their bridges. Some kids haven't had the opportunity.'"
    • OP-ED: New Hope – Health Care for Justice-Involved Youth (JJIE.org)
      "We may not all become astronauts, actresses or the next NBA all-star, but the beliefs we have in ourselves during childhood are often reflections of the paths we take into adulthood. For this reason it is important for the health of a society to nurture, respect and enrich its youth."
    • Courts Split Over Ruling on Juvenile Life Sentences (The Wall Street Journal)
      Jeffrey Ragland, sentenced to life without parole in 1986 for his involvement in the killing of a fellow teen with a tire-iron blow to the head, could soon be a free man. That outcome is the result of a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court last month that found the sentence handed down to Mr. Ragland, now 44 years old, unconstitutional.

  • How will States Handle Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole? News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • [OPINION] In Juvenile Justice, Kids Need Protection from False Confessions (The Christian Science Monitor)
      A third of false confessions come from youths under 18. Youths are more easily intimidated and less adept at understanding the ramifications of their statements than adults. They should not be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
    • How will States Handle Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole? (USA Today)
      Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life sentences for offenders under 18 are cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore unconstitutional. In the wake of that decision, a federal court this month ruled that Hill and more than 300 other Michigan juvenile lifers are entitled to a parole hearing.
    • Bryan Stevenson Optimistic About Juvenile Justice Trends, But Work Remains (JJIE.org)
      The man who took the fight against life without parole sentences for juveniles to the U.S. Supreme Court said he is optimistic about juvenile justice trends, but said there is much work to do in a few areas, most especially around housing youth in adult lockups. Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., also said the number of states that try juveniles as adults is a problem.

  • Juvenile Court Awarded $975,000 in Montgomery County, Ohio
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Congratulations to Reclaiming Futures Montgomery County!

    Under the leadership of Honorable Anthony Capizzi, this Juvenile Drug Court was recently awarded $975,000 from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    The three-year Drug Court Expansion grant supports Montgomery County's efforts to unite juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Through this grant, Ohio will be able to serve an additional 45 families per year and 135 over the grant's three-year span.

    Together, they are improving drug and alcohol treatment and connecting teens to positive activities and caring adults.

    There is statewide interest in Ohio to expand the Reclaiming Futures model beyond the four current sites. If you know community leaders interested in breaking the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime, or philanthropies investing in juvenile justice reform, we'd like to hear from you. 

    For more information about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community, please call Susan Richardson at 503-725-8914 or email susan.richardson@pdx.edu.

    Map at right illustrates current (blue) and potential (orange and green) Reclaiming Futures communities in Ohio. 


  • The Adolescent Brain and Substance Abuse: Looking the Elephant In the Eye; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Initiative Aims to Improve Hawaii's Juvenile Justice System (HawaiiNewsNow.com)
      The goal of a new initiative launched today is to improve Hawaii's troubled juvenile justice system by reducing crime while cutting costs. Roughly 5,000 youth are currently incarcerated in Hawaii. According to experts, about 80% of them have a substance abuse problem.
    • $3.2mil Grant for Program to Encourage Kids to Stay in School (BeatriceDailySun.com)
      Kids with emotional and behavioral disorders are more likely to miss school, fail classes and drop out than any other group of students with disabilities. With support from a $3.2 million grant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers are evaluating a unique new program that uses parent-to-parent support to encourage families to get the help they need to keep kids in school.
    • Campaign to get Dropouts to Return to School (KEPRTV.com)
      Getting our most at-risk teens back in school. It was the goal of Kennewick, Washington School District this morning. School officials knocked on the doors of dozens of high school dropouts. Asking them to return to school. Last year, two students graduated from CBC High School Academy as a result of the outreach.

  • We Need Mentors: Lucas County, Ohio, in the News
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference in the lives of young people in your community?

    Less than one year into a $1.3 million grant, Lucas County Reclaiming Futures Project Director LaTonya Harris breaks it down for Leading Edge guest host Rob Wiercinski in Toledo, Ohio.

    Watch this video to learn how they are decreasing recidivism and increasing drug court graduation rates. They will make even greater strides with more mentors to provide positive activities for teens:


  • MacArthur Pledges New $15 million to Juvenile Justice Reform; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • The Sting of Juvenile Detention (JJIE.org)
      When young people held in San Diego County’s juvenile hall are disciplined with pepper spray, guards at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility ask afterwards if they want a shower. The best response, says former youth offender Ian Arellano, is “no.” Water reactivates the sting—which then washes down your body, he explains. Instead of affecting just your arms or face, suddenly every pore burns.
    • Providing Teddy Bears for Nueces County Juvenile Justice Center (KIIITV.com)
      It may not sound like a big deal -- the Nueces County Juvenile Justice Center, dangerously close to running out of teddy bears -- but it turns out, it is. "A lot of these kids that come in here are sad and confused, and traumatized," Chesney said. "And sometimes just the smallest gestures, like a stuffed animal, will help break the ice and allow them to talk more freely and feel more comfortable in talking to me."
    • MacArthur Pledges New $15 million to Juvenile Justice Reform (JJIE.org)
      The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced it will increase its juvenile justice reform funding by some $15 million, a major part of which will be used to establish the new Models for Change Resource Center Partnership. “Right now there are no go-to places to get the kind of information, resources, toolkits, [and] access to colleagues who have ‘been there done that,’” for would-be juvenile justice reform advocates, said Laurie Garduque, director of justice reform for the MacArthur Foundation.
    • Fixing Juvie Justice (KPBS.org)
      Young people in the United States are entering the youth justice system in shocking numbers, and many seem to come out worse than when they went in. The staggering costs and recidivism — more than half of incarcerated kids are likely to recommit crimes after being released — have led people to wonder if there is a better way to deal with youth offenders and whether exposure to the system itself could in fact be perpetuating a life of crime.

  • Report from the Field: Hardin County, Ohio
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Despite the fact that synthetic marijuana use is soaring around areas like Hardin County, Ohio, we continue to successfully break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime using our proven six-step model. At a recent site visit, we found that Reclaiming Futures Hardin County has: 

    • Strong, committed teamwork that uses a holistic, seamless, coordinated system of support for teens
    • Effective, solid partnership with Ohio Northern University – good evaluation and site analysis with the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) data, and impressive internship development
    • Cohesion: Probation, Behavioral Health Services and Recovery School all under one roof
    • Superb GAIN rates, particularly upon follow up
    • Many Evidence-Based Treatment options
    • Well-implemented service coordination, with many positive pro-social activities (fishing, scrapbooking, archery, 4-H club, and community service opportunities) 
    • Great local partnerships, for example, teen financial literacy training with the local credit union 
    • Strong sustainability strategy
    • Good representation at Juvenile Treatment Court staffing/team meeting, with input from many partners around the table
    • Good communication with parents, evident by their attendance at the Juvenile Treatment Court hearing and positive interactions during family updates and high school graduation celebration at court
    • Excellent feedback from youth and parents during interviews after court
    • Wonderful community activities and exceptional fundraising events

    Kudos to the Reclaiming Futures team in Hardin County, Ohio!


  • Across the Country, Neighborhoods Gather, Celebrate National Night Out; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Juvenile Jails Being Reworked (WVMetroNews.com)
      West Virginia's juvenile justice system is being reorganized. “The changes we’re making are positive changes for the division,” said state Director of Juvenile Services Stephanie Bond. On Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Bond talked about the plan that will mean changes at most of West Virginia’s eleven juvenile facilities.
    • Separate Funding for Adult, Juvenile Drug Courts Sought (ClarionLedger.com)
      Youth Court judges want the Legislature to provide separate funding for juvenile and family drug courts. “The adult felony-level drugs courts can operate on funds generated by their fees and assessments on their adult participants,” said Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome, a member of the state Drug Court Advisory Committee. “The juvenile courts cannot operate under this model.”
    • Across the Country, Neighborhoods Gather, Celebrate National Night Out (JJIE.org)
      In theory, National Night Out sounds a little strange — encourage thousands of residents, in cities nationwide to throw block parties and barbecues that will be attended by city law enforcement. In practice, National Night Out is a city-sanctioned, nationwide, one-night event to encourage residents to get to know their neighbors and reclaim their streets, all in an effort to deter crime. In urban hubs across the country, this message resonates particularly strongly, where some communities have historically had complex and sometimes strained relationships with the police.
    • St. Louis Judge to be Honored forWork in Juvenile Justice (Fox2Now.com)
      St. Louis Judge Jimmie Edwards, is to be honored for his work in juvenile justice on November 21, later this year in Washington, D.C. Judge Edwards will be the 2013 recipient of the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, from Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts.
    • OP-ED: Wise Spending Leads to Effective Solutions (JJIE.org)
      "A recent conversation with a group of friends reminded me that discussions about money are complicated and can move easily from discussion to heated argument. I said that more public funds should be dedicated to research about positive outcomes for kids in the juvenile justice system and that the research would lead to development of additional evidence-based programs and practices."

  • Young People in Recovery: Messaging and Media Training Webinars
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    We all know how much influence the media wields; let's use that power for the greater good!

    Thanks to Faces and Voices of Recovery, young people and their family members can learn how to communicate more effectively with the media, as well as friends and family, about the reality of recovery. 

    In two 90-minute webinars, trainers Justin Luke Riley, of Young People in Recovery, and Pat Taylor, of Faces and Voices of Recovery, use communications tools like human interest and media stories to reach policymakers, educate the public and recruit new members to the recovery movement.

    I encourage you to take advantage of the free online training tools and watch the online webinars  to create your own strong messages and make a difference in your community.  

     

      

     


  • Massachusetts Senate Votes UNANIMOUSLY to Pass Raise the Age Bill; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Massachusetts Senate Votes UNANIMOUSLY to Pass Raise the Age Bill (CFJJ News)
      "We wanted to share the exciting news that the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously today (40-0) in favor of legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include seventeen year olds! We are tremendously grateful to all of you for all of your calls, emails, letters, and support over the entire campaign."
    • Calls For Juvenile Justice Reform Grow In Florida (WJCT.org)
      The calls for juvenile justice reform in Florida are growing, as advocates turn to research to prove that more robust juvenile diversion programs for first-time offenders can prevent kids from dropping out of school.
    • Renewed Push to Raise Age of Being Tried as Adult (NYTimes.com)
      Democratic state lawmakers, community leaders and rights advocates on Thursday renewed a push to raise to 18 the age at which a defendant can be tried as an adult in New York.
    • More Flexibility in Juvenile Court (News-Gazette.com)
      Juvenile courts in Illinois now will be trusted with handling the cases of some minors previously tried as adults. It's a good thing that the cases against most 17-year-olds arrested for misdemeanors and felonies will be resolved in juvenile court beginning Jan. 1.

  • Successfully Tackling Generations of Substance Abuse and Crime
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Leaders in Hardin County, Ohio, are using the proven Reclaiming Futures six-step model and strong collaboration to break the generational cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime in their community.

    In the video below, Wade Melton, program director of Hardin County Juvenile Court and director of Hardin Community School, describes how Reclaiming Futures positively impacts his work:

    Stay tuned for an update about my recent site visit to Hardin County, Ohio.


  • Scared Straight Continues, Despite Misgivings; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Scared Straight Continues, Despite Misgivings (JJIE.org)
      This week, the fourth season of the A&E TV show “Beyond Scared Straight” follows two young sisters to the adult jail in Douglas County, Ga., where one inmate tells one of the sisters how she could beat her up “and make you not so pretty no more.” Plenty of critics pan the show, saying it publicizes a discredited, harmful practice. Neither Georgia nor the feds will fund such jail tour programs, citing both evidence that it doesn’t work and the liabilities jails take on when they invite minors to meet with inmates.
    • Announcing the New AATOD Blog (AATOD.org)
      "This represents a slightly more informal way of communicating what AATOD is doing in representing the collective interests of our field. AATOD released its most current Five Year Plan in 2012. Three of the most prominent issues affecting the existing system and the future of or field are Health Care Reform; work with the Criminal Justice System; and prescription opioid use and addiction."
    • OP-ED: Troubled Young People Deserve Compassion, Not Punishment (JJIE.org)
      More than 2,500 Californians are serving life sentences in prison for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18. At San Quentin, it is all too common to come across young men serving 35 or 40 years-to-life for crimes they committed before they were old enough to drive — meaning they would be in their 50s before their first parole hearings.
    • National Guard Program Gives Forest Grove, Hillsboro High Dropouts a Second Shot at Education (OregonLive.com)
      Oregon Youth Challenges Program is an alternative school for high school dropouts aged 16 to 18. The program includes a five and a half month residency in Bend, followed by a year of mandatory check-ins by a student mentor and program leaders. The program is voluntary and free for students and their families.

  • Working Together to Help Teens on Long Island
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Many thanks to Dennis Reilly, project director in Nassau County, NY, who takes the time to describe how Reclaiming Futures has helped teens on Long Island by promoting community organization, information sharing and evidence-based practices.

     


  • Locking up Juveniles may Plant Seeds of More Crime; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Seven Officers at Georgia RYDC Removed after “Egregious Policy Violations” (JJIE.org)
      Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced that seven employees at the DeKalb County Regional Youth Detention Center have been removed, following findings from a three-week investigation. According to Jim Shuler, an official DJJ spokesman, three of the officers, among them the facility’s night shift sergeant, resigned while the review was still being conducted.
    • Locking up Juveniles may Plant Seeds of More Crime (The Chicago Tribune)
      Joe Doyle was still a grad student at the University of Chicago in the late 1990s when he went to watch the proceedings in Cook County's juvenile court. He sat there while inexperienced lawyers argued over the fate of young offenders, mostly young black men. He witnessed judges who had to instruct those inexperienced lawyers on procedure at the same time that they, the judges, had to render life-altering decisions.
    • OP-ED: Breaking the Cycle of Hyper-Recidivism (JJIE.org)
      "Is reform a means to cut the budget or is cutting the budget a means to reform? It’s like which came first–the chicken or the egg? For Georgia, I think money is part of the equation, and ultimately becomes part of the outcome, but it’s definitely not the primary objective despite it’s appearance."
    • Charlottesville Forum Focuses on Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice (The Daily Progress)
      Gloria Newman remembered a son’s troubles as a teen and the message she received. “I was looking for help,” Newman said Tuesday at a Charlottesville Commission of Children and Families task force forum. “I was told, he’s not in the system, he can’t get help. There needs to be a preventative measure to get help before they get in the system.”

  • [Photos] Changing Confinement Culture in Olathe, Kansas; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • [Photos] Changing Confinement Culture in Olathe, Kansas (JJIE.org)
      Last month, Richard Ross, the creator of Juvenile In Justice, visited and photographed two juvenile detention facilities in Olathe, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City. This week the photos are featured on Bokeh, JJIE’s multimedia site.
    • Trial Run for Revised Juvenile Justice System (The New York Times)
      In Travis County, juvenile justice officials have decided that they can do a better job than the state in dealing with the most troubled local offenders, considering Texas’ history of scandal and violence in youth lockups.
    • Summer Jobs May Reduce Teen Violence, Study Says (JJIE.org)
      Summer jobs may help reduce violence, according to a recent study that found that low-income Boston teens who held down summer jobs were less likely to engage in violence than teens without jobs. The study, conducted by researchers at Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, surveyed more than 400 young people who obtained employment last summer through a State Street Foundation youth violence prevention program.
    • JUVENILE JUSTICE: Families Want Changes (WhoTV.com)
      Some Iowa families say the state`s juvenile justice system is broken and they`re suffering because of it. They`re sharing their stories as the state Supreme Court considers making changes. Members of the group Iowa Family Rights met at the Capitol Tuesday claiming parents and grandparents are being denied fair treatment.

  • In Case You Missed It: A Young Artist in Recovery Tells His Story
    by DAVID BACKES

    Back in April we shared Guy, a young artist in recovery's story. Today we're featuring it again, because it's such a powerful message. In this three-minute video, Guy, a well-known graffiti artist in Snohomish County, Washington, describes his transformation as a Promising Artists in Recovery (PAIR) participant.

    Through Reclaiming Futures Snohomish County, Henri Wilson and other generous adults are mentoring young artists in the county's juvenile justice system who have substance abuse issues. By engaging in calligraphy, painting and photography classes, teens are viewing life through a different lens.


  • Reclaiming Futures Forsyth County Lifts Teens
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Kudos to the Reclaiming Futures team in Forsyth County, N.C. and Dave Moore, for reaching out to the community and lifting up young people: 

    For several years now, Moore — the founder of Southside Rides Foundation — has opened his shop up to those in need of a second chance. Young men and women pass through his garage throughout the year as he works with the court system to get them community service hours and auto-body repair training or access to other career training opportunities. He even offers customized training at the shop through a Forsyth Technical Community College program.

    Six teens are participating in the summer program at Southside Rides. Moore said the program has been a success so far, but now he is encouraging the community to get involved.

    Moore is asking community members to bring their cars by the shop to let the teens wash them. A $5 or $10 donation will go toward a stipend Moore will disburse at the end of each week for the students to spend on items such as clothes or school supplies in preparation for the fall.

    But Moore also sees it as a way to engage his students with the community. As they wash people’s cars, Moore hopes they can chat with folks and make positive connections. He is also encouraging police officers to stop by and meet the teens to “bridge the gap.”

    At Reclaiming Futures, we believe young people must be connected with community resources and “natural helping” relationships in the community based on their unique strengths and interests.

    Please call 503-725-8914 if you’d like to learn more about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community.


  • Paws for a Cause; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth to Begin in Scott County, Missouri (seMissourian.com)
      A new program will pair mentors with at-risk children in four area counties. Building Understanding; Developing Success, or BUDS for short, is a recently developed mentoring program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The program will place volunteers 21 years old or older with at-risk children and teenagers ages 9 to 17.
    • Paws for a Cause (Rankinledger.com)
      Rehabilitation is two-fold at Rankin County Mississippi Juvenile Justice Center where both dogs and juveniles leave the center ready for the world. The Rankin County Sheriff Department’s Paws for a Cause is a partnership between the county’s animal shelter and juvenile justice center. It’s a way to rehabilitate both the juveniles and the dogs. Since it began about a year ago, Sergeant Ken Sullivan said pet lovers have adopted about 22 dogs from the program.
    • Local Television Piece Features Innovative Baby Elmo Program for Young Fathers at an Ohio Juvenile Correctional Facility (VERA.org)
      A recent piece on ABC News Channel 5 in Cleveland, Ohio, highlighted the Baby Elmo Program for young fathers at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility. The program, which was designed by researchers at Georgetown University, develops the relationships between incarcerated teen fathers and their babies through intensive experiential learning.

  • Washington One of Nation's 'Comeback States' on Juvenile Justice; News Roundup
    by DAVID BACKES

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    • Accouncement: Website Launch
      New website launches for Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), providing help for adolescents and families.
    • Washington One of Nation's 'Comeback States' on Juvenile Justice (King5.com)
      Washington’s juvenile detention population dropped 40% between 2001 and 2010, according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Juvenile Justice Network. The analysis puts Washington among nine “comeback states” on the issue of juvenile justice.
    • Ted Cox has Faith in the Youth he Serves (Shreveporttimes.com)
      Retired Army Reserve Col. Ted Cox arm wrestles an inmate at the Caddo Parish Juvenile Justice Complex, where he is the administrator. He regularly counsels the youth there.
    • Zero Tolerance and Juvenile Justice: A View from the Bench (Alaska Justice Forum)
      "The factors that lead youth into juvenile crime are many and varied. Drugs, alcohol, and interpersonal violence are often cited as major contributors. However, in my estimation, one of the principal factors that may often precipitate a plunge into the juvenile justice system is the failure to maintain and succeed in school."

  • Resources From 2013 Leadership Institute
    by SUSAN RICHARDSON

    Thank you to the community leaders and experts in juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment and mental health who contributed to a successful 2013 Leadership Institute in Asheville, N.C., May 7-9, 2013.

    I'm pleased to share the presentations, plenary sessions and fellowship discussions that made up this working conference to help communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.

    Please take a moment to browse the topics and share the proven approaches and best practices for communities adopting, implementing and sustaining the Reclaiming Futures model as the standard of care in communities across the nation.

    Here is a sample of the topics:

    • Behavior Change Drivers by Michael Clark, Center for Strength-Based Strategies
    • Rest Stop: Self-Care and Leadership Survival by Laura Nissen, Special Advisor, Reclaiming Futures National Program Office, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University
    • One Faith Community at a Time by Michael Dublin, Consultant, Faith Works Together Coordinator
    • Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN): An Introduction & Opportunity to Ask Questions, Michael Dennis and Kate Moritz, Chestnut Health Systems
    • How to Manage Yourself and Others Through the Stress of Change by Kathleen Doyle-White, Founder and President, Pathfinders Coaching

    We'd like to hear from you. If you attended the Leadership Institute, what new skills, perspectives or strategies will you use? What insights will reinforce your efforts?

    Please share ideas, photos and resources from the 2013 Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute, using the following hashtag via Twitter: #RFutures13


  • Montgomery County Juvenile Court Celebrates 15 Drug Court Graduates
    by MICHELLE WHITE

    In celebration of National Drug Court Month, Montgomery County Juvenile Court held a graduation ceremony celebrating youth who have successfully overcome drug and alcohol abuse.

    National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a National level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, Drug Courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme ‘Drug Courts: Where Accountability Meets Compassion.’ This uplifting commencement ceremony is evidence of the tremendous impact the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court has had on our community and will send a powerful message that Drug Courts are a proven budget solution that saves lives and dollars.

    Like the other 2,700 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court is a judicially-supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare. In Drug Court, seriously drug-addicted individuals remain in treatment while under close supervision. Drug Court participants must meet their obligation to themselves, their families, and society. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not living up to their obligations. Research continues to show that Drug Courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.

    Fifteen young men and women were among this year’s graduates. The ceremony marked their completion of an intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, case management, mandatory drug testing, community supervision and incentives and sanctions to encourage appropriate behavior.