Pilot Juvenile Reentry Program in Illinois
Parts of Chicago and surrounding suburbs are taking steps to reduce the number of youths who cycle through the doors of the state juvenile lockups.
Officials estimate that they see about 50 percent of released youths returning to incarceration at some point following their initial stay. That rate is simply too high, given the societal costs of their continued delinquency as well as the taxpayer costs for repeated bouts of secure confinement. A year in a secure facility in Illinois costs over $80,000 per year.
A non-profit has recently begun a three year program under a grant from the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, which aims to slash recidivism rates by targeting the underlying issues, whether related to substance abuse or family problems.
6 Major Findings from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department Performance Assessment Report
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department released an encouraging report detailing the success of their Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEPs). These programs have been providing education for students expelled from traditional schools since the 1996-1997 school year.
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department found that the JJAEP has been improving over the past several years--test scores are up, costs are down, and behavior has improved. See the list below for details on the report’s major findings (via the report):
Closing the Business of Incarceration will Require Jobs, Reentry Programs
How do you bankrupt a brimming system of incarceration that is perversely incentivized to grow? According to New Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, “you have to go to the source, and whether the source is education or whether it’s legislation, you really have to go to the source.” Gusman provided an upstream suggestion at the Loyola University New Orleans’ event, Louisiana Incarcerated: An Evening with Cindy Chang on June 26, 2012. However, many of the panelists pointed specifically to job training and employment as essential parts of the solution.
The event was centered around an acclaimed 8-part Times-Picayune series titled “Louisiana Incarcerated,” by reporter Cindy Chang. For the series, Chang talked with the formerly incarcerated and criminal justice reformers to get a complete story of the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The town hall styled symposium provided opportunities for panelists to offer their thoughts on the sources of Louisiana’s incarceration problems as well as potential solutions.
Concurring with Gusman’s perspective of root causes, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Jim Letten said, “the most important part of our jobs is education and prevention. I wouldn’t have told you that 13 years ago.” Letten iterated what several panelists expressed during the panel sessions, which took place over the course of two hours.
'Peer Contagion' Influences Criminal Recidivism Among Youth
Location, Location, Location...That’s been a mantra within the business community for years.
Now, new research from Temple University finds that location also plays a role in youth behavior.
Jeremy Mennis, associate professor of geography and urban studies, and Philip Harris, associate professor of criminal justice, examined how “peer contagion” — the influence on juveniles by other juveniles — within a neighborhood setting affects the probability that a youth who has committed a crime will commit another one.
Their findings, reported recently in the Journal of Adolescence, suggest that "spatial contagion" may be at work as well. In fact, the rate of recidivism among youth living nearby a juvenile's residence not only increases the likelihood that youth will re-offend, it can also cause teenage boys to "specialize" in certain types of crime.
"It turns out that contextual forces from a kid's social network create spatial patterns of crime in terms of re-offending rates as well as specializations," said Mennis.
In the past, ideas about dealing with delinquency focused on the individual kids and their particular family situations, said Mennis. "Our work is part of a growing trend across the social sciences to look at how place and context impact individual behavior," he said.
Updating the Reclaiming Futures Model from “Completion” to “Transition”
Since its founding, Reclaiming Futures has been dedicated to helping to build a balanced and restorative juvenile justice system that holds youth accountable, but breaks the cycle of crime and drugs by providing evidence-based substance abuse treatment to the kids who need it.
Along the way, we’ve connected with 29 communities across the country and received great feedback on the power of the Reclaiming Futures model and its ability to ensure that youth have access to treatment. Our model has 6 parts:
- Initial screening: As soon as possible after being referred to the juvenile justice system, youth should be screened for substance abuse problems using a reputable screening tool.
- Initial assessment: If substance abuse is indicated, refer for service coordination.
- Service coordination: Intervention plans should be designed and coordinated by community teams that are family-driven, span agency boundaries and draw upon community-based resources.
- Initiation: Service initiation is a critical moment in intervention.
- Engagement: Youth and families must be effectively engaged in services.
- Transition: Community coordination teams should specify how much of each service plan must be completed, after which agency-based services will be gradually withdrawn, as appropriate.
Over half of youth leaving Illinois state prisons will return
Over half of the youth released from Illinois state juvenile detention centers will return in three years or less. A new report released today by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission takes a hard look at the state's juvenile justice system and finds it severely lacking in successful rehabilitation efforts.
Not only is the state failing these kids with its feeder system into the adult criminal justice sytem, it is also failing to keep communities safe while costing taxpayers $86,000 per incarcerated youth per year.
From the press release:
"An essential measurement of any juvenile "reentry" system is whether youth returning from incarceration remain safely and successfully within their communities," according to the report. "By this fundamental measure, Illinois is failing."
The "Youth Reentry Improvement Report" found that the system does little to prepare youth and families for the youths' return home; paroled youth rarely receive needed services or school linkages and too often are returned to expensive youth prisons due to technical parole violations; and Prisoner Review Board (PRB) parole revocation proceedings are largely perfunctory hearings where the youth's due process rights are not protected.
"Our research documented that 54 percent of juveniles being sent to state youth prisons have been there before and are returning because of technical parole violations," said George W. Timberlake, who is Chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and retired chief judge of the Second Judicial Circuit. "The system is not doing enough to rehabilitate juveniles inside and outside prison walls, and it often is too quick to return youth to expensive prisons where failure again is likely.
New OJJDP report provides latest data and trends in juvenile court cases
Drawing on data from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive (the myriad data sets include age, gender, race, entry and detention rates, etc.), the report profiles more than 1.6 million delinquency cases that U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled in 2008. It also describes the trends in delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts between 1985 and 2008 and the status offense cases they handled between 1995 and 2008.
National Reentry Resource Center releases FAQs on Juvenile Justice & Reentry
The National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), a project of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, recently published a list of frequently asked questions and answers on juvenile justice and reentry.
As many as 100,000 youth under the age of 18 are released from juvenile correctional facilities every year. These young people often return to their communities with complex needs, such as physical and behavioral health issues and barriers to education and employment. The FAQ provides information on:
- the organization of the juvenile justice system and its impact on reentry;
- the characteristics of youth committed to out-of-home placement;
- the challenges many youth face as they return from placement;
- and the policies and practices that are key to successful reentry.
UPDATE: OJJDP Second Chance Act Grants and June 27 Webinar for Applicants
Via the National Reentry Resource Center:
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) recently released the solicitation for Second Chance Act grant applications to state and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes for juvenile reentry planning and demonstration projects (Section 101 of Public Law 110-199). This funding is available to help jurisdictions plan and implement programs and strategies to reduce recidivism and ensure safe and successful reentry of juveniles released from prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities back to the community.
The deadline for submitting an application is July 11, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
To download the solicitation, click here
To help potential applicants respond to this solicitation, the National Reentry Resource Center will hold a free webinar on Monday,
June 20th at 3:00 p.m. ET.June 27th at 2:00 p.m. EST. Representatives from OJJDP will explain the details of the solicitation and answer questions from applicants. To register for the webinar, click here.
Webinar: Principles Of Tribal Reentry
Ada Pecos Melton, President & Owner, American Indian Development Associates
Daniel Mittan, Director of Court Services, Choctaw Tribal Court