Roundup: JDAI Sets its Sights on State Training Schools
Juvenile Justice System News and Speculation
For sheer breadth of coverage in the juvenile justice arena this week, you couldn't beat John Kelly of Youth Today.
- First, Kelly covered a year-long, national survey on the use of psychotropic meds in juvenile justice facilities. Sixteen states participated; 17 didn't reply; the remainder did not comply for a variety of reasons, although it appeared that many states did not track the drugs, or the diagnoses for which they were prescribed. Youth Today's coverage offered useful background on several of the most commonly-used drugs, and a point/counterpoint on whether they should be used as a first resort for behavior management, or whether their use helps make youth "treatment-ready."
Roundup: New Federal Institute of Addictions Closer to Reality
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Research News and Resources
- An advisory group has recommended that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institutes on Alcoholism and Aclohol Abuse (NIAAA) be merged, along with all other addiction research efforts conducted by the National Institutes of Health. The group said that a new Institute of Addictions would integrate addiction research more effectively. The idea still has a number of hoops to jump through before it becomes a reality, but I was pleased to see that the working group's report recommended (see page 8) that adolescent substance abuse treatment should be prioritized. (Full disclosure: I wrote the post for Join Together that I've linked to here.)
Bonus Roundup: What to Do about K2 - and More
Events - Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Substance Abuse
- September is National Youth Court Month, and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) has posted resources about them to celebrate. Also called "teen courts" and "peer courts," youth courts are an alternative disposition for youth who've committed low-level, first-time offenses in which teens hold each other accountable. (Hat tip to OJJDP.) UPDATED: Global Youth Justice is hosting a conference titled, "Establish or Enhance a local Teen Court/Youth Court Diversion Program," December 7-9, 2010, in Las Vegas. (H/t to John Kelly at Youth Today.)
- Don't miss out on the National Take Back Initiative, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Held on September 25, 2010, 10am-2pm (local time, I believe), law enforcement agencies are collaborating with the DEA to collect unused prescription drugs. Find a collection site near you. (H/t to @SPHEREproject.)
Roundup: Teens Saving Teens - and More
James Bell on Juvenile Justice Reform
- In the brief video below, James Bell, director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, sounds off on youth incarceration:
I am still, at 51, propelled by outrage. I am just p***d off that the greatest country in the world -- that the only way they can figure out to socially control teenagers is to put them in cages... But we don't do that to White people. That is the bottom line.
It's worth watching all 10 minutes of this video, because Bell is passionate, entertaining, and motivating. My only caveat (which I'm sure Mr. Bell would agree with) has to do with his urgent call to people of color to put pressure on vested interests and the White community to reform the justice system. It can't just be on people of color to change the system -- allies from all communities are needed so that the effort is not pigeonholed by skeptics. (Hat tip to the W. Haywood Burns Institute on Facebook.)
Roundup: Marijuana "Gateway" Effect Less Important than Other Factors - and More
Adolescent Substance Abuse and Related Treatment News
- Is marijuana a "gateway" to other drug use? Not so much, according to new research, and "over-criminalizing" its use can contribute to young adults' use of other illicit drugs. According to the study, race and ethnicity are the best predictors of whether someone will use illicit drugs besides marijuana: non-Hispanic whites are more likely to use them than are (in order) Hispanics or African Americans. Furthermore, although marijuana use in one's teen years might lead to use of other drugs, youth apparently "age out" of that when they reach 21. Unemployment is a factor too, which suggests that, as one researcher concluded, "over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities." (Hat tip to Robert Ackley.) Related reading: Jeff Butts on "The Enduring Gateway Myth."
- Teen use of alcohol and drugs can be significantly reduced with brief, school-based interventions by mental health therapists or even by teachers given minimal training, according to a new study from the U.K. Researchers evaluated their use of alcohol and drugs at six months post-intervention, so it's not clear if the effects would need to be repeated on a regular basis.
Roundup: America Behind Bars, and More
Last year, we posted about a hugely important study by the Center for Court Innovation. In it, young people reported that they did not receive a clear explanation of the juvenile justice system when they entered. Nor did they -- or their parents and guardians -- learn how their actions affected what happens in juvenile court.
Our Reclaiming Futures site in Orange/Chatham Counties, North Carolina is trying to change this and created the video above for parents/guardians of youth entering juvenile court. Congratulations! (They're also working on a handbook for youth; I'll share it when it's available.)
Has your jurisdiction done something similar? Leave a comment or drop me an email and we'll be glad to post it!
Roundup: The End of the "War on Crime" -- or Just the Beginning?
Resources for the Juvenile Justice System
- The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has completed its first-ever "Census of Juveniles on Probation" (CJP), which it says "provides critical data on the characteristics of youth on probation, the nature of their offenses, and how they are served." Initial findings were presented at the American Probation and Parole Association's Annual Training Institute on August 17, 2010. I can't find a report on line, but I expect it'll be out shortly. If I've just overlooked it, let me know where I can find it and I'll post it here.
- Work with Native American youth, or for a tribe? You might be interested in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP) Tribal Youth Program Web site. There, you'll find funding opportunities, resources on culturally appropriate prevention and intervention strategies, and federally-recognized tribes can request "web-based resources, individualized technical assistance, or on-site training or technical assistance."
"Brain Cells. Trust Me, You Need Them," and More in Our Weekly Roundup
- Families and teens often need a quick orientation to the juvenile justice system -- but there's never one there when you want one. YouTube is changing that, though. Above is a 9-1/2-minute video from a Florida teen court that provides a thorough overview of how things work there (although it is, unfortunately, cut off prematurely.) Anyone have other examples they want to share?
Roundup: UK Publishes Guide to Punishing Detained Youth -- and More
Juvenile Justice News
- Does Maryland really need a new juvenile detention facility? Not without a new population forecast, says the National Council on Crime & Delinquency (NCCD). (Hat tip to Policy for Results.)
- I’ve written before about “sexting” – when minors send sexually explicit pictures via cell phone - so it’s good to see that the Youth Online Safety Working Group has released recommendations on how education and legal professionals should handle sexting and work to prevent it.
Juvenile Indigent Defense System Failing Kids It's Meant to Protect - Weekly Roundup
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment - News and Research Updates
- How the confidentiality of patients who obtain substance abuse treatment will be handled under health reform (and electronic health records in particular) continues to be the focus of controversy, according to Join Together. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a document covering "frequently-asked questions," and will hold a stakeholders' meeting on August 4th to provide more clarification. Last February, I posted that some health reform advocates want to do away with federal confidentiality regulations under 42 CFR in favor of relevant HIPAA regulations. They say they're concerned that the burden of complying will discourage mainstream doctors from screening patients and providing brief intervention for alcohol and drug issues.