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Looking Back: Top Five Juvenile Justice Blog Posts of 2013
by DAVID BACKES

We're a third of the way through 2013 and found it to be a good time to reflect on stories that caught our readers' eyes. Below you'll find the top five blog posts so far this year, and we're excited to continue to build on our momentum throughout the rest of 2013. 

  1. Reclaiming Futures Hiring in Portland, Oregon
    Do you support juvenile justice reform and want to help communities break the cycle of drugs, alchohol and crime? Join our staff in Portland, Oregon, where Reclaiming Futures is improving the experience for teens in the juvenile justice system by providing adolescent substance abuse and mental health treatment in 37 communities around the country.
  2. Q&A: Trauma, Young Men of Color and Transformational Healing
    Ahead of the Reclaiming Futures webinar with the National Compadres Network (NCN), I (Liz Wu) had the pleasure of chatting with Jerry Tello and Juan Gomez about trauma, young men of color and transformational healing.
  3. The Role and Purpose of Juvenile Detention in the 21st Century
    Across the nation, perspectives on juvenile detention are changing. Several experts share how they believe modern juvenile justice is implementing more rehabilitative models and what the ultimate dividends may be for both young people and U.S. society as a whole.
  4. A Community Approach to Juvenile Justice
    This Fall, the Adler School Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) and its partner organizations with the Cook County Juvenile Justice Task Force published a concept paper (PDF download) outlining community-based, trauma-informed, restorative solutions to youth crime and conflict in Cook County, Illinois. The report provides guiding thoughts on how the juvenile justice system can better support young people while making communities safer. It also recommends alternatives to existing centralized juvenile detention approaches in Cook County.
  5. Affordable Care Act Expands Mental Health and Substance Abuse Benefits for 62 Million Americans
    According to an issue brief released Feb. 20 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Affordable Care Act will extend mental health and substance use disorder benefits to 32 million and federal parity protections to an additional 30 million Americans.

     

Q&A: Trauma, Young Men of Color and Transformational Healing
by LIZ WU

2/26/13 Editor's Update: The webinar recording and slides are now available for download.

Ahead of the Reclaiming Futures webinar with the National Compadres Network (NCN), I had the pleasure of chatting with Jerry Tello and Juan Gomez about trauma, young men of color and transformational healing.

Jerry Tello is co-founder of the NCN and the present director of the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute (NLFFI). He is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of men and boys of color, fatherhood, family strengthening, community peace and mobilization, and culturally based violence prevention/intervention issues. For 30 years Mr. Tello has dedicated his efforts to “La Cultura Cura”, allowing people to overcome internalized oppression and improve life outcomes.

Juan Gomez is a senior consultant with the NCN and specializes in strategic planning and resource development. Previously he served as a fellow for The California Endowment (TCE) with a focus on statewide policy, grant, and change-making strategies for TCE’s Healthy Happens Here (HHH) campaign. Mr. Gomez was raised in Watsonville, California where he grew up with his grandma Amelia and grandpa Ampelio.

Read the interview below and join us on February 26 to learn more and connect with Jerry and Juan.

LIZ WU (LW): What are the overlooked factors that put Latino men and boys at risk for poor health outcomes, specifically gang violence, substance abuse, incarceration and school failure? How does this affect the Latino community?


Stop the Trauma. Start the Healing: A Latino Health Context
by JUAN GOMEZ

Editor's note: On February 26, 2013, Jerry Tello and Juan Gomez from the National Compadres Network presented their Brown Paper at a Reclaiming Futures webinar. The webinar recording and slides are now available for download.

Census data indicates that Latino children are the fastest growing population in the United States. A growing body of research has highlighted the continuous plight of Latino male health and health related outcomes in this nation. The cycle of inequity has negatively impacted health outcomes for Latino boys and men. This disparity also contributes to unacceptably low levels of educational achievement and poor outcomes related to the social determinants of health. For example, a 2011 study by the College Board’s Advocacy & Policy Center indicates that 51% of Hispanic male high school graduates ages 15-24 years should expect to be incarcerated, jobless, or dead.

While the field of philanthropy has recently seen a notable shift toward investing in Males of Color (MoC) initiatives, gaps in Latino specific research, allocated funding and organizational capacity still exist. Essentially, funding targeting Latinos has been neither focused nor explicit. The existing body of literature that addresses the complexity of Latino identity, tradition and culture is under developed. Furthermore, trauma within the field of MoC dominates the conversation but does nothing to emphasize movement toward a healing aspect that this field so critically needs.


Illinois Official Urges Juvenile Justice Reform
by FRANK BOYETT

George Timberlake retired five years ago as an Illinois judge, and now he's convinced he was doing it all wrong.

"I put kids in jail at a higher rate than almost anybody," he recently told the Henderson Rotary Club. "I thought that was the right way to do things."

But when he "turned around and looked at what I had been doing," he said, he came to the conclusion that "we were just greasing the skids" for youngsters' path downhill to adult prison.

When it comes to kids, he said, "jail doesn't help. There is no evidence that ... incarceration changes behavior. None." The key instead, he said, is to evaluate the kid's risk of fleeing the jurisdiction or not appearing in court when sentencing jail time.

Timberlake is now chairman of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, and as such he is helping lead the nation out of the dark ages of juvenile justice. The "Redeploy Illinois" program hands out state money to communities who are able to reduce their number of incarcerated juveniles.

"You solve their problems, you link them with services, and you have a dollar bill that pays for it. That works. It makes you safer, it saves more tax dollars and it's a better outcome for kids."


DC black students expelled at greater rate than white students
by LIZ WU

Black students in the DC area are being suspended and expelled from school 2 to 5 times as often as white students. This disturbing fact has big implications for youth and the juvenile justice system.

A new analysis by The Washington Post found that almost 6 percent of black students were suspended or expelled from school last year, compared with 1.2 percent of white students. Across the country, 15 percent of black students were suspended, compared with five percent of white students, 7 percent of Hispanics and 3 percent of Asians. 

In many states, students are suspended not only for violent acts but also for disrespect, defiance, insubordination, disruption and bad language. These infractions are subjective and give educators a lot of leeway in deciding when to report students.

As The Washington Post explains:

The stakes are high for those who get booted out of school.

Out-of-school suspensions mean lost classroom time and, for some, disconnection from school. A recent landmark study of nearly a million Texas children showed that suspension increased the likelihood of repeating a grade that year and landing in the juvenile-justice system the next year. It also was linked to dropping out.


A Q&A with H. Ted Rubin, former juvenile judge
by JOHN KELLY

The oldest kids in the system when H. Ted Rubin was a Colorado juvenile judge are now 57 years old. But Rubin has never left the field; he has been a researcher, advocate, and most notably, reporter and author since he left the bench in 1971.

His sixth book, “Juvenile Justice: Policies, Practices, and Programs Volume II,” was just released by Civic Research Institute, for whom Rubin also serves as a regular contributor to the excellent Juvenile Justice Update.

The tome spoons out updates for readers on all aspects of juvenile justice from the front door of the system to deep-end placements, mixing citation of news and research with the author’s opinions on issues and trends. It is part reference and part editorial, a book only a guy with Rubin’s breadth of experience could write with credibility.

Youth Today sat down with Rubin, who was in Washington, D.C. for the annual conference of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative.

Youth Today: The first volume of “Policies Practices, and Programs” was written in 2003. What would say are the biggest changes to the juvenile justice landscape since you wrote it?

H. Ted Rubin: We’re in a really good time of making great progress when it comes to dealing with kids who break a law, or who cause problems at school. There’s a long way to go.”

There are two foundations, MacArthur and Casey, that have helped that along sizably.

YT: Is there any aspect in which you feel the field has regressed since your first volume?

HTR: The termination of people working with kids in the system and in private nonprofits. And where we’ve not made nearly enough headway is DMC [disproportionate minority contact]. That’s really a purpose of Casey and MacArthur. And it’s Congress that said states have to evaluate DMC and implement a plan.

YT: Do you view DMC as a reason to solve problems or a problem to solve?

HTR: “DMC is a separate thing. It’s not just a police function, but that’s some of it. [Columbia University researcher] Jeff Fagan talks about changing the reward structure of police so that they could be rewarded for steering a kid to the Boys & Girls Club. Right now, it’s making arrests. And the easiest arrests are minority youths, and schools further that.”


Call for Ideas for the health and success of young men of color
by MAISHA SIMMONS

maisha simmons photoMany barriers make the path to adulthood especially difficult for young men of color. They are more likely to grow up in poverty, live in unsafe neighborhoods and go to under-resourced schools. Moreover, actions that for other young men would be treated as youthful mistakes are judged more severely and are more likely to have lasting consequences. What is at stake for America is the possibility of losing an entire generation of productive men, who will fall short of their potential, live less healthy and successful lives, and fail to build and strengthen their communities.

Forward Promise -- an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -- seeks to find the best ideas to help young men of color succeed in life, school and work. Through this Call for Ideas, we are actively seeking ideas from a broad group of individuals and organizations -- ideas that will help shape our future grantmaking strategy. Ultimately, Forward Promise will identify promising and innovative programs, policies and approaches to evaluate what works, and spread successful models to communities that need them.

Please submit your innovative, collaborative approaches to improve the trajectory for middle- and high-school-aged young men of color in two or more of the following three areas: health, education and employment.

If you have questions, please join the Forward Promise Forum.