Piper Kerman, author of the memoir "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison" and executive consultant to the Netflix series by the same name, has a unique perspective on what teens in prison need to be successful.
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.
Now is the time to help young people struggling with drugs, alcohol and crime. Partner with us to bring Reclaiming Futures to your community!
Our model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment providers and the community to reclaim youth. Together, they work to improve drug and alcohol treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.
“Reclaiming Futures is not a program. Rather, it is an organizational change and system reform that uses a six-step model...to interact with the community and improve outcomes for youth in the justice system.”

The Long-Term Effects of Abuse on Incarcerated Teens; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

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Father Greg Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries, to Speak at 2014 Leadership Institute

Each year, Reclaiming Futures fellows from each of the 39 sites are invited to convene for two and a half days to share experiences, exchange information and learn from national experts.

In just one week, Father Greg Boyle, known for being the founder and Executive Director of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and reentry program in the United States, will speak at the 2014 National Leadership Institute. We couldn’t be more excited!

Father Greg is the author of the New York Times best seller, "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion." He’s been nationally recognized over the past 25 years for his devotion to our most vulnerable populations. In his words:

There is an idea that has taken root in this world, that is at the root of everything that is wrong with this world, and that idea is that some lives matter more than others. At Homeboy Industries, the most important thing that we do is to say: you matter, you count, you are worth something.

The theme of this year’s Leadership Institute, "Embrace the Vision, Advance the Mission, Leave a Legacy," builds upon Father Greg’s inspiring words. At Reclaiming Futures, we’re looking forward to coming together next week to further advance our mission of helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime.

For those who are unable to attend this year’s Leadership Institute, you can follow along on Twitter using #RFutures14. Also, subscribe to the blog and newsletter to stay up-to-date on presentation materials as they become available.

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Upcoming Webinar to Announce Recommendations for Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a critical problem for youth in the juvenile justice system. An upcoming webinar, Preventing Suicide Among Justice-Involved Youth: Newly Developed Tools, Recommendations, and Research, will describe a comprehensive set of nine new resources from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System Task Force.

In addition to outlining these new resources, the webinar will also discuss the Juvenile Justice Task Force’s research findings and recommendations for staff working with this vulnerable population, which advance from the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

Alarming facts from the Juvenile Justice Task Force about suicide with youth in the justice system include:

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for youth in confinement.
  • Over half of youth in the justice system were considering suicide.
  • One-third of youth in the justice system had a history of suicidal behavior.
  • Risk factors for suicide are often more common among youth in the juvenile justice system.
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Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

Below you'll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It's free to browse and post!



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JJIE.org Releases New Digital Magazine Featuring Stories of Key Juvenile Justice Issues

Last week the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange launched a new multimedia digital magazine in celebration of its fourth year of journalism. The new magazine will feature top stories in juvenile justice on key issues including mental health, substance abuse and disproportionate minority contact.

This new magazine platform will combine video, text and photography to offer a multimedia picture of juvenile justice and the complex issues surrounding it. The first issue, released last week, includes the following feature stories:

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Juvenile Justice Bill Clears Ky. Senate; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

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Montgomery County, Ohio Juvenile Court Gets Creative in the Snow

Last month, Montgomery County, Ohio Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi found himself trapped in the heavy Washington, D.C. snowstorm right before a drug court docket of 41 teens and families expected to see him back home.

The story below, from the Montgomery County, Ohio Drug Court Gazette, details how Judge Capizzi and the drug court staff came up with a creative solution to ensure that the teens could continue their recovery without disruption.

On February 12, 2014, Judge Capizzi called his drug court team with bad news: The February 14th docket was at risk of being canceled due to him being stranded in Washington, D.C. The city had shut down due to a snow storm and all flights were canceled. The drug court team desperately searched for a solution, knowing that if the drug court docket had to be canceled, 41 families would have to be rescheduled.

The Montgomery County juvenile drug court team set out to find an alternative to having the cases continued. "Our families already dedicate so much of their time to supporting their youth by taking them to counseling sessions and bi-weekly court hearings, I do not want to further inconvenience them by canceling and having them reschedule,” commented Judge Capizzi.

When presented with the idea of using Skype to bring the Judge to the courtroom, Judge
Capizzi was thrilled with the idea. Working with the court’s data services staff, a plan evolved for the Judge to hold court using Skype through his iPad, and the system was quickly tested. The drug court team was concerned as to whether the Skype program could be set up and operating smoothly with such short notice. Holding court through Skype had never been done in this court before. The pressure was on.

A total of 48 cases, which consisted of 41 drug court youth and seven other cases, were heard by the Judge through Skype. The families were impressed with Judge Capizzi’s willingness to sit in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. and conduct all of his cases through Skype so that they would not have to take additional time off work for a new court date. The attorneys and other court personnel were also happy that court could be held as scheduled.

”Rescheduling a docket this size and trying to ensure that all parties involved with each case are notified is a huge deal. I am very excited that Judge Capizzi was open to trying out this technology. It was cool. All the kids loved it,” commented Katie Brower, Case Manager.

Special thanks to Josh Kirkendall and Ramona Wilson from Data Services for assisting with this event.

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New Research Finds Excessive Discipline Harms Student Achievement

In a report by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative, discrepancies in school discipline are found to be a serious problem that result in a wide range of negative student outcomes, including lowered academic achievement, increased risk of dropout, and increased likelihood of contact with the juvenile justice system.

Funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Societies Foundations, the Collaborative consists of 26 researches, educators, advocates, and policy analysts that spent nearly three years working to develop and support a policy agenda for reform to improve students outcomes in school discipline and encourage effective interventions.

Some of the key points discussed in the briefing papers include:

  • Removal from school for minor rule breaking happens too often and increases dropout risks, juvenile justice involvement, and can severely impair the economy.
  • Excessive disciplinary exclusion harms some groups more than others, including black males and Latinos.
  • There are effective and promising alternatives to exclusionary discipline and interventions, which can improve learning conditions for all students.

Find the full briefing papers from the Discipline Disparities Series here >>

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National Institute of Justice Announces Funding Opportunity To Increase School Safety

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has announced the fiscal year 2014 funding opportunity, Investigator-Initiated Research: The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The goals of this initiative are to improve the knowledge and understanding of school safety and violence, and enhance school safety programs through social and behavioral science research.

Under the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, NIJ will allocate approximately $15 million for multiple grants to fund research that will address school safety issues directly and strive to achieve the following:

  • Examine the root causes of school violence
  • Develop new technologies
  • Apply evidence-based practices
  • Test pilot programs to enhance school safety

As a starting point, Congress has identified a number of factors and issues related to school safety programs that investigators might consider for research and evaluation:

  • The school-to-prison pipeline
  • Gaps in the nation’s mental health system
  • Exposure to violence in the media
  • Bullying prevention programs or other violence prevention programs/initiatives
  • Crisis/emergency management
  • Efforts to address disparate treatment of students (based on race, disability, sex, etc.)
  • School discipline alternatives and restorative justice
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