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.”

Program in Loudoun County, Virginia Reduces Recidivism in Teens; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Behind 'Juvenile In Justice': A Discussion With Photographer Richard Ross (KMUW.org)
    There are about 70,000 young people in juvenile detention centers or correctional faculties in the United States. Richard Ross spent the past seven years documenting the lives of American juveniles who have been housed in these facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist, and, occasionally, harm them.
  • Program in Loudoun County, Virginia Reduces Recidivism in Teens (ReclaimingFutures.org)
    For over a decade now the Loudoun County, Virginia, School Based Probation (SBP) program has worked to reduce recidivism in teens and made impressive gains in combatting the school-to-prison pipeline. Since the program was instituted in the 2002-2003 school year, SBP has provided “a safety net to those students who might be tempted, through peer pressure or otherwise, to fall into delinquency patterns.”
  • Juvenile Solitary Confinement: Modern-Day ‘Torture’ in the US (JJIE.org)
    As a 17-year-old, Michael Kemp says, he felt like a caged animal. For six months, his world was reduced to the size of a Washington, D.C., jail cell measuring maybe 8 feet by 10 feet. During much of his time in solitary confinement, he spent 23 hours a day alone in the cell.
  • "Kids for Cash" Details a Disturbing Juvenile Court Kickback Scandal (DenverPost.com)
    Deeply shocking and continually surprising, "Kids for Cash" examines the scandal surrounding a Pennsylvania judge's draconian imprisonment of kids for minor hijinks, in exchange for kickbacks from a juvenile detention center.
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Annual Children's Mental Health Research & Policy Conference Wraps Up

Greetings from the Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference, hosted March 2-5, 2014, by the Department of Child & Family Studies at the University of South Florida. 

It has been a busy week with a robust agenda to expand research; translate the science to practice; expand initiatives to strengthen and sustain healthy communities; and improve the quality of life for children and families.

Research has shown a strong link to between substance abuse and teens seeking mental health care.

Stay tuned for lessons learned.

Photo at right: Portland State University was well-represented, as you can see from the contingency (left to right) John Ossowski, Janet Walker, Susan Richardson, and Nancy Koroloff.

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Program in Loudoun County, Virginia Reduces Recidivism in Teens

For over a decade now the Loudoun County, Virginia, School Based Probation (SBP) program has worked to reduce recidivism in teens and made impressive gains in combatting the school-to-prison pipeline. Since the program was instituted in the 2002-2003 school year, SBP has provided “a safety net to those students who might be tempted, through peer pressure or otherwise, to fall into delinquency patterns.”

It’s working. As a direct result of this program, Loudoun has seen its juvenile crime and discipline incidents fall dramatically while its school population has grown.

SBP’s data shows that having a probation officer at school improves attendance, academic performance and student behavior. In addition, SBP reduces recidivism, which lends to a safer school environment and community-at-large.

Keeping teens out of the juvenile justice system isn’t the program’s only goal though. According to an SBP brief,

While recidivism rates for court-involved youth are target, a child with an improved attendance record will perform better academically, and overall behavior in school and the community will improve as well. Truancy often leads to delinquent behavior for many youth. The school based probation officer monitors attendance on a daily basis. The communication gaps between schools and Probation Officers have been greatly reduced.

For more on the Loudoun County School Based Probation, download the PDF >>

For more on the school-to-prison pipeline, see our past reporting >>

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Sneak Peek: Recovery Month 2014

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 >>

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Medicine Abuse Through the Eyes of a Teen; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • The School to Prison Pipeline Issue (Corrections.com)
    The phrase “School to Prison Pipeline” has been widely used to describe what happens when school misconduct is answered with suspension, expulsion, and police intervention, as opposed to primarily internal consequences and sanctions. This “criminalizing” of student behavior, it is suggested, unfairly targets minority juveniles, often injecting them into the juvenile justice system, and increasing the opportunity for premature incarceration as a juvenile offender.
  • Rewrite of Juvenile Justice Statute Would Include Prevention, Trauma-Informed Care (WGCU.org)
    The Florida Legislature is moving to overhaul the law governing the Department of Juvenile Justice during the session that starts March 4th. The rewrite would focus on preventing kids from coming into the juvenile justice system in the first place.
  • Young Voices Become Strong Through WritersCorps (JJIE.org)
    Nine young people stood on a stage last week in San Francisco to read their poetry — and two others detained in juvenile hall had their recorded voices presented. "You can feel the heat and desperation," read student K.M. from his poem about the sun, recorded at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.
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How About a Caring Adult for Every Teen?

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. 

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The Great Hidden Secret: How ‘The Anonymous People’ is Changing Recovery Culture

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.

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New SAMHSA Grants to Expand Treatment Drug Courts

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2014 Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment in Adult Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts and Juvenile Treatment Drug Courts. SAMHSA anticipates $4,550,000 in total funding.

The purpose of this program is to expand and/or enhance substance abuse treatment services in existing adult Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts (which are the tribal version of adult drug courts) and in Juvenile Treatment Drug Courts (tribal or non-tribal) which use the treatment drug court model in order to provide alcohol and drug treatment (including recovery support services supporting substance abuse treatment, screening, assessment, case management, and program coordination) to defendants/offenders.

Grantees will be expected to provide a coordinated, multi-system approach designed to combine the sanctioning power of treatment drug courts with effective treatment services to break the cycle of criminal behavior, alcohol and/or drug use, and incarceration or other penalties.


  • Anticipated Number of Awards: Up to 14
  • Anticipated Award Amount: Up to $325,000 per year
  • Length of Project: Up to 3 years
  • Application Due Date: Monday, March 17, 2014

More information is available at SAMHSA.gov >>

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