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.”

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events
by DAVID BACKES

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!

Jobs

Events

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Our Most Popular Videos of 2013: Number Three
by DAVID BACKES

"Reclaiming Futures Stories: How an Artist Mentor Helped Natalie"

Through Reclaiming Futures Snohomish County, and the Promising Artists in Recovery (PAIR) mentors, Natalie gives up life on the streets to follow her dream of studying photography. This video received the third highest views on our YouTube channel in 2013 and we're excited to share it again.

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Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Black Girls Disproportionately Confined; Struggle for Dignity in Juvenile Court Schools (New Pittsburgh Courier)
    African American girls continue to be disproportionately over-represented among girls in confinement and court-ordered residential placements. They are also significantly over-represented among girls who experience exclusionary discipline, such as out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and other punishment.
  • Teen-Produced Video Highlights Campaign to ‘Raise the Age’ (JJIE.org)
    Last summer, a group of teens enrolled in a program at the New York Center for Juvenile Justice decided to take on what they see as an unfair practice in a recently released video called “Because I’m 16.”
    “Because I’m 16, I can’t drive at night,” a teen says as the video begins. It lists other things you can’t do as a 16-year-old -- drink, smoke, buy a lottery ticket, see an R-rated movie.
  • Reforming the Juvenile Justice System Could Save Hawaii Millions (CivilBeat.com)
    Hawaii is spending nearly $200,000 per bed per year to house juvenile offenders, most of whom got in trouble for non-violent low-level crimes. But the state could save millions of dollars a year by focusing only on the most serious offenders and putting the savings back into the community to help with mental health and substance abuse programs for young offenders, juvenile justice experts say.
  • Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System (JJIE.org)
    In the ABC News video, the white youth and the black youth both appear to be trying to do the same thing: steal a bike in broad daylight in a community park. But the two actors playing thieves, both filmed by hidden cameras at different times, get decidedly different reactions from passers-by.
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How to Help Teens in Detention During the Holidays
by BENJAMIN CHAMBERS

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2010, but we thought you might find it useful.juvenile-justice-system_scraggly-tree-with-one-christmas-bulb-institutional-setting

We know that teens in the juvenile justice system generally have better outcomes when they're connected with their families while they're detained or incarcerated. During the holidays, their feelings of isolation and despair are magnified (and their family members often feel the same way). 

It can make all the difference to have someone remember them during the holidays, and it can be a great opportunity to partner with community organizations. 

Don't know what to do?  Then check out this excellent Holiday Toolkit from the Campaign for Youth Justice. (Be patient - I find the PDF can take a while to load.) It can help you plan:

  • a party or special event at the detention facility (or wherever the youth are locked up);
  • a holiday gift-giving event;
  • a walk-through of the facility by legislators or local policy makers; or
  • a holiday-card campaign.

It's even got sample language for cards, invitations, and a media advisory.  Try it -- and let us know how it goes!

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Informed Journalism: Reporting on Teens and Mental Health
by DAVID BACKES

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) recently hosted a webinar exploring issues around journalism and juvenile justice system. Via JJIE:

Say you've just been assigned to do a story on a 15-year-old kid in trouble with the law. She's got drug problems, she may have mental health issues -- is her story unusual? If her probation officer tells you the girl has been sent to treatment, but it "didn't work," how do you know what questions to ask next?

Get the answers and more in this webinar, where you'll learn about:

  • the actual prevalence of mental health and alcohol and drug issues among young people in the juvenile justice system;
  • why effective treatment is critical to safe communities;
  • how treatment services are funded and regulated;
  • where to go for information about treatment funding and programs in your jurisdiction.

About the presenter: Benjamin Chambers is a writer and editor specializing in juvenile justice who currently works as communications specialist for the National Juvenile Justice Network. Prior to that, he spent seven years working for the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice in Portland Oregon, where he directed the local Reclaiming Futures project.

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Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events
by DAVID BACKES

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!

Jobs

Events

Read More »

Reclaiming Futures Featured in Boston University’s Sphere Magazine Article, “Rethinking Juvenile Justice”
by CECILIA BIANCO

Approximately 343,000 teens are arrested each year for drug and alcohol related crimes; 1.8 million teens need treatment for substance abuse while only 1 in 16 receive it. Dan Merrigan, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University, covers what he believes should happen to positively change the above facts in his recent article “Rethinking Juvenile Justice.”

Merrigan claimed that to begin combating this problem among teens, the juvenile courts should no longer be the leading service for youth with substance abuse problems. Merrigan emphasized the promising research that demonstrates organizations or programs with a multisystemic continuum of care approach are much more suited to make a difference for teens.

In the article, Reclaiming Futures was referenced as a tested model for this approach:

“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.”

This approach is seen by Merrigan as well suited to combat teen substance abuse problems as it provides prevention and intervention outlets, recovery support, incentives for change, and community involvement to young people in need. These different offerings have been proven effective to break the cycle of substance abuse and recidivism for teens.

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Yelling, Threatening Parents Harm Teens' Mental Health; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • OP-ED: U.S. Must Increase Juvenile Justice Protections for Children (JJIE.org)
    "Chicago, my hometown, was the home of the world’s first juvenile court. We are very proud of our history in the pioneering of a separate and more rehabilitative court for children in the United States. And so it comes as a shock to realize that children in the United States have fewer – significantly fewer – legal protections than children in other nations."
  • Gov. Mead of Wyoming Seeks to Collect Juvenile Justice Data (GreenwichTime.com)

    Gov. Matt Mead is asking state lawmakers to budget $500,000 for a system that would allow officials to track information about juvenile offenders in the state. Tony Young, Mead's deputy chief of staff, said Thursday that the money would cover installation of the system to track data about young offenders at the five juvenile detention centers in the state, as well as the Wyoming Boys School and Wyoming Girls School.
  • Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Expands Across Indiana (IndianaNewsCenter.com)
    Indiana’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) will include nineteen counties as the initiative expands across the state. Eleven counties will join the eight current JDAI counties thanks to a partnership of all three branches of government.
  • OP-ED: Diagnosis: Adolescence, Not Otherwise Specified (JJIE.org)
    "Think back to your teenage years for a moment. Were you ever impulsive? Was it important to fit in? Did you make poor decisions? Did you ever do something that (if you had been caught) could have led to serious consequences? Don’t worry if you answered yes to any or all of these questions: you are not alone. For those working with teenagers, the good news is that we now know more than ever about why adolescents tend to have these characteristics or behaviors."
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Powerful Video About Youth in Adult Criminal System
by SUSAN RICHARDSON

Are you ready to be moved? Please take 1.5 minutes to watch "Because I’m 16," a video collaboration between Judge Michael A. Corriero, who presided over the cases of youth in the adult criminal court system; T.J. Parsell a filmmaker who as a teenager served time in an adult prison; and a group of students in the New York Center for Juvenile Justice’s summer associates program.

 

This video was made possible by the generous support of The Sirus Fund, Linda Genereux & Timur Galen, and the MacArthur Family Charitable Foundation.

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Shifts in Juvenile Justice Legislation Spark Debate Among Key Influencers
by CECILIA BIANCO

The shift from the tough-on-crime approach of the 1980s and 1990s has been visible through newly enacted laws (in 23 states) aiming to keep teens out of adult prisons and court systems. This shift is a result of the growing amount of research that suggests placing young people in adult court leads to repeat offenses.

However, some claim that these new laws cause needless delays to prosecution and are an insult to victims. Last Thursday, Diane Rehm and a panel of guests covered this topic and the controversies surrounding it on The Diane Rehm Show.

Guests on the panel included John Schwartz, national correspondent, The New York Times; Liz Ryan, president, Campaign for Youth Justice; and Dan May, district attorney, Colorado Springs.

Throughout the discussion, it became clear that Mr. May opposed this shift in legislation, while Ms. Ryan and Mr. Schwartz supported the shift. This kept the segment interesting and addressed both ends of the spectrum.

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