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Is the Juvenile Justice System "Improving Lives or Devastating Them?" and More: a Roundup
  • juvenile-justice-system_old-TVIs the Juvenile Justice System "Improving Lives or Devastating Them?" U.S. Attorney General Asks
    Attorney General Eric Holder wants to see the juvenile justice system shift from prosecution and punishment to prevention and intervention, as he made clear in a March 7th speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference. Among other things, he pointed to the evidence showing that "scared straight programs" are ineffective, and the high rate of sexual victimization of detained youth. 
  • States Try Fewer Youth in Adult Court  
    Only a few states -- New York and North Carolina among them -- continue to treat 16-year-olds as adults when it comes to the justice system. Money's an issue, because it's more expensive to try them in the juvenile justice system. However, a new analysis from the Vera Institute of Justice finds that the fiscal benefits outweigh the costs.
  • States Back Away From Punitive Drug Laws
    The high cost of imprisoning low-level drug offenders is adding momentum to efforts to reform punitive drug laws that incarcerate people without addressing their underlying treatment problem.

Treatment Providers - Get Help with 3rd-Party Billing from NIATx

adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_adding-machine-illustrationAs you make your resolutions for 2011, be sure to add "Join the ACTION Campaign webinars" to your list.

The NIATx ACTION Campaign offers two free webinars per month. In the next six months, most of our webinars will focus on helping substance abuse treatment agencies of all sizes learn how to create or improve their billing systems. We’ll be working to bust some of the myths that keep agencies from working with third-party payers.

In the ACTION webinars, experts and peers will share their experiences that show that you don't need:

  • a contract with an insurance provider to submit a bill for services
  • a large billing department; or 
  • to purchase an expensive electronic billing system.

National Mentoring Month and More - a Roundup

positive-youth-development_old-TV-that-says-newsJanuary is National Mentoring Month

20 Resources for Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Treatment: a 2010 Roundup

juvenile-justice-reform_man-with-crates-on-dollyIn 2010, we posted tons of useful links for professionals, policymakers, and advocates connected with the juvenile justice system and adolescent substance abuse treatment.

Rather than warehouse them all on the blog, we're wheeling some of them out on display again. Maybe you overlooked some of them last year, or never got a chance to download that nifty tool kit -- now's your chance. Here's 20 of them, listed below in random order:

  1. The Partnership at's Treatment E-Book for parents. (Follow link, go to first bullet.)
  2. How to Get Teens to Engage in Treatment - a proven toolkit from NIATx that increases retention by on orienting teens to treatment. (Follow link, scroll to third bullet down.)
  3. What works in juvenile justice? Check out this international literature review, compiled for an Australian Member of Parliament. (Follow link and scroll to third bullet.)

Substance Use and Delinquency Among Serious Adolescent Offenders and More: A Roundup

Juvenile Justice System Information-Sharing Tool Kit

juvenile-justice-resource_info-sharing-tool-kit-coverAnyone concerned about sharing information about juveniles in the justice system -- and if you're a probation officer, evaluator, policy maker, or program developer, you should be -- will want to get hold of this new tool kit from the Models for Change initiative.

Authored by the Child Welfare League of America and the Juvenile Law Center and underwritten by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the tool kit articulates the "principles that govern information and data sharing including legal, constitutional and ethical concerns; and the use of aggregate data to best inform practice."

But what kind of information-sharing are we talking about? All kinds: you'll find the kit is covers information-sharing for three different purposes:

Teen Addiction: Helping Parents Understand, Connect and Navigate Services

adolescent-substance-abuse_Time-to-Get-Help-logoNine million of America's teens and young adults are struggling with drugs and alcohol¹, yet unlike most other adolescent health issues or diseases, parents have not found a concise path to resources and support for teen drug and alcohol addiction. A new science-based resource called Time To Get Help from The Partnership at was just released in beta form to begin helping meet these needs.

Resources within Time To Get Help include:

Roundup: Gay Teens Face Harsher Punishments
  • juvenile-justice-system_corrections-spending-graphicGrowth in Corrections Spending 1987-2007 Dwarfed Spending on Higher Ed (see image at right) - Curious about where your state stands? Follow the link and check the graph.  It would be interesting to see the same data comparing spending on the juvenile justice system with middle- and high-school spending.  (Hat tip to Jim Carlton.) 
  • Gay Teens Are Punished More Heavily in School and in Juvenile Court - From The New York Times: A national study of 15,000 middle school and high school teens published in Pediatrics found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are more likely to be expelled from school than their straight peers, and more likely to be stopped, arrested, and adjudicated.  And "it's not because they're misbehaving more," says the study's lead author, Kathryn Himmelstein. (Hat tip to Dan Merrigan.)

Youth Guides to Building Budgets and Logic Models


Work with teens in the juvenile justice system who sit on a youth advisory council? Do you need some help coaching them on how to understand budgeting or how to build and use ... (drum roll, please) ... logic models? 

The Finance Project is way ahead of you. They've produced two excellent guides:

  1. The Youth Guide to Budgeting
  2. The Youth Guide to Developing Logic Models


(Hat tip to

Roundup: Teens Saving Teens - and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment_News-signJames Bell on Juvenile Justice Reform

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.)