Middle Schools Add a Team Rule: Get a Drug Test and More; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Does the Juvenile Justice System Really Work? (TheCrimeReport.org)
A five-month-long investigation spearheaded by Ashley Luthern of The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio examined the successes and tragedies produced as local courts, probation and schools struggle to address “disproportionate minority contact rates.”
- Frequency Of Kids Sent To Detention Varies Widely (Courant.com)
Juveniles in the Hartford, Connecticut judicial district who break the law are far more likely to be locked in a pre-trial detention center following arrests or referrals than juveniles from the state's other districts, an analysis of data from the judicial department shows.
- 12 Investigates: Can Brain Injury Lead to Prison? (NBC12.com)
Are more kids ending up in jail because of a traumatic brain injury? A study underway of Virginia's Juvenile Justice system recently revealed as many as 20% of the children incarcerated right now have a traumatic brain injury.
- Juvenile Justice System Youths Express Themselves in Play (OregonLive.com)
Over the summer, a group of youths in the Clackamas County, Oregon juvenile justice system prepared a performance that was central to who they are. They received a standing ovation for their show, "Choices," and for their courage in telling their stories.
Imprisoned Teens Found More Likely to Re-offend and More; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Illinois to Improve Conditions at Youth Prisons (St. Louis CBS Local)
Illinois is promising to improve safety at its youth prisons and offer inmates better educational and mental health services. The Department of Juvenile Justice agreed to the improvements after the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois threatened to sue.
- U.S. Families Fret at Juvenile Justice System in Crisis (The Raw Story)
Relatives of jailed young Americans called Tuesday for reform of a juvenile justice system they say fails to help young people and is biased against youth of color. “More than two million children are arrested every year in the United States and the numbers continue to rise, despite the decreasing incidence of true criminal offenses,” according to the study released by the Justice for Families program at the research organization DataCenter.
- Imprisoned Teens Found More Likely to Re-offend (Jacksonville.com)
A new report shows that children and teenagers locked up for breaking the law have become 6 percent more likely to commit another crime than they were in 2003. The figures come from a study conducted by the Pew Center on the States at the request of a commission appointed to propose an overhaul to the juvenile-justice system in Georgia.
- GIVING BACK - Troubled Youths get Chance to Serve Community through DJJ Initiative (TheTandD.com)
A group of local youths spent Friday morning working with officers at the Orangeburg County, SC Department of Juvenile Justice as part of Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service. The program is a statewide initiative that gives young people who have made poor choices an opportunity to give back through community service.
- Juvenile Court Records can Follow Kids to College (The Morning Call)
Juvenile court records could begin following youthful offenders to college after a state appeals court decision in the child pornography case of a Whitehall Township teen. The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a Lehigh County judge's decision to notify the boy's university that he had admitted looking at and trading child pornography over the Internet.
- Michael Griffiths: The TT Interview (The Texas Tribune)
Michael Griffiths never really retired after 15 years as head of juvenile services for the Dallas County Juvenile Department. He taught online courses at his alma mater, Sam Houston State University, and consulted on juvenile issues, and he even handed out programs at Texas Rangers games. On Monday, Griffiths will become the new executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
From Detention Cells to the Stage and More; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Cops Fan Out To Schools (New Haven Independent)
For three days last week cops all over New Haven, CT descended on every school for the beginning of the academic year. It was a new push to connect cops with kids—one that Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova pledges to make a year-round citywide campaign.
- New Juvenile Justice Program Shows Early Promise (Statesman.com)
Texas officials call them the worst of the worst. But at first glance, the eight teenage boys slouched at stainless steel tables, in gray polo shirts and khaki pants, might pass for a bunch of sullen high-schoolers almost anywhere in Texas. The youths are the focal point of an initiative by state officials to curb violence inside Texas' state-run youth lockups.
- Sweet Tweet: Keri Hilson Inspires Girls at Juvenile Justice Center (act.MTV.com)
Keri Hilson wants to make a difference! We all remember when she got involved with AIDS Walk New York for the MTV Staying Alive Foundation team, and now Keri has Tweeted about her latest do-gooder act.
- From Detention Cells to the Stage (CNN.com)
Over the past decade, the Synchronicity theater group has returned to Georgia juvenile detention centers several times a year to help girls write plays about drug addiction, rape, abusive parents and cheating boyfriends, but also plays about finding love and making amends.
- After Supreme Court Ruling, PA Grapples With Juvenile-Lifer Questions (TheCrimeReport.org)
With more juvenile lifers in prison than any other state, Pennsylvania lawmakers are taking the first steps to consider what changes are needed in state law now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down laws that require juveniles convicted of homicide to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, reports the Scranton Times-Tribune.
Summer Program Teaches Teens Basics of Farm Work and More; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- [OPINION] With Volunteers' Help, Teens at Halfway House will Continue to Soar (Statesman.com)
"The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (formerly the Texas Youth Commission) has been embroiled in difficult discussions with legislators and community leaders about policy, politics and performance for as long as most of us can remember. But what people like you and I often forget, or never think about, is that there are kids at stake."
- Clark County Juvenile Justice System Processing Fewer Teens (OregonLive.com)
The number of teenagers entering Clark County's juvenile justice system has dropped by half in the last five years, leading those involved in the system to wonder why. In 2007, schools, police and other agencies referred to the county justice system a total of 3,575 juveniles who had committed misdemeanor and felony offenses. So far this year, the number is 1,584.
- A Roadmap to the Future of Juvenile Justice (NewAmericaMedia.org)
Juvenile justice is transforming throughout America. Though there is a long road ahead to reform these systems into effective, rehabilitative programs that no longer make children worse, there is great promise in jurisdictions across the country, that are changing how they work with youth.
- Juveniles Entitled to Hearing Before Being Moved to State Prison, N.J. Court Panel Rules (NJ.com)
Unruly juveniles housed at any of New Jersey's facilities for young offenders are entitled to a hearing before they're transferred to a state prison, a state appeals court panel ruled today. Teens under the jurisdiction of the state Juvenile Justice Commission need more than same-day notice of the transfer, the court said.
- Register Wants to Hear your Juvenile Justice Experiences (DesMoinesRegister.com)
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were arrests of nearly 1.3 million people under age 18 in the United States in 2010. Despite public perception of teens being especially dangerous, less than 1 percent of the arrests were for murder, manslaughter or forcible rape.
- Summer Program Teaches Teens Basics of Farm Work (Missoulian.com)
The Youth Harvest project is run in partnership with Missoula’s Youth Drug Court, Human Resource Council and Willard School. Some of the Youth Harvest members are referred through court, others through their teachers or counselors. All must apply and interview for the job.
Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse and More; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Bike Donation Makes Difference at Youth Facilities (UTICAOD.com)
Residents of four upstate juvenile justice facilities operated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) now have refurbished bicycles to ride. They were donated by Community Bikes, a Hamilton-based organization which refurbishes and “upcycles” unused bicycles to those who need them.
- NC to Examine Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice System (HispanicBusiness.com)
North Carolina has formed an interim commission to begin studying racial disparities in the criminal justice system. The move follows The Fayetteville Observer's report in June that a task force for defense lawyers found that blacks and Hispanics are "systematically searched at much higher rates than whites."
- Juvenile Offender Program Working (TBO.com)
A program to keep first-time juvenile offenders out of Hillsborough County, Florida's criminal justice system recorded a 91 percent success rate after one year, county commissioners learned Thursday.
New Report on the Well Being of Children Shows Progress, Room For Improvement
A report recently released from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics found that while several indicators of children’s well being have improved in recent years, there are significant areas that still need to be addressed. One of the most significant issues is the increasing numbers of children living in poverty. The study, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being,” examined a range of indicators including family and social environment, economic circumstance, physical environment and safety.
Safety showed some of the best improvement. Via the report, “In 2010, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 7 crimes per 1,000 juveniles ages 12–17, down from 11 per 1,000 in 2009.” This drop was primarily seen in the violent victimization crime rates of young males, but unfortunately the rate for female youths did not see any significant change.
King County, Washington Buys into Juvenile Justice and More; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Opinion: A Broken Juvenile Justice System (The Baltimore Sun)
Youthful offenders at Baltimore Detention Center won't be better off if the state builds a new $70 million juvenile jail; the whole policy of charging minors as adults needs rethinking.
- Times Editorial: Voters buy into Need for New Juvenile-Justice Center (The Seattle Times)
Voters rightly grasped that this proposal was not about new jail beds, but about a critical investment in a public service. The alternative, sinking an estimated $40 million into repairing the current buildings, was not the answer.
- Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Many Minors May Stay in Prison for Life (ProPublica)
Under the Supreme Court's ruling, minors can still get life without parole sentences — just not automatically after a conviction; instead a judge will need to decide, taking into account the minor's youth.
School Counselors Not Trained to Address Teen Dating Violence, Study Finds
In the report, “Adolescent Dating Violence: A National Assessment of School Counselors’ Perceptions and Practices” researchers surveyed 550 school counselors about adolescent dating violence (ADV) and current practices for dealing with it. The majority of counselors reported that have dealt with ADV but haven’t had any training on proper protocol for helping survivors.
It’s no secret that dating violence is a big problem in the United States. According to the report’s press release, past studies have linked adolescent dating violence with everything from thoughts of suicide to unhealthy weight gain.
Pennsylvania judge dismisses 2,000 juvenile cases in “kids for cash” scandal and more -- news roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- New Mexico’s Governor proposes change in agency for juvenile justice, child welfare
In her budget proposals released Thursday, the New Mexico's Gov. Martinez calls for consolidating juvenile justice programs into one division within the department and moving domestic violence services into a part of the agency that handles child abuse and neglect cases.
- Are arrests a poor answer for young people in trouble?
The Hartford Courant:
Increasingly adults are recognizing that arrest should be a last resort in dealing with adolescent behavior. The Connecticut Judicial Branch has begun rejecting school-based arrests when the offenses do not rise to the level of true delinquency. Instead, the courts offers suggestions to police and school administrators about community resources that could more appropriately — and more cheaply — help address a child's issues.
- For teens guilty of murder, penalties can vary widely
The Boston Globe:
Two recent cases illustrate the profound inequities that have grown up in the juvenile justice system since passage of a 1996 law aimed at cracking down on juvenile “super predators’’ by requiring them to be tried in adult court, an investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found. Before the change, teenage murder defendants were sometimes tried in juvenile court, where, if convicted, they could be sentenced to serve only until age 21. Now such teenagers as young as 14 can be sentenced to life without parole.
- Probation officers move into schools
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Public schools in Georgia’s DeKalb County are allowing probation officers into the schools, and in some cases giving them office space, so they can keep an eye on students who have run afoul of the law.
- DOJ steps up oversight of juvenile justice
The Wall Street Journal:
The Justice Department, stepping up its oversight of the juvenile justice system, has launched an investigation into whether school and law enforcement officials are targeting black students in Meridian, Miss., for unfair treatment.
- Maryland Judge George Bacon Rasin Jr. passes away
The Baltimore Sun:
George Bacon Rasin Jr., a former Kent County circuit judge who led a movement to modernize juvenile justice in Maryland, died of congestive heart failure Friday at the Edenwald Retirement Community in Towson. He was 94.
- Pennsylvania judge dismisses 2,000 juvenile cases in “kids for cash” scandal
Newsworks by WHYY:
A judge brought in to clean up after a "kids for cash" scandal has expunged every juvenile court case decided by a Pennsylvania jurist convicted of corruption.
Generic anti-bullying classes found to be ineffective and more -- news roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- California counties to pay the state $125,000 to house juvenile offenders
California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state has to pull the trigger on a series of mid-year budget cuts due to low tax revenues. One of those reductions shaves $67 million from the state’s juvenile justice budget. The cut will force counties to foot the bill for Juvenile Justice wards in state custody, at a cost of $125,000 per youth. Alameda County could be put in a $6.2 million bind.
- Kentucky looks for better way to help young offenders
Kentucky officials are looking for better ways to deal with youth who commit noncriminal offenses such as skipping school or running away. Research shows that detaining status offenders is the least effective and most expensive option. State leaders admit the system needs improvement.
- Oregon will stop holding juvenile offenders in adult prison
After federal auditors questioned the practice, Oregon has stopped temporarily holding youth in adult prisons. The Partnership for Safety and Justice, which works on criminal justice issues, won legislation in the 2011 session to encourage local authorities to hold youth in juvenile facilities while they await trial.
- New Report: Generic anti-bullying classes found to be ineffective
OJJDP has issued a report in which bullying in schools is examined and recommendations are made for the best ways schools can provide support to bullying victims. The study found generic curriculum is an ineffective substitute for student-focused engagement strategies.
- Ohio Courts use internet for greater connectivity
Ohio’s Coshocton County’s Common Pleas Court, Juvenile and Probate Court and Municipal Court are using the internet to share information more easily with the public and other courts. The Common Pleas Court launched a searchable database for the public that features basic information on open and closed cases with the court.
- South Carolina law enforcement officers complete DJJ gang, violence prevention training
Recognizing that many kids face significant pressure to join a gang, the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice has partnered with the Gang Resistance Education and Training program in multiple communities across the state to bring the curriculum to local elementary and middle school youth.
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment
- New government program aims to protect children from accidental drug overdoses
A new government program aims to protect young children from accidental drug overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the “Up and Away and Out of Sight” program, to teach parents how to keep medications out of the hands of young children.