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Across the Country, Neighborhoods Gather, Celebrate National Night Out; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Jails Being Reworked (WVMetroNews.com)
    West Virginia's juvenile justice system is being reorganized. “The changes we’re making are positive changes for the division,” said state Director of Juvenile Services Stephanie Bond. On Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Bond talked about the plan that will mean changes at most of West Virginia’s eleven juvenile facilities.
  • Separate Funding for Adult, Juvenile Drug Courts Sought (ClarionLedger.com)
    Youth Court judges want the Legislature to provide separate funding for juvenile and family drug courts. “The adult felony-level drugs courts can operate on funds generated by their fees and assessments on their adult participants,” said Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome, a member of the state Drug Court Advisory Committee. “The juvenile courts cannot operate under this model.”
  • Across the Country, Neighborhoods Gather, Celebrate National Night Out (JJIE.org)
    In theory, National Night Out sounds a little strange — encourage thousands of residents, in cities nationwide to throw block parties and barbecues that will be attended by city law enforcement. In practice, National Night Out is a city-sanctioned, nationwide, one-night event to encourage residents to get to know their neighbors and reclaim their streets, all in an effort to deter crime. In urban hubs across the country, this message resonates particularly strongly, where some communities have historically had complex and sometimes strained relationships with the police.
  • St. Louis Judge to be Honored forWork in Juvenile Justice (Fox2Now.com)
    St. Louis Judge Jimmie Edwards, is to be honored for his work in juvenile justice on November 21, later this year in Washington, D.C. Judge Edwards will be the 2013 recipient of the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, from Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts.
  • OP-ED: Wise Spending Leads to Effective Solutions (JJIE.org)
    "A recent conversation with a group of friends reminded me that discussions about money are complicated and can move easily from discussion to heated argument. I said that more public funds should be dedicated to research about positive outcomes for kids in the juvenile justice system and that the research would lead to development of additional evidence-based programs and practices."

Massachusetts Senate Votes UNANIMOUSLY to Pass Raise the Age Bill; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Massachusetts Senate Votes UNANIMOUSLY to Pass Raise the Age Bill (CFJJ News)
    "We wanted to share the exciting news that the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously today (40-0) in favor of legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include seventeen year olds! We are tremendously grateful to all of you for all of your calls, emails, letters, and support over the entire campaign."
  • Calls For Juvenile Justice Reform Grow In Florida (WJCT.org)
    The calls for juvenile justice reform in Florida are growing, as advocates turn to research to prove that more robust juvenile diversion programs for first-time offenders can prevent kids from dropping out of school.
  • Renewed Push to Raise Age of Being Tried as Adult (NYTimes.com)
    Democratic state lawmakers, community leaders and rights advocates on Thursday renewed a push to raise to 18 the age at which a defendant can be tried as an adult in New York.
  • More Flexibility in Juvenile Court (News-Gazette.com)
    Juvenile courts in Illinois now will be trusted with handling the cases of some minors previously tried as adults. It's a good thing that the cases against most 17-year-olds arrested for misdemeanors and felonies will be resolved in juvenile court beginning Jan. 1.

Successfully Tackling Generations of Substance Abuse and Crime
by SUSAN RICHARDSON

Leaders in Hardin County, Ohio, are using the proven Reclaiming Futures six-step model and strong collaboration to break the generational cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime in their community.

In the video below, Wade Melton, program director of Hardin County Juvenile Court and director of Hardin Community School, describes how Reclaiming Futures positively impacts his work:

Stay tuned for an update about my recent site visit to Hardin County, Ohio.


Scared Straight Continues, Despite Misgivings; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Scared Straight Continues, Despite Misgivings (JJIE.org)
    This week, the fourth season of the A&E TV show “Beyond Scared Straight” follows two young sisters to the adult jail in Douglas County, Ga., where one inmate tells one of the sisters how she could beat her up “and make you not so pretty no more.” Plenty of critics pan the show, saying it publicizes a discredited, harmful practice. Neither Georgia nor the feds will fund such jail tour programs, citing both evidence that it doesn’t work and the liabilities jails take on when they invite minors to meet with inmates.
  • Announcing the New AATOD Blog (AATOD.org)
    "This represents a slightly more informal way of communicating what AATOD is doing in representing the collective interests of our field. AATOD released its most current Five Year Plan in 2012. Three of the most prominent issues affecting the existing system and the future of or field are Health Care Reform; work with the Criminal Justice System; and prescription opioid use and addiction."
  • OP-ED: Troubled Young People Deserve Compassion, Not Punishment (JJIE.org)
    More than 2,500 Californians are serving life sentences in prison for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18. At San Quentin, it is all too common to come across young men serving 35 or 40 years-to-life for crimes they committed before they were old enough to drive — meaning they would be in their 50s before their first parole hearings.
  • National Guard Program Gives Forest Grove, Hillsboro High Dropouts a Second Shot at Education (OregonLive.com)
    Oregon Youth Challenges Program is an alternative school for high school dropouts aged 16 to 18. The program includes a five and a half month residency in Bend, followed by a year of mandatory check-ins by a student mentor and program leaders. The program is voluntary and free for students and their families.

Working Together to Help Teens on Long Island
by SUSAN RICHARDSON

Many thanks to Dennis Reilly, project director in Nassau County, NY, who takes the time to describe how Reclaiming Futures has helped teens on Long Island by promoting community organization, information sharing and evidence-based practices.

 


Locking up Juveniles may Plant Seeds of More Crime; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Seven Officers at Georgia RYDC Removed after “Egregious Policy Violations” (JJIE.org)
    Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced that seven employees at the DeKalb County Regional Youth Detention Center have been removed, following findings from a three-week investigation. According to Jim Shuler, an official DJJ spokesman, three of the officers, among them the facility’s night shift sergeant, resigned while the review was still being conducted.
  • Locking up Juveniles may Plant Seeds of More Crime (The Chicago Tribune)
    Joe Doyle was still a grad student at the University of Chicago in the late 1990s when he went to watch the proceedings in Cook County's juvenile court. He sat there while inexperienced lawyers argued over the fate of young offenders, mostly young black men. He witnessed judges who had to instruct those inexperienced lawyers on procedure at the same time that they, the judges, had to render life-altering decisions.
  • OP-ED: Breaking the Cycle of Hyper-Recidivism (JJIE.org)
    "Is reform a means to cut the budget or is cutting the budget a means to reform? It’s like which came first–the chicken or the egg? For Georgia, I think money is part of the equation, and ultimately becomes part of the outcome, but it’s definitely not the primary objective despite it’s appearance."
  • Charlottesville Forum Focuses on Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice (The Daily Progress)
    Gloria Newman remembered a son’s troubles as a teen and the message she received. “I was looking for help,” Newman said Tuesday at a Charlottesville Commission of Children and Families task force forum. “I was told, he’s not in the system, he can’t get help. There needs to be a preventative measure to get help before they get in the system.”

RECLAIM Ohio: A Promising Alternative to Teen Incarceration
by AVERY KLEIN

PEW recently published a report revealing the effectiveness of the RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to Incarceration of Minors) funding initiative in Ohio. The report found RECLAIM to be highly successful in lowering recidivism rates and saving the state millions of dollars:

RECLAIM is an initiative funding program that allows county courts to implement community based programs in order to provide alternatives to juvenile incarceration for juvenile offenders or youth at risk of offending. The increased funding for counties is based on an equation that refunds counties for the time juvenile offenders would have spent if they had been committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) state facility.

Like many states in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ohio saw an increase in the incarcerated youth population. By 1992, the state reached an all-time high of 180 percent of capacity with many of the youth being first-time nonviolent offenders. The idea was that by better serving low to medium risk offenders through locally tailored community programs, admissions would decrease as well as recidivism rates.


[Photos] Changing Confinement Culture in Olathe, Kansas; News Roundup
by DAVID BACKES

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • [Photos] Changing Confinement Culture in Olathe, Kansas (JJIE.org)
    Last month, Richard Ross, the creator of Juvenile In Justice, visited and photographed two juvenile detention facilities in Olathe, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City. This week the photos are featured on Bokeh, JJIE’s multimedia site.
  • Trial Run for Revised Juvenile Justice System (The New York Times)
    In Travis County, juvenile justice officials have decided that they can do a better job than the state in dealing with the most troubled local offenders, considering Texas’ history of scandal and violence in youth lockups.
  • Summer Jobs May Reduce Teen Violence, Study Says (JJIE.org)
    Summer jobs may help reduce violence, according to a recent study that found that low-income Boston teens who held down summer jobs were less likely to engage in violence than teens without jobs. The study, conducted by researchers at Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, surveyed more than 400 young people who obtained employment last summer through a State Street Foundation youth violence prevention program.
  • JUVENILE JUSTICE: Families Want Changes (WhoTV.com)
    Some Iowa families say the state`s juvenile justice system is broken and they`re suffering because of it. They`re sharing their stories as the state Supreme Court considers making changes. Members of the group Iowa Family Rights met at the Capitol Tuesday claiming parents and grandparents are being denied fair treatment.

In Case You Missed It: A Young Artist in Recovery Tells His Story
by DAVID BACKES

Back in April we shared Guy, a young artist in recovery's story. Today we're featuring it again, because it's such a powerful message. 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.

Through Reclaiming Futures Snohomish County, Henri Wilson and other generous adults are mentoring young artists in the county's juvenile justice system who have substance abuse issues. By engaging in calligraphy, painting and photography classes, teens are viewing life through a different lens.


Reclaiming Futures Forsyth County Lifts Teens
by SUSAN RICHARDSON

Kudos to the Reclaiming Futures team in Forsyth County, N.C. and Dave Moore, for reaching out to the community and lifting up young people: 

For several years now, Moore — the founder of Southside Rides Foundation — has opened his shop up to those in need of a second chance. Young men and women pass through his garage throughout the year as he works with the court system to get them community service hours and auto-body repair training or access to other career training opportunities. He even offers customized training at the shop through a Forsyth Technical Community College program.

Six teens are participating in the summer program at Southside Rides. Moore said the program has been a success so far, but now he is encouraging the community to get involved.

Moore is asking community members to bring their cars by the shop to let the teens wash them. A $5 or $10 donation will go toward a stipend Moore will disburse at the end of each week for the students to spend on items such as clothes or school supplies in preparation for the fall.

But Moore also sees it as a way to engage his students with the community. As they wash people’s cars, Moore hopes they can chat with folks and make positive connections. He is also encouraging police officers to stop by and meet the teens to “bridge the gap.”

At Reclaiming Futures, we believe young people must be connected with community resources and “natural helping” relationships in the community based on their unique strengths and interests.

Please call 503-725-8914 if you’d like to learn more about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community.