Reclaiming Futures Judge South Coast Woman of the Year
Congratulations to Judicial Fellow Bettina Borders, recently recognized by The Standard-Times in Massachusetts as South Coast Woman of the Year for her contributions to the community as a judge and activist.
Judge Borders has been helping young people her whole life, and for the last few years, implementing the Reclaiming Futures model to help teens in trouble.
By working with the City of New Bedford, Bristol County Sheriff's Office, and Bristol County District Attorney Office, Judge Borders and her team are working with the community, treatment providers and social service agencies to provide better intervention, substance abuse treatment and mental health services to young people in need.
We are proud of Judge Borders and salute her committment to her community!
What’s Next for Nebraska’s Juvenile Justice System?
On Thursday, December 6, nearly 250 Nebraskans gathered in Lincoln for Voices for Children’s first ever Juvenile Justice Summit. For the past 25 years, Voices for Children has been working to improve Nebraska’s juvenile justice system, but we know we haven’t gotten where we need to go for children and youth.
The juvenile justice summit was an opportunity for a range of stakeholders to begin a broader conversation about how Nebraska’s system functions and what changes need to be made so that youth in the juvenile justice system are put on a path towards a bright future.With the generous support of the Woods Charitable Fund, Boys Town, Douglas County’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, the Platte Institute, and the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association, participants heard from a number of national and local experts on juvenile justice reform.
So just where does Nebraska go from here? Experts shared some of their thoughts:
- Reducing Nebraska’s Reliance on Juvenile Incarceration: The United States is alone among developed nations in its frequent use of incarceration, which over time has proved to be costly, ineffective, and dangerous for youth. Nebraska currently incarcerates about 600 youth a year. Almost ¾ have never committed a violent offense. Bart Lubow of the Annie E. Casey Foundation recommended reducing the use of incarceration, which is better for youth and will free up resources for investment in other areas of the juvenile justice summit. [download his PPT presentation]
- Decreasing the Number of Filings in Adult Court: Nebraska is one of the few states in the nation that frequently processes nearly half of children and youth through adult court, where few rehabilitative opportunities are available. Dr. Anne Hobbs, director of the Juvenile Justice Institute, pointed out the links between adult court involvement and higher rates recidivism. [download her materials]
- Creating a System Consistent with the Needs of Children: Youth with involvement in Nebraska’s juvenile justice system shared their desire for more consistency, more contact and support from family and other significant adults in their lives, and more voice and choice in juvenile justice cases. Dr. Kayla Pope talked about the need to build trauma-informed juvenile justice systems acknowledging the mental health needs and histories of youth who come through its doors. [download her PPT presentation]
- Bolstering Community-Based Services: Many states rely on incarceration and detention because of a lack of community-based juvenile justice services. Betsy Clarke and Jim McCarter from Illinois shared the success of the Redeploy Illinois program in improving community safety, effectively serving youth, and saving state dollars. [download their PPT presentation] Jeanette Moll and Marc Levin presented a paper on Nebraska’s juvenile justice system that highlighted the need for greater County Aid dollars.
Juvenile Injustice; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Juvenile Injustice (Honolulu Weekly)
A recent study finds that native Hawaiian youth are twice as likely to end up in the juvenile justice system (JJS) as any other ethnic group. And with youth employment at lower rates in 2011 than at any time during the prior decade, the problem may get worse.
- Local Law Enforcement Officials See Drop in Juvenile Crime (Boston.com)
From prosecutors to police officers on the street to the state Department of Youth Services, there is consensus that juvenile crime has declined in this region as well as the rest of the Massachusetts. Overall, juvenile crime is down 37 percent in Massachusetts from 2009 to 2011, according to a recent report by Citizens for Juvenile Justice, a research and advocacy group in Boston.
- Juvenile Court Reform in Tennessee (The New York Times)
The juvenile justice system in the United States is supposed to focus on rehabilitation for young offenders. But for generations, it has largely been a purgatory, failing to protect them or give them the help and counseling they need to become law-abiding adults. Children who end up in juvenile courts often do not get due process protections like written complaints presenting the charges against them, adequate notice about legal proceedings or meaningful assistance of counsel.
- Meetings to be Held on Overrepresentation of Minority Youth in Kansas Criminal Justice System (DodgeGlobe.com)
The state of Kansas is undertaking a statewide assessment on the extent to which minority youth are over-represented in the juvenile justice system. A series of public meetings will be held so that members of the public can hear the results of the study and to provide feedback to public officials involved in the juvenile justice system in Kansas.
- Durbin Chairs First Hearing on School to Prison Pipeline (DailyHerald.com)
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin Wednesday chaired the first federal hearing looking at the relationship between schools and the criminal justice system. The hearing follows a recent change in Illinois law prompted by an attack on an Elgin teacher and subsequent Daily Herald investigation.
- Juvenile Justice: State Sees Decrease in Incarcerated Youth (Amarillo.com)
How times have changed for the Texas juvenile justice system. Five years ago, the number of youths locked up in state-run detention centers was about 4,700. Since then, the number has steadily dropped, and now it is less than 1,500 — more than a two-thirds reduction.
Thousands More Teens Now Diverted from New York Juvenile Court
Each year, more than 10,000 teens aged 15 and younger are arrested by police. They begin their journey into the criminal justice system with a visit to an intake officer at the Department of Probation. Increasingly, the trip stops there. In a remarkable turnaround, the probation department has become an off-ramp for thousands of teens each year, diverting them away from court and into short-term community programs.
The number of teens aged 15 and under whose cases have been “adjusted” and closed by the probation department increased 47 percent between 2009 and last year, and has more than doubled since 2006. In 2011, 4,564 teens under age 16 arrested in New York City—38 percent of the total—had their cases closed through adjustment, up from 3,107 two years earlier.
Today, the city funds nearly 30 community-based adjustment programs, serving just over 800 young people as of June. The terms of an adjustment can include restitution for victims and the completion of one of these special programs, which involve community service or other projects. Adjustment periods typically last 60 days, though they can be extended to four months with a judge’s approval. If a young person meets the terms, he or she walks away from the case with no need to go deeper into the justice system. And that’s exactly the point: Especially for low-level offenders, explains Deputy Commissioner of Probation Ana Bermudez, involvement with the justice system often does more harm than good. “There is significant research that youth outcomes actually deteriorate with court processing, particularly when you’re looking at low-risk youth,” she says. “You interfere with those supports that were making them low-risk in the first place.”
Back on Track after Being Behind Bars; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- A Flash Mob for Juvenile Justice Reform, Family Engagement and More (NJJN.org)
Update from Youth Justice Leadership Institute Alumna, Rukia Lumumba: "To provide more visibility to the raise the age issue, I coordinated a flash mob in Times Square for YJAM (Youth Justice Awareness Month) in collaboration with my agency (the Center for Community Alternatives) and the Correctional Association of New York. Approximately 15 advocates and youth participated in the flash mob, which was viewed by hundreds of people in Times Square."
- Letter: Juvenile Justice Sees Progress (TheAdvocate.com)
Some good news about Louisiana’s success on the juvenile justice reform front was announced last week in the results of a nationwide study. While the news did not make headlines in state media, it is certainly noteworthy and indicative of the state’s reform progress. The study examined implementation of proven programs for juvenile offenders and indicated Louisiana as one of the five top states in adopting programs proven to be most effective in dealing with delinquent or violent youth and their families.
- Back on Track after Being Behind Bars (FindYouthInfo.gov)
Returning to society after being incarcerated isn’t easy. Yet a group of formerly incarcerated youth that recently met with U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier are refusing to let their past lives determine their future. They’re overcoming challenges and building better lives for themselves through grit and resilience.
Top 11-15 Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | 2012
Continuing our countdown of the top blog posts from 2012, here's 15 - 11.
15. Bryan Stevenson at TED2012 on Injustice, Juvenile Justice System, Need for Reform
"How can a judge turn a child into an adult?" That's a question lawyer Bryan Stevenson has spent years asking.
14. Rethinking Juvenile Justice: Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Crossover Youth
A recent report by the Conrad Hilton Foundation found “membership in the crossover group to be a strong and consistent predictor of less desirable [adult] outcomes,” including heavy use of public services, high likelihood of criminal justice involvement, lower educational attainment, and extremely high use of outpatient mental health treatment.
13. The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Teen Crime
Consistent and substantial evidence exists that supports the relationship between substance abuse and criminal behaviors in youth.
Top 16-20 Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | 2012
Continuing our countdown of the top juvenile justice blog posts of 2012, here are numbers 16-20:
20. Lessons from Death Row Inmates: Reform the Juvenile Justice System
In looking for ways to reduce the number of death penalty cases, David R. Dow realized that a surprising number of death row inmates had similar biographies -- they started out as economically disadvantaged and otherwise troubled kids.
19. Youth Transfers to the Adult Corrections System More Likely to Reoffend
Juveniles transferred to adult corrections systems reoffend at a higher rate than those who stay in the juvenile justice system, according to a recent report from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).
18. Beating the School-to-Prison Pipeline by Focusing on Truancy, Absenteeism
There is a strong correlation between missing school in the elementary years and winding up in jail, explains a Superior Court Judge.
The Crime Report's Person of the Year; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- The Crime Report's Person of the Year (TheCrimeReport.org)
A New York University law professor who persuaded the Supreme Court to extend its ban on mandatory sentences of life without parole (LWOP) for juveniles to young people convicted of murder—and thereby dramatically transformed the landscape of juvenile justice—is The Crime Report’s choice for Criminal Justice Person of the Year in 2012.
- Georgia Juvenile Justice Reform Recommendations Would Lock Up Fewer to Save Millions (AJC.com)
Georgia should save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year by diverting some juveniles away from detention facilities and into community-based programs, according to a group tasked with reviewing the state’s criminal justice system. The state’s Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians recommends reversing some of the harsher policies of the 1990s on how Georgia punishes its youngest offenders.
- Discussing Juvenile Justice with "Pure Politics" In Kentucky (RightOnCrime.com)
Last month, Right On Crime’s Jeanette Moll traveled to Kentucky to present research on juvenile justice to stakeholders involved in reforming several aspects of the state juvenile system — including how it handles status offenders. A task force in Kentucky is studying the issue, and it is looking for lessons from Texas’s experience.
- Department of Justice Enters into Agreement to Reform the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee (Justice.gov)
The Department of Justice announced that it has entered into a comprehensive memorandum of agreement with the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn., to resolve findings of serious and systemic failures in the juvenile court that violate children’s due process and equal protection rights.
- Improving Juvenile Justice (MiamiHerald.com)
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice officials and staff are traveling around the state to educate stakeholders and citizens on the reach of its new “Roadmap to System Excellence” plan. What the plan does is sets Florida on a new path in this endlessly fraught area of juvenile delinquency and its prevention. As president/CEO of the Florida Network, I stand with DJJ secretary Wansley Walters and this bold plan.
- Harsher Discipline Often Dispensed to Minority, Disabled Students (NationalJournal.com)
Students of color and those with disabilities receive harsher punishment in schools, punishments that are often a precursor to their entry into the juvenile justice system, The Washington Post reports. Each year, more than 3 million children are expelled or suspended from schools, according to Civil Rights Data Collection figures released last spring by the Education Department. During analysis of 72,000 schools in the 2009-10 academic year, at least 240,000 students were referred to law enforcement.
The High Cost of Convicting Teens as Adults
The policy of trying 16- and 17-year-old nonviolent offenders as adults in criminal court has a damaging effect on the lifetime earnings potential of nearly 1,000 teenaged New Yorkers each year—costing them an estimated, cumulative total of between $50 million and $60 million in lost income over the course of their lives.
A Child Welfare Watch analysis demonstrates that the policy of trying 16- and 17-year-old nonviolent felony and misdemeanor offenders in adult criminal court has a high cost in foregone wages for each annual cohort of 16- and 17-year-olds that passes through the adult criminal courts, and also costs the government unknown millions in lost taxes.
The Watch reached its estimate using a method similar to that applied by researchers at the Vera Institute of Justice when they performed a 2011 cost-benefit analysis for a North Carolina state legislature task force. At the time, North Carolina was considering a legislative change that would have shifted cases of 16- and 17-year-olds charged with nonviolent crime to the state’s juvenile system.
Our analysis did not approach the full scope of the North Carolina study. Instead, we adapted one particular component—the cost of the current policy in lost earnings potential for young people tried in adult court who end up with a permanent criminal record. The authors of the North Carolina analysis calculated the loss in wages over a lifetime, finding that the average net present value of the earning differential between people with a record and those without totals $61,691 per person.
Pennsylvania Teens Advocate for Effective Case Planning in the Juvenile Justice System
Juveniles for Justice, a project of Juvenile Law Center, offers youth in the Philadelphia area who have been involved with the juvenile justice system an opportunity to use their personal experiences to advocate for reform. Each fall, Juveniles for Justice recruits new members, or “Youth Advocates,” who work over the next year to develop and implement an advocacy campaign targeting a specific area of reform within the system.
The 2011-2012 class of Youth Advocates chose to focus on comprehensive case planning. Drawing upon their own experiences in the juvenile justice system, the youth advocated for juvenile probation officers to work with youth to develop a comprehensive plan to help youth succeed during and after their time in the system.