RECLAIM Ohio: A Promising Alternative to Teen Incarceration
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
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
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
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.
Youth Courts Offer a Refreshing Approach to Juvenile Justice
Florida’s juvenile arrest rate is down from 76 delinquency arrests per 1,000 juveniles in 2008 to 52 arrests per 1,000 juveniles in 2012. Some experts attribute it to the implementation of Youth Court, also known as Teen Court, programs throughout the state.
“The goal of youth/teen courts is preventing penetration into the system by young people who can better be served without formal prosecution and detention,” said Jack Levine, who volunteers as program director for the National Association of Youth Courts.
Youth Courts have been in practice since the early 1970’s in America and allow for great benefits:
- Lower cost to the courts- an average of $480 per participant compared to an average of $21, 000-$84,000 per case in a formal court system [via YouthCourt.net]
- Lower recidivism- fewer than 10 percent find their way back into the system compared to 30-70 percent with a case through the formal court system [via Urban.org]
- Positive peer pressure through youth juries
- Conducted during the evening to allow parental involvement
“Diverting them into teen court or youth court where they are handled outside the formal court process is good because it keeps them from having a formal record,” said Irene Sullivan, a retired circuit judge in Pinellas County who has experience handling juvenile delinquency cases. “It’s a more therapeutic and rehabilitative way of treating juveniles.”
Paws for a Cause; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth to Begin in Scott County, Missouri (seMissourian.com)
A new program will pair mentors with at-risk children in four area counties. Building Understanding; Developing Success, or BUDS for short, is a recently developed mentoring program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The program will place volunteers 21 years old or older with at-risk children and teenagers ages 9 to 17.
- Paws for a Cause (Rankinledger.com)
Rehabilitation is two-fold at Rankin County Mississippi Juvenile Justice Center where both dogs and juveniles leave the center ready for the world. The Rankin County Sheriff Department’s Paws for a Cause is a partnership between the county’s animal shelter and juvenile justice center. It’s a way to rehabilitate both the juveniles and the dogs. Since it began about a year ago, Sergeant Ken Sullivan said pet lovers have adopted about 22 dogs from the program.
- Local Television Piece Features Innovative Baby Elmo Program for Young Fathers at an Ohio Juvenile Correctional Facility (VERA.org)
A recent piece on ABC News Channel 5 in Cleveland, Ohio, highlighted the Baby Elmo Program for young fathers at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility. The program, which was designed by researchers at Georgetown University, develops the relationships between incarcerated teen fathers and their babies through intensive experiential learning.
Minority Youth and Police Contact
A recent article in The Atlantic points out that US incarceration rates are extremely high compared to those of other nations, especially for black men. But jails and prisons represent just one of many stages in the justice system where racial-ethnic disparity is a major problem, even for youth. Understanding why black and Latino adolescents experience greater risk of contact with the juvenile justice system is a difficult task. Future of Children author Alex Piquero argues that police play an important decision-making role in juvenile justice. Thus, careful examination of a youth's initial interaction with police may shed some light on the issue of minority contact.
One example of police contact is New York City's Stop-and-Frisk program. It has been practiced by the New York Police Department for decades, and many contend that it has helped keep guns off the street and lower the city's homicide rate. Some research shows evidence to support this argument, but the practice has nonetheless been met with heated debate and complaints of racial profiling. Indeed, a recent report by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that more than 86 percent of police stops in 2012 were of blacks or Latinos.
Education Portal Offers Fresh Start for Incarcerated Youth in Oregon
Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) offers incarcerated youth the opportunity to receive high school and college education while they serve time through Education Portal, a Mountain View, California based company.
Oregon is the first state in the nation to offer such services to teens involved with the juvenile justice system.
"When at-risk youth arrive at OYA, they are often years behind in high school, have learning disabilities, and have suffered from abuse and neglect,” states OYA Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “We are deeply grateful to Education Portal for this partnership that offers kids a chance to make up for lost time and educational opportunities." Education Portal offers free high school and college courses to everyone. Services include:
- Over 4,000 lessons ranging from college business, history and science courses as well as high school AP biology, math and physics
- 53 trained and experienced instructors
- 33 College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams
- Transferrable credits to almost 3,000 colleges and universities
- Career help videos on resumes, interviewing and networking
Sarah Inman, Director of PR and Outreach explains that for incarcerated teens, “The three main barriers are a lack of basic college readiness skills, inability to afford college, and they don’t have access to college courses while incarcerated.”
Social Media Could be Teen Suicide Prevention Tool; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- A Look Inside Juvenile Justice Reforms (FremontTribune.com)
Report from Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman: "A few weeks ago, I signed into law one of the most important bills of the 2013 legislative session -- Legislative Bill 561 which is aimed at improving the juvenile justice system in our state. It shifts the supervision of all juvenile offenders in the community to the state’s probation system which reduces reliance on detention and focuses on rehabilitation for youth while keeping families involved."
- When Is a Juvenile No Longer a Juvenile? (BostonMagazine.com)
When it comes to incarceration, Massachusetts has recognized 17 as the age of adulthood since 1846. Of course, anyone who has a 17-year-old might question that assumption, as have citizens in 38 states across the U.S. Even some states we think of as far more conservative than Massachusetts—Arizona, Alabama, and Mississippi, for example—send lawbreakers younger than 18 to juvenile instead of adult court.
- Program Might Reduce Minorities in Juvenile Detention (Valparaiso Community News)
The city of Valpairiso, Indiana's Advisory Human Relations Council is exploring how to help reduce racial bias within the juvenile justice system. Tony McDonald, a Porter County juvenile probation officer and coordinator of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, spoke to City Council members at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
- Why Maine is a Leader in Juvenile Justice (BDN Maine)
The criminal justice system is often thought of as existing on a pendulum. Opinions about how the system should operate swing from one end of the spectrum to the other over time. In its early history, rehabilitation ruled the day in corrections. The prison was initially called a “penitentiary,” representing the idea that offenders would give penance, pray and leave a changed person. However, the pendulum swung the other way in the 1970s, when public sentiment moved toward the idea that offenders cannot be rehabilitated and punitive measures are best for society.
Washington One of Nation's 'Comeback States' on Juvenile Justice; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Accouncement: Website Launch
New website launches for Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), providing help for adolescents and families.
- Washington One of Nation's 'Comeback States' on Juvenile Justice (King5.com)
Washington’s juvenile detention population dropped 40% between 2001 and 2010, according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Juvenile Justice Network. The analysis puts Washington among nine “comeback states” on the issue of juvenile justice.
- Ted Cox has Faith in the Youth he Serves (Shreveporttimes.com)
Retired Army Reserve Col. Ted Cox arm wrestles an inmate at the Caddo Parish Juvenile Justice Complex, where he is the administrator. He regularly counsels the youth there.
- Zero Tolerance and Juvenile Justice: A View from the Bench (Alaska Justice Forum)
"The factors that lead youth into juvenile crime are many and varied. Drugs, alcohol, and interpersonal violence are often cited as major contributors. However, in my estimation, one of the principal factors that may often precipitate a plunge into the juvenile justice system is the failure to maintain and succeed in school."