JMATE 2012: Ask a Judge: Demystifying Juvenile Court and How Judges and Treatment Providers Can Partner Together Successfully
Earlier this afternoon, I sat in on a JMATE panel with three juvenile court judges who discussed how Reclaiming Futures works in their courts and why other courts should consider implementing the model.
Judge Anthony Capizzi of Dayton, Ohio, began the presentation with the problem: too many teens today are struggling with drugs, alcohol and crime. Eighty percent of the youth Judge Capizzi sees have alcohol or other drug problems and many are self medicating. And this is not unique to Ohio.
As a juvenile court judge, Judge Capizzi finds that treatment helps reduce recidivism, saves money and builds safer communities. BUT most juvenile courts are not set up to detect and treat substance abuse or provide mental health services. And this is where the six step Reclaiming Futures model comes in. Under the Reclaiming Futures model, court teams are set up with a judge, probation officer, treatment provider and community members. The teams work together to make sure that kids are screened for alcohol and other drugs at intake and sent to treatment when needed.
Funding Opportunity: Become a Reclaiming Futures Site!
We are excited to announce that the DOJ, OJP and OJJDP are seeking applications for $1.325 million in funding (over 4 years) to spread and implement the Reclaiming Futures model! More specifically, grants will be given to build the capacity of states, courts, local governments and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish Reclaiming Futures' juvenile drug courts.
From the request for proposals:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is pleased to announce that it is seeking applications for funding under the FY 2012 Juvenile Drug Courts/Reclaiming Futures program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by building the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish juvenile drug courts for substance abusing juvenile offenders.
For more information and to apply, please click here. The deadline to apply is May 16, 2012, at 11:59 ET. Best of luck!
Join the Movement to Educate Your Community about Youth in the Adult Criminal Justice System
How did you find out that youth are tried in the adult criminal justice system in the United States? Have you ever wondered if the average person knows this, or, more importantly, how they can learn about it?
Consider planning an event for National Youth Justice Awareness Month. Events across the country over the last four years have helped to educate the public, legislators and the media about the dangers to our kids and public safety of this practice.
Have you ever wanted to know if you could plan a 5k race or a movie screening? Have you ever looked at an event and said, "they must have over 100 volunteers to help with that event." It is easier than you think. National Youth Justice Awareness Month is around the corner, and you could be a part of this epic event. Last year, more than 20 organizations and individuals organized events with approximately 1,500 participants in 15 states.
New Financing Tool for Social Programs Opens Doors for Juvenile Justice
Identifying the best programs for solving serious social problems is challenging for governments in the best of times, and all the more so in a constrained fiscal environment where every dollar must count. This is particularly true in areas like juvenile justice where the most effective interventions may involve combining approaches that governments currently support through separate funding streams—and where politicians’ personal views may steer disproportionate amounts of funds to programs that sound good on paper but don’t deliver results.
But an innovative new financing tool called Social Impact Bonds may help solve some of these challenges. Social Impact Bonds, or SIBs, take traditional government funding structures and turn them on their head. Instead of paying costs upfront for a prescribed set of services, SIBs allow governments to define outcomes they want to achieve—and not pay a dime if those goals are not met.
At their core, Social Impact Bonds are a straightforward concept. A SIB is an arrangement between one or more government agencies and an external organization where the government specifies an outcome or set of outcomes they want to achieve and promises to pay that external organization a pre-agreed sum if it is able to accomplish the outcome(s). For a SIB agreement to work, the contracting agencies must place few, if any, controls on how the external organization seeks to achieve the outcome. This allows the external organization to use a combination of approaches to achieve the outcome.
Harvard Law School Colloquium Explores How Recent US Supreme Court Decisions Have Affected Youths’ Rights in the Justice System
On March 26, 2012, Harvard Law School’s Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, with Juvenile Law Center and the Milbank Foundation, sponsored a colloquium on constitutional law in the wake of three recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving the rights of youth involved in the justice system. All three cases suggest that the country has turned a constitutional corner—that youth matters in the interpretation of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
Roper v. Simmons (2005) held that the death penalty was unconstitutional for youth who were under age 18 at the time of their crimes. Graham v. Florida (2010) held that a sentence of life without parole was also unconstitutional for youth under 18 who were convicted of non-homicide crimes. J.D.B. v. North Carolina (2011) held that a “reasonable child” standard should be used to determine whether a youth would have believed he was “in custody,” a requirement that triggers Miranda warnings.
Panelists—who wrote or co-wrote articles that will appear later this year in Volume 47 of the CR-CL Law Review—predicted what lay around the bend.
Study Finds Juvenile Offenders Cope Better with Families Closer to Detention Facilities
A recent study about Texas juveniles in a state detention center showed the youths responded better when they were closer to their families.
The survey, conducted by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a nonpartisan nonprofit group, studied 115 juveniles at the Giddings State School in Austin, which is the facility for Bell County juveniles convicted of violent crimes.
"The closer they are to home, the more likely you'll get some familial participation and that is a positive," said Judge Ed Johnson.
Johnson has been the designated juvenile court judge for the past 26 years in Bell County. His court, county court one, also oversees juveniles in Lampasas County.
About one-fourth of the funding for local juvenile justice comes from state grants, said Johnson, noting that the juvenile probation program gets its entire budget from the state.
In 2011, more than 1,000 cases were referred to the local juvenile probation program. Of that number, more than 730 were for delinquent conduct and crimes ranging from class-B misdemeanors to felonies. The others were for conduct indicating a need for supervision, such as runaways or truancy.
Liveblogging Shay Bilchik at PSU: Improving Systemic Coordination and Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
Shay Bilchik (founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute) is at Portland State University this afternoon to discuss the juvenile justice system. I'll be liveblogging his talk here, so tune in!
"If We Knew Then, What We Know Now: Implications for Juvenile Justice Policy in America"
4:45pm Dr. David Springer (upcoming Dean of PSU's School of Social Work): I've had the pleasure of serving with Shay on a juvenile justice panel in Austin about a year ago, and we're all in for a real treat.
4:50pm Bilchik: We're launching work with Multnomah and Marion counties' juvenile justice systems...
Oregon has demonstrated a vision that shows the possibility of serving children and families in a great way. The multi-system juvenile justice system here is the best in the country.
4:55pm Bilchik: We're primed to build a better and smarter juvenile justice system. It's no longer just the juvenile justice field, youth development field, education fields.. we're now working across systems. As Dr. Laura Nissen says, "these are boundary founders" who are working across multiple fields. To put it simply, we want to provide love, opportunity and hope to the children who come in contact with the juvenile justice system.
5:05pm Bilchik: We need to make sure that none of our children fall through the cracks and too often we don't do that. Too often these kids are without power (living in impoverished communities) and kids of color.
So what would we have done differently if we knew then what we know now?
Suspensions, Expulsions Mask the True Issue
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a study documenting disproportionality in rates of suspensions and expulsions in public schools across the United States.
The report, which covered 72,000 schools across the United States, states that African-Americans only make up 18 percent of youth at the studied schools, but 35 percent of students suspended once and 39 percent of those expelled.
These findings mirror one aspect of a Texas study released last year, which found that African-American students in Texas were 31 percent more likely to be disciplined in school, at least once, than otherwise identical Caucasian or Hispanic students.
Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board looked at these findings and deduced that this highlights the need for increased school choice. Just as importantly, it highlights another education reform priority – the overcriminalization of students of all races.
As zero tolerance policies have increased in both scope and consequences (now covering fish oil dietary supplements, asthma inhalers, oregano, and butter knives), more and more minor misbehavior spurs referrals to the justice system or triggers suspensions, when it previously would have been handled through parental involvement or traditional disciplinary methods, such as a visit to the principal’s office, after-school detention, or requiring the student to perform school or community service.
State must be smart on youth crime and more; news roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
OPINION: State must be smart on youth crime
Juvenile crime has been dropping for many years in a row. That's good news because it means fewer victims and safer neighborhoods. One interesting factor in the falling crime rate has been that we lock up fewer juveniles. That's right — the crime rate is dropping at the same time we are putting fewer youngsters behind bars. And that makes sense once you think about it.
PODCAST: Stanford Law professor on California’s criminal justice realignment Stanford Law Professor Joan Petersilia discusses the realignment of California’s criminal justice system, realignment’s impact on county jails, the need for comprehensive realignment research and analysis, and the importance of researcher-practitioner partnerships.
Preckwinkle: “Blow up” juvenile jail and put kids in smaller regional centers
Cook County Reporter
When Cook County Bord President Toni Preckwinkle was asked if she agreed with the report’s recommendation that the juvenile detention center be closed, Preckwinkle said: “Of course. I said that from the beginning. I think I said we should blow it up.”
Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment
National Inhalant Prevention Coalition: Stop encouraging kids to huff helium
Huffing helium is not safe, and adults must stop encouraging children to do it, according to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition
NIPC, a group that promotes awareness and recognition of inhalant use.
Disparity in Treatment of Girls, Boys by Maryland Department of Juvenile Services
About 80 percent of girls accused of misdemeanors in Maryland were committed to residential treatment centers compared to 50 percent of boys, according to statistics from Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services (DJS).
The statistics, part of the Female Offenders Report, show more than two-thirds of girls sent to residential treatment centers were committed for offenses such as fighting and shoplifting or for drug offenses.
“That disparity between boys and girls is troubling and quite large,” Juvenile Services Secretary Sam Abed told Capital News Service. “It’s something I’m concerned about. It’s a very complicated question, but it’s something that merits explanation.”
The Maryland Legislature in 2011 passed a law requiring DJS to provide statistics breaking down services for boys and girls. Lawmakers grew concerned because DJS has the authority to make decisions about how youth committed to the juvenile justice system are treated.