Celebrate National Drug Facts Week January 28-February 3
Please join Reclaiming Futures in celebrating National Drug Facts Week, January 28-February 3.
National Drug Facts Week is a health observance week for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. Through TV, community-based events, contests and online activities, The National Insitute on Drug Abuse is working to encourage teens to get factual answers from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse. Here are some ways you can participate:
Wake up and Smell the Recovery
I'm Devin Fox, and I am a person in long-term recovery. I'm a young person, a gay man, an activist, an advocate, a son, a brother, an employee, an executive director, a social worker, and–most importantly–a human being. To me, being in recovery means being free from drugs and alcohol. In November 2012, I celebrated 4 years of continuous recovery, with all of its ups, downs, and even boring days.
I strive each day to live to my greatest potential and to reach for a life focused on being the best that I can be. My life was not always so solution-focused however. Although my story is not entirely unique, it’s unusual enough to make me feel special.
Those who have known me for a while know I have been an activist and an advocate since grade school. I have an innate ability to gauge a roomful of people's concerns and then clearly articulate those concerns to the most likely person, persons, or system that can bring about some type of effective change. This ability has enabled me to help support young people in recovery as together we seek to make our voice heard in a Nation caught in the grips of a mentality that revolves around the problem of addiction. Instead of this fixation on addiction as the problem, it is time to focus on the solution of a person’s own identified recovery and how we as a whole can support that effort.
Like many others, I suppose, I often feel as if I am focused on how to live only one "life" at a time. The mixing of roles and worlds into one individual can be tricky and most certainly frustrating. As I continue to progress in my recovery, I am discovering and learning to accept my own complexity – the multiple sides of my personality that make me who I am.
Empowering Families to Help Teens Overcome Drugs, Alcohol, and Crime
After struggling for years to engage the community, a parent-led effort called Family Voices, part of the St. Clair County, Illinois, Youth Coalition, offers dinner, childcare, gas stipends and incentive cards to parents working to unite support systems.
Through the Family Leadership & Support Initiative Program, and exceptional leadership from Chris Hendrix, Kathy Coffee and Mary Pat DeJarnette, more than 30 actively involved parents attend monthly meetings to develop leadership skills and provide training for issues like children’s mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities and education.
The mission is twofold:
1) Empower families to advocate for themselves, and
2) Engage parents as partners in planning, implementing and evaluating community programs and services
St. Clair County Reclaiming Futures Treatment Fellow, Daron Copp, organizes and provides trainings about adolescent substance abuse treatment. He teaches about normal adolescent brain development and how substance use disrupts areas of the brain responsible for memory, concentration, planning and judgment.
Daron also reviews signs of adolescent substance abuse and gives parents an overview of the treatment system, so they understand assessment, treatment planning and interventions for adolescent substance abuse treatment.
Juvenile-Justice Corrections Program Trains Dogs, Youths; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- DJJ Study: Fewer kids Getting Booked at School (The Orlando Sentinel)
A new Florida study says the number of students arrested at schools was cut in half over the last eight years, which ”correlates” with a decline in juvenile delinquency. The Department of Juvenile Justice report says school arrests fell from from more than 24,189 in the 2004-05 school year to 12,520 last year, a drop of 48 percent. School delinquency arrests fell 36 percent during the same period.
- Juvenile Defendants can Meet Victims, Settle Charges Outside Court (Courier-Journal.com)
The suspect was caught on camera and admitted he caused about $1,800 worth of damage vandalizing a Louisville business. Instead of handling the 16-year-old defendant’s case in juvenile court, local officials asked the business owner, Keith Bush, if he would take part in a “restorative justice” pilot program designed to repair the harm caused by a crime and find ways to keep offenders from re-offending — instead of seeking only retribution.
- Juvenile-Justice Corrections Program Trains Dogs, Youths (Statesman.com)
“This is a program where the girls can learn life skills through training these dogs,” said Mike Griffiths, executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. “It’s a small program that pays big dividends — for the girls and the dogs.” The dividends include allowing the dogs to be trained to erase their bad habits, or to at least teach them how to manage their problems and keep their actions in check, so they might be adopted into new homes, he said.
- Putting a Developmental Approach Into Practice (JJIE.org)
Having developmental competence means understanding that children and adolescents’ perceptions and behaviors are influenced by biological and psychological factors related to their developmental stage. For adults working with young people, taking a developmental approach could lead to better outcomes for kids.
- Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? (The New York Times)
At 2:15 in the afternoon on March 28, 2010, Conor McBride, a tall, sandy-haired 19-year-old wearing jeans, a T-shirt and New Balance sneakers, walked into the Tallahassee Police Department and approached the desk in the main lobby. Gina Maddox, the officer on duty, noticed that he looked upset and asked him how she could help. “You need to arrest me,” McBride answered. “I just shot my fiancée in the head.” When Maddox, taken aback, didn’t respond right away, McBride added, “This is not a joke.”
- Looking Back and Casting Forward: An Emerging Shift for Juvenile Justice in America (Chicago-Bureau.org)
The close of 2012 focused so narrowly on terrible events and startling numbers – the Newtown massacre, for example, or Chicago’s sharp rise in homicides – some major criminal justice developments were nearly squeezed out of the national conversation.
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!
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.
SAMHSA Reports Encouraging Progress on Underage Drinking
SAMHSA’s recent Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking 2012 shows positive impact on the reduction of underage drinking. Via the report,
From 2004 to 2010, young people ages 12 to 20 showed statistically significant declines in both past-month alcohol use and binge alcohol use. These encouraging results were most significant in the 12- to 17-year-old age group, where past-month alcohol use declined by 22.7 percent and past-month binge drinking declined by 29.7 percent.
The news isn’t all good though--in 2010, 37 percent of 20-year-olds reported binge drinking (drinking at levels substantially increasing the risk of injury or death) in the past 30 days; about 14 percent of 20-year-olds had, in those 30 days, binged five or more times.
Additional takeaways from the report include:
- Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among american youth
- Binge drinking is the most common underage consumption pattern.
- Female youth drinking rates are converging with male youth rates
- Adolescents’ beverage preferences are shifting from beer to distilled spirits
- Young people perceive alcohol to be readily available
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.
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.