PODCAST: Early Trauma, Teen Aggression and the Juvenile Justice System
In a recent podcast, Natalie Katz of Sage Publications interviewed Julian D. Ford, one of the authors of “Complex Trauma and Aggression in Secure Juvenile Justice Settings.” This study, written by John Chapman, Daniel F. Connor and Keith R. Cruise in addition to Ford, examines the relationship between trauma experienced by young people and aggressive behavior, especially in youths in the juvenile justice system.
Below you’ll find Natalie Katz’s main questions in bold, followed by my summary of Ford’s answers. You can also listen to the full podcast here (it’s about 15 minutes long).
What kinds of trauma are most often experienced by youths?
Most youths experience one traumatic event sometime in their childhoods. These events are very seriously threatening and fall into a few different categories:
- Violation of bodily integrity
- Violent trauma creating serious physical harm
- Accidental trauma (driving collisions, falls, etc)
San Francisco's Community-Focused "Wraparound" Approach Reduces Recidivism
Last month, members of CJCJ’s Wraparound team had the honor of presenting to juvenile justice leaders from select California counties at the Sierra Health Foundation’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative (PYJI) Speaker Series. Juvenile Justice Clinical Supervisor, Margaret Hitchcock and Wrap Rehabilitation Counselor, Randell Lewis, were joined by CJCJ’s Executive Director, Daniel Macallair, San Francisco Deputy Director of Juvenile Probation, Allison Magee, and Statewide expert on EPSDT and Wraparound funds, Joseph Harrington. As one of California’s model counties, the San Francisco collaborative was invited by Sierra Health Foundation to discuss its community-based wraparound approach toward serving high-needs youth.
This wraparound model would not be effective without the collaboration between the San Francisco Probation Department, Public Defender’s Office, other county departments and community-based nonprofits. As a result of this collaboration, San Francisco has seen a dramatic reduction in recidivism since implementation of the Wraparound program in 2009.
New CASA Columbia Study Reports Inadequate Treatment for Addiction
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released a new five-year national study on addiction treatment, finding that despite overwhelming evidence that addiction is a disease, treatment options don’t follow the same methodologies that we currently use to treat other diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart conditions. Treatments for each of these diseases of course differ, but doctors still use the same process of evidence-based diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment.
Although addiction to nicotine, alcohol and other substances affects over 40 million Americans--more than cancer, diabetes and heart conditions--most medical professionals aren’t qualified to treat addiction. The study found youth who begin smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before the age of 21 are at higher risk for addiction. In 96.5 percent of cases, addiction originated with substance use before the age of 21 when the brain is still developing. Via the press release:
“The report finds that while doctors routinely screen for a broad range of health problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they rarely screen for risky substance use or signs of addiction and instead treat a long list of health problems that result, including accidents, unintended pregnancies, heart disease, cancers and many other costly conditions without examining the root cause.”
A Regional Approach to Helping Native Youth Beat Substance Abuse Addiction
The Indian Health Service funds 11 regional centers across the country that treat Native youth with substance abuse problems. We spoke to Skye Bass, an Indian Health Service (IHS) public health specialist, about the culturally specific approach used by the Youth Regional Treatment Centers.
NCFY: What do the IHS-funded Youth Regional Treatment Centers offer Native youth that can’t be found in other substance abuse treatment centers?
Bass: The Indian Health Service-funded treatment centers are unique due to the fact that emphasis on American Indian and Alaska Native culture is a central component of treatment.
This emphasis is reflected in most, if not all, aspects of programming, including the design and location of the centers; Indian preference in staff hiring; holistic program components, such as family involvement, spiritual ceremonies, and a focus on healing and coping with grief; and finally, the affirmation of cultural identity, norms of sobriety, and personal responsibility to one’s Tribe and community.
Join the 6/26 Twitter Chat on Bullying
On Tuesday, June 26th, the Advancement Project, Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the Alliance for Educational Justice are hosting a Twitter chat on bullying. In particular, they will explore strategies that schools can take to end bullying. They will also discuss zero-tolerance and school-to-prison pipeline policies.
The three organizations are also releasing a policy report on bullying and zero-tolerance disciplinary measures.
To join the conversation, use the #bullychat hashtag on Twitter and RSVP on Facebook for the opportunity to submit questions ahead of time.
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.
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?
Takeaways from Oklahoma: Cultural Sensitivity and Evidence-Based Practices Matter
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Reclaiming Futures Cherokee Nation site in Oklahoma. I am especially impressed by how committed the team members are to not only serving the youth of the Cherokee Nation, but also to helping them connect with their cultural heritage.
I had a couple of key takeaways:
- Cultural sensitivity is key: As Treatment Fellow Lori Medina mentions in her video, the Cherokee Nation site has unique cultural challenges in working with local teens. Being able to fully understand and relate to Native American culture has allowed the site to truly connect with troubled kids and make sure they are on the path to rehabilitation and success. There is a particular focus on learning how to make Native American crafts and participating in cultural events, which not only teaches the kids a marketable trade, but also helps them to connect to their heritage and community.
- Evidence-based practices are crucial: Project Director Jennifer Kirby is a big supporter of using evidence-based practices to improve treatment for troubled teens. As Jennifer explains in her video, the Reclaiming Futures model provides them with the tools to better assess troubled youth at intake. This allows them to make better-informed recommendations for treatment and services, which leads to stronger outcomes.
Felony: A response to cigarettes & cell phones in Georgia youth detention
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Georgia bill would make smuggling cell phones, cigarettes into youth detention centers a felony
Smuggling cellphones or cigarettes into a Georgia youth prison would become a felony under a bill approved without opposition Thursday by the Georgia Senate. Under the bill, which still must pass the House of Representatives, violators could be sentenced to up to four years in prison upon conviction.
- Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice conducts comprehensive needs assessment
SurfKy News Group
The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice recently completed an 18-month study of its training academy, thought to be the country’s first comprehensive job task analysis and needs assessment of a juvenile justice training program.
- Los Angeles City Council unanimously approves changes to daytime curfew law
L.A. City Council unanimously voted this morning in favor of changes to the city's daytime curfew law to improve how the city deals with its truant students.
- Opinion: Make youth justice a safer situation
Recent Texas Tribune-New York Times revelations of ongoing safety concerns in Texas' juvenile justice system only confirm what the leading national research shows: Secure juvenile facilities are a taxpayer burden, work against rehabilitation and can make youths' problems worse.
- California Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to end juvenile justice division faces fight San Francisco Chronicle:
A group of criminal justice leaders are preparing to fight a plan by Gov. Jerry Brown to entirely phase out the state's Division of Juvenile Justice over the next three years and return the most violent and troubled youths to county facilities, despite support for the proposal by some experts.
- Recent increases in drug arrests were for possession, not sales
Jeffrey A. Butts
Between 1991 and 2006, arrests for drug sales and manufacturing actually dropped 6 percent while arrests for possession climbed 139 percent. The same pattern was observed for arrests involving offenders of different ages, but the growth in drug possession arrests was sharpest among juveniles.
Adolecscent Substance Abuse Treatment
- Teens driving under the influence of marijuana
Join Together at Drugfree.org
According to a recent study, nearly one in five (19 percent) of teens say they have gotten behind the wheel after smoking marijuana.
New National Poll: Strong Support for Youth Rehabilitation Over Incarceration and More -- News Roundup
- New National Poll: Strong Support for Youth Rehabilitation Over Incarceration
Poll highlights critical and timely information on youth in the justice system, showing overwhelming public support for treatment and rehabilitation of youth over incarceration and automatic prosecution in adult criminal court. This survey, a sample of 1,000 American adults, was commissioned by the Campaign for Youth Justice.
- Sustainability: Impact Beyond Grant Programs
These slides and guides from Pennsylvania State University are very helpful for juvenile justice programs and prevention work. (Hat tip to Paul Savery)
- Feds Tell California Marijuana Dispensaries to Shut Down
U.S. attorneys say they will prosecute landlords who rent space to operators of medical marijuana dispensaries. The attorneys said they suspect these dispensaries of using the state’s medical marijuana law to profit from large-scale drug sales.