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Teens Turn Corner with Jury of Peers and More: News Roundup
by LORI HOWELL

Juvenile Justice Reform

Teens turn corner with jury of their peers (News Star) The teen court program in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, in operation since 1986, allows juveniles who have been found guilty of nonviolent misdemeanors to go in front of a group of their peers for a second chance.

Revised court rules protect juveniles (Post-Gazette) Revamped juvenile court procedures in Pennsylvania will prevent schools from taking additional disciplinary measures when a child gets in legal trouble outside of school.

Criminal justice podcast with David Onek (Berkeley Law) Probation Officer Scott MacDonald discusses reducing racial disparities in the juvenile justice system, partnering with the community, using data to drive decision-making, sustaining reforms through leadership transitions, and more.

Five questions for Wansley Walters, head of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice (FlaglerLive.com) In Miami-Dade, Walters spear-headed the use of civil citations and other diversion programs with generally applauded results. From 1998 to 2008, juvenile arrests dropped by 51 percent there, juvenile detention by 66 percent and re-arrests by 80 percent. It’s estimated that Miami-Dade saved more than $20 million as a result.

Robeson County teen court seeks to prevent youth violence (FayObserver.com) In 2010, a group of researchers, led by Paul Smokowski, a professor of social work at UNC-Chapel Hill, was awarded a $6.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create the nation's first rurally focused youth violence prevention center in Lumberton. While it is still too early in the research process to see many results, Smokowski said, teen court seems to be making an impact already.

Supreme Court rejects juvenile’s ex parte communication argument (Wisconsin State Bar) It was not improper ex parte communication for an assistant district attorney to attend a meeting assembled to decide whether a 15-year-old should be prosecuted in adult court for armed robbery, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently concluded.

New program aims to keep kids out of court (Pontiac Daily Leader) Using a $2 million grant from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Livingston County Children’s Network collaborates among the various entities to help children before they get to juvenile court. It took less than three months for the program to prove that it is becoming a success.

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

The impact of the 2009 federal tobacco excise tax increase on youth tobacco use (RWJF.org) This study examined the impact of the 2009 federal tobacco excise tax increase on the use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products among youth using the Monitoring the Future survey, a nationally representative survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students. The results of this analysis showed that this tax increase had a substantial short-term impact.

New Study: Parent-child trust more important than family dinners (Wall Street Journal) When socioeconomics, family structure and how well teenagers reported getting along with their parents were not taken into account, meals did indeed appear to have a very large effect: Each meal eaten with a parent, in a week, reduced the odds* of substance abuse by 15%, for example. But once socioeconomics and measures of parent-child trust were introduced, the effect of meals dropped by more than half.

Adapting 12-step programs for teenagers (Drugfree.org) Twelve-step programs can be extremely helpful for teens who are struggling with addiction or who are on the road to becoming addicted, but they are more useful if they are adapted to the particular needs of adolescents, according to an expert on teenage addiction.

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      juvenile-justice-system_Lori-HowellLori Howell is a Senior Associate at Prichard Communications. She is a seasoned public affairs practitioner with a background in public policy, fundraising, and education. Lori helps clients with online editorial services, media relations, and publications. Before joining Prichard Communications, she served as chief of staff for Greg Macpherson, a former Oregon state legislator, an account executive for the Northwest Evaluation Association, a nonprofit educational testing consortium, and once taught English in Choshi, Japan.