Blog: Adolescent Mental Health

'Supper Club' Brings Stable Connection; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • For Juvenile Detainees, 'Supper Club' Brings Stable Connection (The Baltimore Sun)
    The one-year-old Supper Club program is designed around a time-tested principle — that sharing regular meals with caring grown-ups provides young people with a sense of stability and connection. It's an experience that teens inside these walls may be only passingly familiar with.
  • [OPINION] Juvenile Justice System Broken, Needs Oversight (
    "No child should ever be subject to mistreatment, and this report will hopefully incentivize our policymakers to ensure that incarceration is truly the last resort, used only for the safety of the child and the public."
  • Forum Focuses on Juvenile Justice (
    For the second straight month, the Time and Space Limited theater in Hudson hosted a meeting on juvenile justice in conjunction with the newly formed Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. At Wednesday’s event, TSL co-Director Linda Mussman welcomed moderator and sociologist Richard Smith, and a panel of local legal experts to discuss issues facing Hudson youth in the juvenile justice system.
  • OP-ED: Families: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice (
    "In 2006, the mother of a teenage daughter involved in the juvenile justice system in Hawaii contacted a small, non-profit in Lake Charles, La., more than 4,000 miles away. The mother was seeking support from someone who could understand her plight in navigating the juvenile justice system and possibly help her find the treatment and services her daughter desperately needed."

The Affordable Care Act: Changing Mental Health Treatment in America

One aspect of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act that’s often overlooked in the media is its attention to mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Overall the landmark legislation hopes to bring near universal health insurance to the United States when the last round of its major provisions goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. These provisions include the controversial individual and employer insurance mandates.
But the law goes further though than just getting people insured, it aims to improve the American health care system, especially in the areas of mental health and substance abuse.
Mental health and mental health policy have been favorite topics in the news these last few years with the tragedies in Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown. Pundits from all sides have found a new pastime in discussing and arguing over how the system should be changed.
Opinions aside mental health and substance abuse are serious issues in America. About one in every four adults can be expected to experience a mental illness during the course of a given year, according to stats from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). That’s nearly 55.7 million people, no small number for a nation of 315 million.
That number of adults rises to one in 17 when talking about more serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder. For younger Americans the rate continues to climb with one in 10 children living with a serious mental or emotional disorder, according to NAMI numbers.

Substance abuse is estimated to cost the United States over $600 billion annually. A 2012 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that among teenagers alcohol and cigarette use has declined in recent years but the use of illicit drugs is on the rise.
So it’s no wonder that the Care Act looks to extend coverage and improve treatment of mental health and substance abuse. Let’s take a look at some of the ways it aims to do that.

A Conversation Starter for Mental Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently launched a new online resource full of information on mental health. The site includes guides to warning signs of mental illness, how individuals can find help and how communities can host conversations about mental health. seeks to launch a national conversation on illnesses, recovery and hope.
SAMHSA supports the website with a Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health with the first section released on June 3, 2013. The Toolkit is a component to rally support and conversations in the community about mental health with features like an “Information Brief,” a “Discussion Guide” and an “Organizing Guide.”
The website and SAMHSA’a Toolkit confront some of the greatest challenges people face including: Anxiety disorders, Eating disorders, Mental Health and substance abuse, Mood disorders and Suicidal behavior. There is space for story sharing and support groups, along with an abundance of information about the prevention and treatment of mental health to help communities work together.

Past Traumatic Experiences Common Among Detained Juveniles; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Efforts Sought to Rehabilitate Troubled Youth (
    While there have been drastic changes in the juvenile justice system in the wake of the “Kids for Cash” scandal, some advocates believe Pennsylvania has so far failed to widely embrace efforts to fully focus on rehabilitating troubled young people. One of the more innovative efforts in Pennsylvania involves the use of youth courts, in which young people themselves mete out justice for their peers.
  • Bad Food, a Bible, and a Blanket: 24 Hours in Juvenile Solitary Confinement (
    As a photographer, how far would you go to get in the heads of your subjects? For Richard Ross, it meant 24 hours in solitary confinement at a juvenile detention center. Over six years, Ross has photographed hundreds of detention centers and interviewed more than a 1,000 children for a project called Juvenile-in-Justice that aims to educate people about the juvenile justice system. He’s as familiar as any outsider with the subject, but he decided it wasn’t enough.
  • Past Traumatic Experiences Common Among Detained Juveniles (
    Most young people placed in detention have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, according to a new report from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). “PTSD, Trauma and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth,” released Tuesday, included findings culled from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, which assessed more than 1,800 young detainees in Chicago between 1995 and 1998.
  • Nebraska Gov. Heineman Signs Juvenile Justice Reform Bill, Focusing on Youth Rehabilitation (
    Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a juvenile justice reform bill into law. The measure by Sen. Brad Ashford, of Omaha, is designed to shift the state's focus toward rehabilitation for youths who break the law. Heineman approved the legislation on Wednesday during a news conference.
  • Gov. Heineman Signs Juvenile Justice Reform into Law (
    The state embarked on a new approach in dealing with troubled juveniles Wednesday. Gov. Dave Heineman signed into law a major reform bill that shifts the focus from incarceration to treatment for youthful offenders and puts state probation officers in charge of that rehabilitation work instead of state social workers.

Justice Reform Paying Off Sooner than Expected; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • [AUDIO] Juvenile Justice System Overhaul Signed into Law (
    Nebraska will shift how it treats juvenile offenders under a bill signed into law by the governor. Gov. Dave Heineman has signed LB 561e, juvenile justice reform approved by the legislature. Heineman, during a news conference in his Capitol office, called the bill complex. Still, he has hopes for a simple outcome.
  • Dramatic Reform of Juvenile Justice Takes Shape in Legislature (
    Juvenile criminals would be rehabilitated at home, with help from probation officers, under a bill advancing in the state Legislature.
    Lawmakers advanced LB 651, aiming to overhaul Nebraska’s juvenile justice system. The bill would transfer responsibility for the state’s roughly 3,000 juvenile offenders from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Office of Probation Administration.
  • Nebraska Governor Vetoes $200K in Golf Tournament Funding (
    Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman used a line-item veto Tuesday to strike $200,000 from a budget bill that was approved to promote the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament in Omaha. The Republican governor said the budget item was unjustified, given the state's other spending priorities on education and reforms to the state's juvenile justice services.
  • Justice Reform Paying Off Sooner than Expected (
    When Gov. Nathan Deal prompted the Georgia General Assembly to undertake sentencing reform for the adult criminal justice system (to be followed the next year by juvenile justice reform), he acknowledged that he didn't expect to see any substantial changes for a few years. In terms of the state prison population, that's certainly the case so far. In fact, the state inmate count actually rose slightly from the end of 2010 through last year.
  • Massachusetts House Votes to Move 17-Year-Olds into Juvenile Justice System (
    The House unanimously passed legislation Wednesday that would move 17-year-old offenders into the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, ending the practice of routinely incarcerating 17-year-olds in adult corrections facilities.

Juvenile Justice Shows Progress; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Justice Shows Progress (Illinois Times)
    When the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice was created in 2006, the state’s youth prisons held 1,500 juvenile offenders. Today, there are fewer than 900 kids behind bars in Illinois juvenile justice system. It’s one sign of progress for the relatively new department, which was previously part of the adult-oriented Illinois Department of Corrections.
  • Forsyth County Clerk of Court Wants to Turn Old School into a Juvenile Court (
    Forsyth County, N.C., Clerk of Court Susan Frye wants to see the now closed Hill Middle School in Winston-Salem turned into a one-stop shop for the more than 1,300 offenders who come through juvenile court each year. Frye says the courthouse is out of space and can not house the services the young offenders are often sentenced too. Hill closed last year after consolidating with Philo Middle School.
  • Pennsylvania Finds 20 Percent of Juveniles Re-offend Within Two Years (
    A new report issued by the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission finds that among juveniles whose cases were closed in 2007, one-in-five recidivated within two years. The Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Recidivism Report found juvenile recidivism rates to be as high as 45 percent in some counties, with the average length between case closure and recidivism to be 11.5 months.

Guest Post from the Flawless Foundation: Knowing and Doing!

Last week at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, I attended the Criminalization of Mental Illness Symposium. National experts shared fourteen presentations in an effort to make sense of hundreds of statistics and research studies on such topics as recidivism, gun violence, juvenile justice, homicide, suicide, Aurora, Tucson, Newtown and VA Tech. Do you think this sounds overwhelming? Actually, it wasn’t.

Over and over, members of this Think Tank who are advising our nation’s leaders on public policy, mental health and criminal justice reform repeated, “We know what to do, we just need to do it.

So what do we need to do? We need to take a stand for prevention, compassion and love. Doesn’t it make sense to advocate for education, preventative mental health and programming for youth instead of simply waiting until it is too late? Too often in our current system, we are sending those in need straight into the justice system, especially our children who often fall into the “school to prison pipeline.” We all know that the system is broken but the beauty is we can and are fixing it.
I am very fortunate to spend my days at the Flawless Foundation witnessing miracles over and over again. Our grantees and partners are visionary leaders who have created programs that are not just thinking about these issues but they are actively addressing them through relationship, promoting connections and healing on every level: body, mind and soul. We know what to do and we are doing it.

[VIDEO] The Ethics of Solitary Confinement

Al Jazeera English recently released an Inside Story 30-minute video examining the state of solitary confinement, including teens, in United States prisons. The discussion includes the following:  

Amongst those in solitary confinement today are juveniles as young as age 16, with one study suggesting that in 2012, 14 percent of adolescents in the New York City prison system had been held in isolation at least once. So, why does the United States put more people into solitary confinement than any other country in the democratic world?

We've reported in the past about the particularly harsh negative affects that solitary confinement has on teens, and while this video offers a broader look at solitary confinement, its themes are still relevant to our work in the juvenile justice system. Watch the full program below:

Encouraging Trends in Children's Mental Health Services

Twenty years ago, only about 10 percent of people under 18 years old who were identified to have mental health problems received any kind of treatment. Today, about 50 percent of these children and teens will receive the treatment they need. The growing number of young people getting treatment is partially thanks to a national trend toward coordinated health services. Below is an excerpt from The Boston Globe's report on Massachusetts' growing number of pediatric offices sharing space with psychologists.

Children who go to a Wellesley pediatrician can, if needed, see a psychologist in a nearby exam room. At a medical office in Peabody, boys and girls with anxiety issues can simply go upstairs to see a social worker. And at a Newton pediatric clinic, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are able to see an on-site nurse practitioner specializing in mental health.
These are among a growing number of Massachusetts pediatric practices that are sharing space with mental health professionals, a move aimed at improving access to hard-to-obtain psychological services and at sending the message that treating children’s depression and behavioral issues is as important as following their asthma and diabetes.
Roughly one in four pediatricians in private practices in Massachusetts works in a setting that now includes some type of mental health service, according to a preliminary survey of members of the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “In the last two or three years, there’s significant growth in this kind of collaborative care,” said Dr. Ellen Perrin, a developmental behavioral pediatrician with Tufts Medical Center who conducted the survey with a colleague. “There is a recognition that the nation’s mental health system is broken, especially for children, and we have to do better.”
This model is one example of a national trend toward more coordinated services, which centers on primary care doctors working closely with specialists to keep patients healthier and, ideally, to lower overall costs. Getting different clinicians in the same space is not practical in every case, but many pediatricians believe it is the best way to address children’s behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders, which are being diagnosed at far higher rates than ever before.

Senate Committee Approves Changes in Juvenile Justice System; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Advocates for Juvenile Justice Reform Rally at Hearing for Bel Air Teenager Accused of Killing Father (
    Friday’s demonstration came ahead of a motions hearing in Robert Richardson’s case, and was the latest organized by a group which seeks to have his case—and Richardson himself—moved back into the juvenile criminal justice system.
  • The Crucial Role of Prosecutors in Juvenile Justice (
    The role and responsibilities of the juvenile prosecutor are plentiful and extend well beyond the courtroom. In fact, in cases involving juveniles, much of the work can and should be done outside the courtroom. Working collaboratively with other youth-serving agencies in their communities, prosecutors often play a leadership role in these efforts.
  • Senate Committee Approves Changes in Juvenile Justice System (
    The Senate Judiciary Committee approved proposed changes to the juvenile justice system Wednesday after making some adjustments to address concerns of judges. House Bill 242, which has passed the House, is designed to send fewer juveniles to state facilities for committing felonies and to divert kids who are not dangerous — especially so-called status offenders such as truants, runaways and the unruly — into less expensive community-based programs.

Study Reveals Substance Abuse Among Teens with Mental Health Issues

A new study from the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute shows striking levels of substance use among teens seeking mental health care, with one in 10 mentally ill teens reporting frequent use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana. This pattern of substance use becomes more common as teens age, and likely heightens risk of poor physical and mental health outcomes, the study reports.
In a University of Sydney news release, lead researcher Dr. Daniel Hermens said,

“Traditionally there have been mental health services, and substance abuse services, but both have been quite separate. Our study shows that we need to integrate mental health interventions with substance use interventions in order to help at-risk young people.
“There is a lot of evidence for the co-morbidity of mental health problems and substance misuse. More people have both mental health and substance use problems than either alone—in other words, it's the rule rather than the exception."

Published in BMJ Open, the study used self-reported data from more than 2,000 people aged 12-30 years seeking mental health care. Overall, substance use rates increased with age across groups, broken into age bands of 12-17, 18-19, and 20-30 year-olds.

Florida: Wansley Walters Video on Juvenile Justice Reform

While we need to hold teens accountable for their actions, simply locking them up isn’t effective. Young people in the juvenile justice system need more treatment, better treatment, and support beyond treatment.
I encourage you to watch this brief interview with Wansley Walters, secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. In the video, Secretary Walters shares her views on the importance of early assessments and prescriptive measures in juvenile justice reform. We need to continue this investment to stay on track and reduce crime. "As the resources pull away, the problem starts to creep back in," Walters says.  


Georgia: Mental Health is a Huge Issue in Justice Strategy

Discussion about mental health and other substance abuse treatment alternatives was front and center last week when criminal justice system officials addressed House and Senate joint appropriations lawmakers at the State Capitol. “Mental health is a huge issue in all the things we do,” Judge Robin W. Shearer said on behalf of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges.
Georgia is in the early stages of significant adult and juvenile justice system reforms that focus on how to ensure incarceration for the most serious offenders, and how to provide community treatment options for offenders who do not benefit from or even require incarceration.
Last year the General Assembly passed reforms to move the adult corrections system toward those goals. This year legislators are expected to approve sweeping reforms to juvenile criminal law and the civil code. Governor Nathan Deal has made reforms a personal priority and his budget devotes millions of dollars to these goals.
The importance of mental health considerations was evident early in the hearing.

Innovation Brief: Juvenile Justice and Mental Health: A Collaborative Approach

Models for Change recently published an innovation brief, “Juvenile Justice and Mental Health: A Collaborative Approach,” [PDF download] that reports the benefits of a collaborative model for juvenile justice and mental health. Although teens with mental health problems used to be handled outside of the juvenile justice system, a shift in the 1990s placed “rehabilitation” responsibility to the juvenile justice system. From the report (emphasis mine):
High crime rates [in the 1990s] led to get-tough measures, including zero-tolerance policies in schools and criminalization of normal adolescent behaviors, that put more youths in the system. The closing of psychiatric hospitals, a trend that began in the 1970s, continued apace, while the community mental health system, initiated with such optimism in the 1960s, was being downsized. As a result, youths with mental health problems frequently ended up in the juvenile justice system, which could not refuse to serve them.
To better serve teens with mental health troubles, Models for Change recommends a framework for multi-system change, including (via the report):

Call for Applicants: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

The US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) are seeking applications for funding for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The program is designed to increase public safety and improve access to effective treatment for people with mental illnesses involved with the criminal justice system by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health treatment and substance abuse systems. Each grantee is given the opportunity to tailor their programming to respond best to the particular needs of their community.
The BJA welcomes applications from local and state governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, and tribal organizations. Applicants must demonstrate that both a government agency responsible for criminal or juvenile justice activities and a mental health provider will administer the proposed project.
Applications are due by 11:59 pm ET on March 25, 2013. Apply here!

Department of Juvenile Justice Strengthens Oversight; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Department of Juvenile Justice Strengthens Oversight (
    In the wake of allegations of abuse by staffers at a girls’ lockup in Milton, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is tightening its oversight of private residential facilities — adding interviews with youths and a partnership with the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation to its monitoring procedures.
  • Nebraska Chief Justice: Guardianship, Juvenile Probation Initiatives Show Success (
    Tighter court oversight of guardians and conservators in recent months has exposed cases of theft and misuse of funds, Nebraska's top judge said Thursday. Chief Justice Michael Heavican said changes to state law made in 2011 are providing more protection for vulnerable adults in Nebraska.
  • Georgia Governor: $5 Million for New Juvenile Diversions (
    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is asking the state legislature to spend $5 million dollars to set up community diversion programs for low-risk youth offenders, on the model of other states. The appropriation would “create an incentive funding program” to encourage communities to treat appropriate youth at home, Deal told lawmakers at his annual State of the State address on Jan. 17.
  • Florida Tightening Juvenile Justice Monitoring (
    Florida is tightening monitoring and improving the quality of juvenile justice residential and detention facilities. Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters announced the new efforts on Friday. They come nearly a month after a privately owned facility for girls in the Florida Panhandle agreed to end its contract following the arrest of a staff member who was accused of battering a 15-year-old inmate.
  • Study: Minority Youth in Wash. Arrested, Referred to Juvenile Court More Often than Whites (
    Minority youth are arrested and in the Washington state's court system more often than their white counterparts, a recent study commissioned by the state Supreme Court shows. But researchers said counties aren't keeping complete data on ethnicity and the gap between minority and while youth is larger.
  • Palm Beach County School, Justice Officials Warn Students Juvenile Crimes can Follow, Hinder Them as Adults (The Palm Beach Post)
    Sometimes, Sonya Saucedo gets mad. It happens: She’s 13 years old. But Saucedo said she worries sometimes about where that anger and frustration will lead her. “I’ve gotten in trouble at school a few times,” the Pahokee Middle School student said. “I once screamed at everyone in class and threw books.” So on Thursday morning, Saucedo tentatively approached the microphone at a school assembly to ask one question: How hard is it to get your life back after you’ve committed a crime?

Almost 50 Percent Fewer Youth Arrested in Florida Schools; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Courts making strides in protecting children, vulnerable adults (Lincoln Journal Star)
    Supreme Court Chief Justice Heavican thanked lawmakers for passing legislation last session to enhance the Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project, which is designed to keep children involved in the juvenile justice system from becoming repeat offenders. The project aims to keep children from being jailed while they receive services or treatment.
  • Changes made in laws affecting youths (Midland Daily News)
    It’s been years in the making, but now some big changes have been made to laws pertaining to juveniles in court. “The predominant push is the idea that we need to have laws that are geared to juveniles,” Midland County Probate Judge Dorene S. Allen said. “Not use adult laws for juveniles.”
  • Almost 50 percent fewer youth arrested in Florida schools (Florida Department of Juvenile Justice)
    The number of youth arrested in Florida’s public schools declined 48 percent in the past eight years, from more than 24,000 to 12,520, according to a study released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The decline corresponds with a downward trend in juvenile delinquency in all categories across the state.
  • Building their future: Youth offenders learn woodworking, life skills in lockup (Waco Tribune-Herald)
    In a small shop building at the state youth lockup in Mart, teenage boys who have gotten into trouble with the law are learning woodworking skills that officials hope can be put to good use for the community.
  • Best Of 2012: Juvenile Justice Desk (Youth Radio)
    In 2012, Youth Radio's Juvenile Justice Desk followed some major changes to youth sentencing in California and the nation.

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 (
    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 (
    “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 (
    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 (
    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.

Mental Health Services for Children and Teens: A Community Approach

In an effort to more effectively provide mental health services for children and teens, funds were provided to create The Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program, also known as the Children’s Mental Health Initiative (CMHI)--a cooperative agreement program administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Department of Health and Human Services.
The CMHI helps promote the coordination of the multiple and often fragmented systems that serve children and youth from birth to age 21 diagnosed with a serious emotional disturbance and their families.
SAMHSA’s report, “The Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program, Evaluation Findings” found encouraging results, including self-reported anxiety symptoms decreasing for 24.2 percent of youth from intake to 12 months, and for 30.2 percent of youth from intake to 24 months.
The system of care philosophy revolves around the following eight principles that state services should be:

  1. Family driven
  2. Based on service plans that are individualized, strengths based, and evidence informed
  3. Youth guided
  4. Culturally and linguistically competent
  5. Provided in the least restrictive environment possible
  6. Community based
  7. Accessible
  8. Collaborative and coordinated through an interagency network

The Crime Report's Person of the Year; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • The Crime Report's Person of the Year (
    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 (
    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 (
    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 (
    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 (
    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 (
    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.