The most recently available national data tells us that more than 116,000 status offense cases were processed in court in 2011, and young people in more than 8,000 of those cases spent time in a detention facility.
While status offenses are non-criminal in nature, they can often jumpstart a cycle in the juvenile justice system that organizations and groups like The Status Offense Reform Center (SORC) believes can be stopped with the right means.
The SORC has a mission to “help policymakers and practitioners create effective, community-based responses for keeping young people who commit status offenses out of the juvenile justice system and safely in their homes and communities.”
In recognizing how challenging transforming a complex and long-lived system can be, the SORC developed a toolkit to help pave a course ahead for those in positions of authority: A Toolkit for Status Offense Reform. The toolkit addresses many common questions state and local officials have when attempting to make changes to this system:
- Who should be involved?
- What should our new system look like?
- How will we know if it’s effective?
Additionally, there are four sections, or “modules,” included in the toolkit that tackle four key areas to help make the positive changes necessary to divert youth from the system:
This module describes how to productively engage stakeholders in a system change effort.
This module describes how to use data to conduct an assessment of your system.
This module describes how to develop and implement a well-informed plan for system change that can be sustained over the long term.
This module describes how to monitor, assess, and modify your reform plan following its implementation.
For more information, explore the SORC website which includes a library of case studies of successful system reforms in different areas to help determine potential roadblocks and how to overcome them.
Image from SORC website
Updated: February 08 2018