We round up the latest news on youth justice reform and national public health.
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Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health.
Casey: Time to Close ‘Youth Prisons’ (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has called for an end to state juvenile correctional centers, which the foundation refers to as "youth prisons." This call to action is fueled by their recent report which finds that despite increased attention to the conditions of juvenile corrections institutions, incarcerated youth continue to be subjected to abusive, systematic maltreatment.
When criminal justice systems reduce prison populations and reinvest a portion of the savings in evidence-based methods of reducing crime, not only are taxpayer dollars saved, but more efficient and effective programs can be fiscally prioritized.
For example, Kentucky is using a portion of the savings from reduced prison populations to fund drug treatment beds that aim to get more Kentucky offenders off drugs—for good. Recent data showed Kentucky policymakers that drug treatment can cut recidivism among otherwise addicted inmates by one-third, and the Kentucky Legislature jumped at the chance to save money and reduce crime in their state.
In Hawaii, crime victims will receive additional attention as some of the justice reinvestment savings are used to fund victim counselors and their support staff. This will permit their victims’ outreach efforts to expand from violent crime victims to violent and property crime victims, and for longer periods of time. Putting the focus on victims in this way not only makes the criminal justice system more responsive to community needs, but also what is necessary to make the harmed party whole after the criminal act.