History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and teen mental health. 

History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System (The New York Times)
A report released on Thursday - a rare examination of girls in the juvenile justice system - finds that as many as 80 percent of girls in state systems have a history of sexual or physical abuse, and that sexual abuse is among the primary predictors of girls’ involvement with systems.  The report also finds that systems lack resources to identity or treat these common issues, and suggests ways to approach needed reform.

The Dark Realities Of Being A Minor In Prison (The Huffington Post)
Political reporter Dana Liebelson discusses her investigative feature, "Cruel And All-Too-Usual: A Terrifying Glimpse Into Life In Prison -- As A Kid."  The video and report depict the daily disturbing experiences of being a minor in an adult prison.

How Germany Treats Juveniles (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
While it is recognized in the U.S. that young brains are different than adult brains -- making young adults less mentally culpable for crimes, more open to rehabilitation, and also more vulnerable in prison environments -- 16 and 17 year olds are so often placed in adult prison systems. Germany has a different approach to juvenile justice, and is currently debating the extension of juvenile law to cover young people up to 24 years old. The human brain does not reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s, and it's interesting to note that in Germany young adults already stay in juvenile prisons until they are 24 or 25, rather than being placed in adult prisons.

Women’s Center Works to Lower Recidivism Rates With ‘Immersion in Sisterhood’ (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange)
For the last 20 years, Center for Young Women’s Development (CYWD) in San Francisco has provided a safe place for women ages 16-24 who were previously incarcerated or homeless in the Bay Area. The CYWD's Sisters Rising program is a major part of why the center is recognized for giving young women opportunities for personal and professional growth, and in the past year this program completed a participatory action research project in order to better identify the needs of young, low-income women of color in the Bay Area, in order to model the program to suit these needs.

Teaching Emotional Awareness Reduces Juvenile Recidivism (The Big Think)
Research from Cardiff University's School of Psychology finds that two hours of emotional awareness training may help reduce the seriousness of future crimes by incarcerated youth. Researchers noted a 44 percent drop in the seriousness of offenses upon teaching emotional awareness to young individuals.

How to Help School Reform Succeed (Medium)
While much is invested in school reform and school improvement, very little attention is focused on reaching teens who will likely leave school without graduating.  John Gomperts of America's Promise argues, based on his organization's recent research, that it is clear what determines a teen's success in school is what they experience outside of school.

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Updated: September 23 2020