Blog: Juvenile Justice Reform

Roundup: Federal Survey Shows Sexual Victimization High at 13 Juvenile Detention Centers; Upcoming CADCA Conference; SAPRP on Barriers to Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

juvenile-justice-news_old-TVJuvenile Justice Reform News

Reclaiming Futures - the RWJF Grant Results Report

Reclaiming-Futures-juvenile-justice-reform_thick-bookLast month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a "grant results report" on the first seven years of Reclaiming Futures.
You can read the summary; useful sidebars, such as the testimony of a teen from Portland, OR before congressional staffers on the importance of Reclaiming Futures in helping her get off meth; or "Lessons Learned" from the project directors of the 10 founding sites.
Go here to access the entire grants results report for an in-depth perspective on how this initiative helps communities improve adolescent substance abuse treatment for youth in the justice system.

Moving from Them to Us - Challenges in Reframing Violence Among Youth

juvenile-justice-reform-youth-violence-prevention_cover-of-reportIt's safe to assume that we'd all like to see youth violence reduced if not eliminated. And there's plenty of work going on in this area.
But there are some major obstacles to successfully addressing youth violence in a systemic, effective way, argue Lori Dorfman, DrPH, and Lawrence Wallack, DrPH, authors of a fascinating paper called, "Moving from Them to Us - Challenges in Reframing Violence Among Youth." [Dr. Wallack is a colleague of Dr. Laura Nissen, the national director of Reclaiming Futures.]
One of the most important obstacles: violence is almost always framed -- especially in the media -- as the responsibility of an individual. And while it's true that individual choice is part of the explanation, it's not the whole explanation. By talking about violence only in terms of individuals, we subtly suggest that there's nothing that can be done to prevent it. That makes it difficult for anti-violence advocates, who know that violence can be reduced and prevented by a broad-based focus on the environmental factors that contribute to it.

Roundup: 20 Key Stories of 2009

juvenile-justice-system-adolescent-substance-abuse-treatment-2009-news_signOnly recently, I shared our 10 most popular posts, eight of the best resources published on this blog on improving adolescent drug treatment, and a list of positive activities for kids in the justice system. (That was all to celebrate the blog's first birthday, in November.)
But looking back over our posts for 2009, I see we never compiled a list of the most important stories of the year. Stories, in other words, that might herald major shifts in policy, breakthroughs in the research, or that were important enough to make the national news.  Those, then, comprise the 20 stories I've collected below.

$8.8 Million in Juvenile Drug Court Grants from SAMHSA

juvenile-drug-courts-SAMHSA-grants_moneyGot a juvenile drug court that's been operational for at least one year? Want to expand its treatment capacity?
Purpose of the grant: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is giving away nearly nine million dollars to help you "expand and/or enhance substance abuse treatment services in juvenile drug courts to "provide alcohol and drug treatment, recovery support services supporting substance abuse treatment, screening, assessment, case management, and program coordination to juvenile defendants/offenders. Priority for the use of the funding should be given to addressing gaps in the existing continuum of treatment."
Award amounts: SAMHSA expects to give away 27 grants amounting to approximately $325,000/year each for up to three years.
Application deadline: Grants are due February 23, 2010.
(Photo by borman818.)

Juvenile Justice Involvement: ABA Wants Input on "Collateral Consequences"

juvenile-justice-system-consequences_teen-girlAre you a juvenile defender or Legal Aid attorney working in the juvenile justice system?
The American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section wants your help and input. It wants to collect state-by-state information on statutes, regulations, and practices that worsen the impact when kids get involved in the juvenile justice system.
In other words, it's looking for anything that might "affect a youth’s access to public education, employment, public housing, public benefits, voting rights, and other sources of opportunity and support."
The initiative has three goals:

Juvenile Justice: OJJDP and BJA Grants for Reentry Demonstration Projects

juvenile-justice-system-reentry-grants_handwritingGrants Available for Juvenile Reentry Projects

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance are requesting applications for adult and juvenile reentry demonstration grants under the 2007 Second Chance Act.
Grants may be made for either adult or juvenile reentry projects, may amount to as much as $750,000, and could last anywhere from one to three years, depending on a variety of factors. The emphasis will be on providing comprehensive services to offenders vs. a single program; collaboration between agencies will be favored.
The deadline to apply is March 10, 2010.

Image by JKim1.

Roundup: Celebration of OJJDP at 35; Only Half of U.S. Youth with Mental Disorders Are Treated; Little Progress for African-American Youth in Justice System; and More

juvenile-justice-adolescent-mental-health-news_old-TVJuvenile Justice: OJJDP at 35

  • Almost all of the past administrators of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) gathered at a historic forum in Washington, D.C. to celebrate OJJDP's 35th birthday and reflect on their successes and challenges. The forum, held in November, was organized by Youth Today.


Poetry as Treatment for Youth In the Juvenile Justice System

Poetry can heal traumatized youth. It also creates a community of openness, connectedness, and strength, which helps treatment providers. Poetry particularly serves teens who have a hard time expressing themselves. Here is a poem by Payton (pseudonym), a first-time writer in juvenile detention:
I am 15 and I am lost don't know
what to do.  lost because I get no love.
lost because I messed up my life.
lost because my dad left for some
women.  lost because I got caught
up in gangs.  lost because I lost
real friends my family.  lost
because I screwed my life
up.  lost because I lost
respect and trust.  lost
because I am a kleptomaniac.
lost because I don't show enough
love or respect to peers or elders.
lost because I am always in detention.
lost because I got nowhere to hide.
lost because I got no guardians.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice 2010 Conference

juvenile-justice-reform_CJJ-logoThe Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) is pleased to announce its 2010 Annual National Conference, Hill Day and Member Meeting, to be held April 10-13 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown, Washington, DC.
The theme of the conference, “Ensuring School Engagement and Success for Youth At-Risk” is expected to draw more than 250 juvenile justice practitioners and advocates from across the U.S. and its territories.
Primary goals for the 2010 CJJ annual conference include:

Juvenile Justice Reform: Pathways to Desistance and What Works

juvenile-justice-reform-Pathways-to-Desistance-coverBig news in the field of juvenile justice reform: initial results from the "Pathways to Desistance" research project are now available.  And the implications for juvenile justice policy -- and opportunities for debate -- are significant. 
Conducted by the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change initiative, "Pathways to Desistance" is a large, multi-site project that follows 1,354 racially and ethnically diverse juvenile offenders over seven years and tries to answer the basic question we all want the answer to: what combination of sanctions and services helps kids stop re-offending, i.e., desist from crime?  
Specifically, it's looking at youth who committed "the most serious felonies that come before the court, including murder, robbery, aggravated assault, sex offenses, and kidnapping" between the ages of 14 and 17. Over 90% of the followup interviews -- over 25,000 of them -- have been completed so far.
One key finding:

Juvenile Justice Reform: National Parent Caucus Call Schedule for 2010

juvenile-justice-reform-CFYJ-national-parent-caucus-telephoneLast summer, the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) launched its National Parent Caucus to build leaders among those most affected by the juvenile justice system. Every month, it holds conference calls with parents and caregivers. They've reached over 100 families from all over the country.
Next spring, CFYJ will host a three-day gathering in Baltimore of emerging family leaders from the National Parent Caucus to share experiences and skill. (I'll keep you posted as I learn more.)
Can't wait that long? Then dial in to the Caucus' next conference call at 1.866.670.5105 and enter the code 448194#. Or pass the number on to a parent of a child in the justice system. All calls take place at 1 pm PST/ 4 pm EST.
Here's the 2010 conference call schedule:

Roundup: Juvenile Drug Court Grants from SAMHSA; Juvenille Justice Reform Survey; Using the Media to Support Reform; and More

juvenile-justice-reform-old-TVJuvenile Justice System News - An Important Survey, plus Webinars and One Grant Opportunity

  • Please take or pass on this quick online survey for kids who used to be in the juvenile justice system, family members of kids in the system, and people of color new to the field of juvenile justice reform. The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) compiled the survey to help shape its first Juvenile Justice Leadership Development Institute, which it plans to hold in July 2010. The mission of the Institute is to create a "more effective juvenile justice reform movement by developing a strong base of well prepared and well trained advocates who reflect the communities most affected by juvenile justice system practices and policies, with a particular focus on cultivating and supporting leaders of color, youth and family members." Hurry, though, the deadline to complete it is Monday, December 14th!

Children Exposed to Violence: OJJDP Web Resources

Concerned about youth who are victims of violence, or who've witnessed it? 
Practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can get news and resources from the Safe Start Center, run by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Places to start:

You can also follow the Safe Start Center on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Roundup: "The Keeper and the Kept"; National Standard for Juvenile Recidivism; Free Webinar on Reducing No-Shows in Treatment

Juvenile Justice Reform & Related News

Juvenile Drug Courts: Evidence-Based Practices

Got a juvenile drug court? Considering starting one?
The MacArthur Foundation's juvenile justice reform initiative, Models for Change, recently released a set of evidence-based practice recommendations for juvenile drug courts.
Developed in a statewide project in Louisiana, the recommendations focus on

  1. screening and assessment;
  2. improving alcohol and drug treatment (along with treatment for co-occurring disorders); and
  3. outcome monitoring.

(Hat tip to Christa Myers of the  Reclaiming Futures initiative in Hocking County, Ohio.)
Related Post:

Roundup: OJJDP Needs Assessment Survey; LGBT Youth in Juvenile Court; CRAFFT Predicts Teens' High-Risk Sexual Behavior

juvenile-justice-adolescent-substance-abuse-news-old-TVYour Juvenile Justice System: Share Local Needs with OJJDP

  • What training and technical assistance does your system need?  The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) wants to know. Complete their online needs assessment for your juvenile justice system, and help them improve their understanding of local needs to build capacity and sustainability among juvenile justice organizations. 

Juvenile Justice System and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News

Juvenile Justice Reform: Supreme Court Hears Juvenile Life Without Parole Cases Today

Background on the Juvenile Life Without Parole Cases

juvenile-justice-reform-life-without-parole-supreme-court-photoToday, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing appeals on two cases where teens were sentenced to life without parole for non-homicidal crimes.
The court's decision has the potential to significantly curtail the use of "life without parole" sentences for teens, especially in cases where no one is killed. Youth Today has very thorough coverage, including links to lots of editorials on the topics, and you can find a piece from The Atlantic, "Kids Locked Up for Life."

Roundup: Update on the JJDPA; Treatment Agencies Improve Services & Bottom Line; Two Innovative Crime-Reduction Practices; and More

juvenile-justice-reform-adolescent-substance-abuse-news-roundup-TVJuvenile Justice Reform News

Our Top 10 Stories on Juvenile Justice and Adolescent Treatment - Part 2

Reclaiming-Futures-anniversary-part-2-birthday-cakeYesterday, to celebrate the first anniversary of this blog, we began reposting our top 10 posts from the past year, including one on engaging the families of youth in the juvenile justice system, how to handle confidentiality and consent issues when connecting kids with adolescent substance abuse treatment, and more.
Today, our celebration continues with our top five posts (in reverse order of popularity):