Blog: Missouri

Helping Students With Mental-Health Issues Return to School; News Roundup

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

Helping Students With Mental-Health Issues Return to School (Education Week)
Dr. Laura C. Murray provides recommendations on how to best support youth recovering from mental health issues as they transition back to school after time away.

NCJFCJ Resolves to Stop Shackling of Children in Juvenile Court; News Roundup

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

New Release: The NCJFCJ Resolves to Stop Shackling of Children in Juvenile Court (Nevada Business)
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) released its resolution on Monday stating that automatic shackling of young people in juvenile court is not a fair or trauma-informed practice, and such a practice will no longer be tolerated. This resolution builds on the NCJFCJ's 2005 guidelines calling for a continuum of effective and least intrusive responses in juvenile justice.

Mental Health and Safe Communities Act Introduced in the U.S. Senate; News Roundup

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

Mental Health and Safe Communities Act Introduced in the U.S. Senate (The Council of State Governments Justice Center)
On Wednesday U.S. Sen. John Cornyn introduced the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015, which is designed to improve outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders who come into contact with the criminal justice system. The hope is that this bill will address the prevalence of mental illness in jails, the exacerbation of disorders while incarcerated, as well as the resulting cost to taxpayers.

Top 6-10 Juvenile Justice Blog Posts | 2012

We've counted down the top 25, 20 and 15 juvenile justice blog posts from 2012. Here are 6-10:
10. Missouri’s Unique Approach To Rehabilitating Teens in Juvenile Justice System
Missouri is changing the way it approaches rehabilitating teens in its juvenile justice system, and it’s working. With a focus on therapy and education rather than punishment, the state closed its training schools and large facilities with minimal schooling in the early 1980s.
9. Stop the Trauma. Start the Healing: A Latino Health Context
Latino children are the fastest growing population in the United States and over half will end up incarcerated, jobless, or dead at a young age. Recognizing this, the National Compadres Network released a brown paper explaining how transformational based healing can disrupt this cycle and improve health outcomes for Latino children.

Recapping the 2012 Missouri Juvenile Justice Association Conference

On October 24-26, the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association (MJJA), a statewide organization whose mission is dedicated to promoting justice for children, youth, and families within Missouri, hosted the 2012 Missouri Juvenile Justice Association Conference. The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) and partners led a three-day track, Examining National Trends in Juvenile Justice Reform: Exploring Multi-Strategy Efforts in Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System.
On Wednesday, October 24, Dr. Ken Callis (Southeast MO State University) and Erin Davies (Children’s Law Center) presented on the importance of adolescent brain development and the role of this research in recent U.S. Supreme Court cases. Jessica Sandoval (CFYJ), Erin Davies, and Stephanie Kollman (Children & Family Justice Center) shared the current national trends on youth incarceration. The audience was very interested in learning about the progress states like Ohio and Illinois have made in decreasing youth incarceration. Davies enlightened the audience by sharing the different ways youth are tracked into the adult system and what legislative reforms state leaders are implementing to decrease the number of youth in adult courts. Kollman detailed out the process Illinois used to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction for 17-year-old misdemeanants and the impact "Raise the Age" is having on juvenile arrests, probation, detention and incarceration in Illinois.

Missouri Employs Families to Combat Delinquency

The juvenile justice system, in a sense, functions to replace a core family function: discipline of a child. While this is an important governmental role in some cases, it is necessary to ensure that families are not unnecessarily displaced, and in fact included in juvenile justice to the highest degree possible.
This is why family based juvenile justice programs often are very successful. Such programs return parents to their natural role of disciplinarian, and ensure that parents and youths are able to move forward with as little state involvement as possible.
Jackson County, Missouri, has adopted this precept with their Family Court program. The Family Court uses Parenting with Love and Limits theories, which seek to arm parents with the tools they need to discipline and control youths at home, and avoid placement in a secure facility.

Restoring Rehabilitation to the American Juvenile Justice System

Quantel Lotts was fourteen years old and not yet five feet tall when he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Like most children who are involved in a serious crime at a young age, Quantel's childhood [PDF] was bleak. Quantel spent the early years of his life in a blighted St. Louis neighborhood with his mother, who used and sold crack cocaine. When he was removed from her home and placed in foster care at age eight, child welfare workers observed that he "smelled of urine and had badly decayed molars as well as numerous scars on his arms, legs and forehead." Quantel lived in three different foster homes before he was eventually reunited with his father and younger brother. When Quantel was about ten, his father, Charlie Lotts, moved the boys to rural St. Francois County, Missouri and into the home of Tammy Summers and her two sons. Charlie and Tammy later married.
By all accounts, Quantel developed a close relationship with his new step-siblings, including Michael, who was three years older. On November 13, 1999, however, Quantel and Michael got into an argument. Michael hit Quantel with a blow dart, Quantel responded with a toy bow and arrow and a fight ensued. Michael was stabbed and later died. Quantel was charged with first-degree murder, tried and convicted as an adult. His sentence was mandatory: under Missouri law anyone convicted of first-degree murder must be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Over the objections of his stepmother and Michael's biological mother, Tammy, fourteen-year-old Quantel was sentenced to die in prison.

Most Popular Juvenile Justice Blog Posts of August

We realize that many of our readers spent at least part of August traveling and spending time away from the computer. So, we've put together a little recap of our most popular juvenile justice blog posts of August 2012.
10. A Look Back on 11 Years of Juvenile Justice Reform
Earlier this summer, the National Conference of State Legislatures published a report detailing the progress made in the juvenile justice arena at the state and national levels.
9. Funding Opportunity: Improve Outcomes for Boys of Color
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced a new call for proposals for 10 grants of up to $500,000 each. The Forward Promise initiative is looking for innovative, community-based projects working to strengthen health, education and employment outcomes for middle school and high school-aged boys and young men of color.

Missouri’s Unique Approach To Rehabilitating Teens in Juvenile Justice System

Missouri is changing the way it approaches rehabilitating teens in its juvenile justice system, and it’s working. With a focus on therapy and education rather than punishment, the state closed its training schools and large facilities with minimal schooling in the early 1980s. It also did away with prison-issued uniforms and isolation cells. Now in Missouri, youth who commit crimes usually spend up to 12 months in residential centers with various levels of security, depending on the severity of the crime. Lesser crimes result in teens living in group homes or visiting day treatment centers. Every facility offers the same educational and treatment opportunity, regardless of the crimes committed.

(In this video from The Missouri Approach, young people talk about the success that Missouri’s juvenile justice system has had in their lives and share their positive plans for their futures.)
In a summary published in the 2012 summer edition of American Educator titled, Metamorphosis: How Missouri Rehabilitates Juvenile Offenders, author Jennifer Dubin explains how completely revamping the juvenile correctional system has transformed the way that the state approaches rehabilitating youth for the better. For example, Missouri’s Division of Youth Service (DYS) runs the juvenile facilities in the state, which are completely separate from the court’s jurisdiction once a youth is sentenced to a DYS facility.