Blog: No bio box

[Video] What is Juvenile Indigent Defense? News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • [Video] What is Juvenile Indigent Defense? (
    On November 11th, JJIE rolled out the next section of our juvenile justice resource hub on juvenile indigent defense. To kick start the launch, JJIE led a compelling and informative live group video chat with key players in the Juvenile Indigent Defense reform movement—exploring youth’s rights and access to quality council and defense when they find themselves in court.
  • Proposed Reforms to Juvenile Representation Stir Concerns in Colorado (The Denver Post)
    Criminal justice experts are questioning whether proposed reforms requiring youth offenders to have attorneys are really necessary — or if the system can even afford it. Legislation on juvenile representation — including one provision requiring juveniles to have legal counsel at detention hearings — will be proposed in January when state lawmakers convene.
  • Criminal Case Puts Focus on Bullying Laws (
    Once considered a teenage rite of passage, bullying is now the subject of hundreds of state laws and a rallying cry for pundits, parents and celebrities.
  • Inside Heads and Cells of Juvenile Offenders: New Philly Art Exhibit Showcases and Helps Youth (
    What was originally conceived as a locally-staged art exhibition highlighting the need for reforms to the nation's juvenile justice system has snowballed into something much more. At nonprofit arts organization and studio space InLiquid, housed inside Kensington's Crane Arts building, hundreds of youths will this month receive the opportunity to have their juvenile records expunged, while hundreds more will be provided with resources about diversionary programming that could potentially save them from having to face the issue, in the first place.

Online Business Training for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Providers

Did you know that 30 million previously uninsured people are now eligible for coverage, including mental health and addiction treatment?
If you provide mental health and substance abuse services, you need strong business operations to meet this challenge and position your organization for growth. 
There is good news–and free training–for you! The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is funding online learning called BHBusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations.
Apply by December 16, 2013, for online courses grow your organization, improve efficiency, and deliver value, focused on five core competencies:

  • Strategic business planning
  • Third-party billing and compliance
  • Eligibility and enrollment
  • Third-party contract negotiation
  • Meaningful use of healthcare technology

The Application deadline is December 16, 2013. Note: There are a limited number of slots remaining; apply as soon as possible to ensure acceptance into the program.

Celebrating 10 Years of Natural Helpers in Montgomery County, Ohio!

On October 16, 2013, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted the 10th annual Natural Helper Recognition Banquet. As one of the first Reclaiming Futures sites, this year’s celebration was significant as Montgomery County was celebrating its 10th year of our Natural Helpers Program. Volunteers and community partners that have made this initiative a success were recognized for their achievements. This year’s event was held at The Salvation Army, Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dayton Ohio. Over 100 community leaders, partners, natural helpers and juvenile court staff were in attendance.
The evening also showcased the talents of many students from two local high schools. Kettering Fairmont High School Acapella Group, Eleventh Hour, and Stivers School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble provided entertainment for the evening. Special guest speaker Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender provided an inspirational message for all in attendance. Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi gave special recognition to 12 natural helpers for their years of service, assistance on advisory projects, and for their distinguished services to the youth of Montgomery County.

Topics: No bio box, Ohio

What Do Teens in Prison Need to be Successful?

Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, has a unique perspective on what teens in prison need to be successful.
Locked up in federal prison at age 34 for a drug crime committed in her early 20s, Kerman spent a year living in close quarters with many women, including 18- and 19-year-old girls.
What were the three things she thought they needed to be successful?

  1. Positive attention. She found the teens in particular were incredibly responsive to positive attention, creating significant opportunities for change -- opportunities that were often missed.
  2. Continued connection to their families and their own children.
  3. Alcohol and drug treatment and mental health services.

But you should really hear it from her own lips. Fortunately, when she was in town earlier this week, Piper graciously agreed to be interviewed (see above).
What impact did the experience have on her?  Among other things, it has turned her into an eloquent advocate for juvenile justice reform, and addressing disproportionate minority contact in the adult and juvenile justice systems. Now that's a great outcome. 

Topics: No bio box

Drug Court Pioneer, Judge John Schwartz, Celebrates Last Graduation Ceremony

Judge John Schwartz founded the first Drug Court of New York in Rochester in 1995—at a time when the idea was highly controversial. On Friday, Oct. 25, Judge Schwartz presided over his last graduation as he prepares for well-deserved retirement.
Judge John Schwartz started his career in 1983 as a Rochester City Court Judge and has accomplished a tremendous amount for the New York Drug Courts. The Honorable Judge Schwartz has received several prestigious awards for his contributions to the Courts and his positive impact on the community throughout his career.
His last graduation class was monumentally successful; 85 newly clean and sober participants graduated—the largest group in the court’s 16-year history!
“It’s our largest graduating class ever and it’s been a great day,” said Judge Schwartz. “We’ve had a lot of success stories at this court and I’m very proud of them.”
It was the 46th graduation ceremony at the Hall of Justice in the Rochester City Court, and more than 200 people from across New York attended.
One particular special guest, Beth Coombs—a graduate in Judge Schwartz’s first class—traveled from California to speak on behalf of his groundbreaking work in the Drug Court field. “He put his reputation on the line so we could have a new way of life,” said Coombs, who currently works for a nonprofit association.
Another speaker on behalf of Judge Schwartz was West Huddleston, CEO of National Association of Drug Court Professionals, who praised Schwartz’s achievements within the state of New York and the Drug Court.
“[He] is an icon in the Drug Court profession who helped pave the way for others. As a visionary, he understood the value, the need and the potential of Drug Courts, and he put in the hard work needed to make the dream of Drug Courts a reality,” said Huddleston. “The domino effect Judge Schwartz has had on the Rochester community, the state of New York and the Drug Court profession is immeasurable.”

Study: Many Convicted Juveniles Say They Falsely Admitted Crime; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Study: Many Convicted Juveniles Say They Falsely Admitted Crime (
    More than a third of juveniles convicted of serious crimes said in a recent study they had falsely admitted to a crime they did not commit. The study, which appeared in the journal “Law and Human Behavior,” focused on 193 males aged 14 to 17 incarcerated in a California juvenile justice facility.
  • Our Views: Give More Teens Second Chances in Juvenile Court (
    Wisconsin should give 17-year-old nonviolent first-time offenders a break. Instead of sending them to adult court and risking higher levels of recidivism, the state should keep these low-level offenders in the juvenile justice system, where they can get the help they might need.
  • South Florida Squeezes School-to-Prison Pipeline (
    South Florida’s Broward County School Board voted unanimously to sign new rules, written by many hands, which are meant to drive down arrests and their unintended consequences in the state’s second most populous school district. The Nov. 5 Memorandum of Understanding approved by the school board has its signatories promise “appropriate responses and use of resources when responding to school-based misbehavior.”
  • Debate Over Role Of Government In Juvenile Justice System (
    More than 58,000 delinquents were arrested between 2011 and 2012, according to Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice. Because of those staggering numbers, The James Madison Institute hosted a debate at the Challenger Learning Center tonight.

Beyond Scared Straight: Still Going Strong in its Fifth Season

Beyond Scared Straight is, unfortunately, still on the air despite the research that shows it's ineffective and damaging to kids. In fact, Scared Straight programs actually INCREASE the likelihood that teens will reoffend. Why we're trusting the future of our teens to a television network whose other shows include Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty is beyond me. 
We've written quite a bit on (Beyond) Scared Straight in the past:

"Spotlight On Youth" Radio Segment Gives Unique Perspective on Fair Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System

There are 2,500 young people currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole in the United States—the only country in the world that has enforced the policy of life behind bars for those under 18. In recent years, the Supreme Court determined the policy of no parole to be unconstitutional for minors—calling it a cruel and unusual punishment.
The radio show, Spotlight on Youth, recently hosted a segment, “What is Fair? Examining Sentencing for Youth,” that discussed this policy among four unique guests:

While each guest had a different background, they all agreed on one main idea:
Young people are fundamentally different than adults, and the justice system should take this into account when sentencing those under 18.

Welcome FellowshipProgram Manager, Christa Myers

I am pleased to introduce the newest member of the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office, Christa Myers.
Please see our conversation below to learn how you can help Christa achieve one of her goals in the first 90 days of work.
You'll also find out which famous animal she played at a youth conference. Please welcome Christa in the comments section below!
Susan J. Richardson (SJR)
Christa Myers (CM) 
SJR) What brings you to Reclaiming Futures?
CM) I have been working as Project Director/Juvenile Drug Court Program Coordinator at a Reclaiming Futures site for 5.5 years. I was hired for that position with a youth development background, having worked for:

  • Ohio State University Extension, Hocking County (4-H);
  • National Crime Prevention Council, Youth Division;
  • Sunday Creek Associates, Youth Entrepreneurial Project; and
  • Hocking County Juvenile Court/Children's Service, Summer Program for Girls.

I look forward to working on a national level to bring my strengths and skills from my work in Hocking County to the National Program Office.
SJR) What are you most interested in learning?
CM) I am most interested in learning more about each of our 37 sites. I have thoroughly enjoyed my coaching role with Hardin and Lucas Counties, Ohio, and Forsyth County, N.C., because I get to know more about their local work and can celebrate their successes along with them. I look forward to experiencing this with all the sites in the national learning collaborative.
SJR) What do you hope to achieve in your first 90 days at Reclaiming Futures?
CM) I am terrible with name recall, so I hope I will be able to associate names with roles and locations in the first 90 days. But please forgive me if I make mistakes!

What Role Does Race Play in Juvenile Justice? News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Justice Reform Pays, in Dollars and Sense (Ledger-Enquirer)
    One eye-popping number: The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice says the state can save more than $90,000 for every child -- every child -- that doesn't have to be placed in a juvenile detention center. So said political, law enforcement and judicial officials in a town-hall panel discussion at the Augusta Library Headquarters.
  • New Coalition to Focus on Juvenile Justice in Jacksonville (
    More than two dozen Northeast Florida elected officials, churches, advocacy groups and policy organizations are joining forces to put a stop to the criminalization of first-time juvenile offenders accused of committing misdemeanors.
  • Georgia Closing Juvenile Prison With Nation’s Highest Rate of Sexual Victimization (
    A Georgia youth prison, recently found by a federal study to have the highest rate in the nation of sexual victimization of incarcerated youth, will close at the end of the year, the state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced Monday.
  • What Role Does Race Play in Juvenile Justice? Youth Forum Tackles Subject (
    The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and young people will explore solutions to racial disparity to promote equality for Connecticut young people in the system.

New Innovation and Intellectual Property Report

Have you ever wondered how a great idea grows into a successful model and then spreads across the country? It doesn't happen on its own. Reclaiming Futures receives support from many sources, including the Portland State University (PSU) office of Innovation and Intellectual Property.
Reclaiming Futures is one of 10 projects featured in a new report about expanding the reach and nuturing the success of PSU initiatives from the office of Innovation and Intellectual Property:

Since our opening in 2008, we have aided the success and external distribution of research projects from a wide range of PSU departments and disciplines, from engineering and chemistry to linguistics and environmental science. Our focus is on use and impact, and we use intellectual property as a tool to shape how PSU innovations are used and deployed in the wider community.

The Reclaiming Futures model has spread from 10 to 37 sites, and we have welcomed funding support from four foundations and two federal agencies since 2001. 
We are grateful for the support and continue to maximize our impact in communities working to break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
Please call 503-725-8914 to learn more about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community

Upward Trend Lines in Juvenile Justice Reform

Isn’t it fun when policy is trending our way? Indeed, after reading State Trends Legislative Victories from 2011-2013 Removing Youth From the Adult Criminal Justice System released by the Campaign for Youth Justice I just want to celebrate.
State Trends identifies twenty-three states that enacted forty pieces of legislation to reduce the prosecution of youth in adult criminal courts and end the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons. They identify four important trends:

  • Trend 1: Eleven states (Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, Hawaii, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Oregon and Ohio) have passed laws limiting states’ authority to house youth in adult jails and prisons.
  • Trend 2: Four states (Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, and Massachusetts) have expanded their juvenile court jurisdiction so that older youth who previously would be automatically tried as adults are not prosecuted in adult criminal court.
  • Trend 3: Twelve states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Ohio, Maryland and Nevada) have changed their transfer laws making it more likely that youth will stay in the juvenile justice system.
  • Trend 4: Eight states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington) have changed their mandatory minimum sentencing laws to take into account the developmental differences between youth and adults, allow for post-sentence review for youth facing juvenile life without parole or other sentencing reform for youth sentenced as adults.

Multnomah County, Oregon, Stays “Smart on Crime”

The Office of National Drug Policy Control promotes a “smart on crime” approach that emphasizes prevention and access to treatment over incarceration in order to break the cycle of substance abuse, crime and re-arrest—especially among youth.
Programs like Reclaiming Futures Multnomah Embrace are furthering the goals of the smart on crime approach by engaging the right people to improve services for youth in the justice system and positively impact the community.
In 2006, the program partnered up with Write Around Portland and local mentoring agencies to publish “When You Were Fifteen,” a collection of stories from adults and youth about what it was like to be 15—the average age of youth in the local juvenile justice system. This book continues to raise awareness of the need for caring adult mentors in the lives of youth caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
More recently, Multnomah Embrace hosted a spring meet and greet fair to connect young people with services and activities available in their community.  The meet and greet also offered a panel of four teens from Lines for Life—a 24-hour teen-to-teen crisis, counseling and referral line. The teen panel members discussed the importance of healthy activities and shared personal stories of how these activities positively impacted their lives.

OP-ED: Girls in the System Need More of Our Support; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • In ‘Vernon’s World,’ a Young Photographer Documents the Life of a Homeless Teenager (
    Unaccustomed to the cold, hard floor in his spot next to the door of the public bathrooms in Trenton, Missouri, Sam Wilson, 22, slept badly. In a stall next to him, Vernon Foster, 18, didn’t have the same trouble. By the time Foster woke, Wilson had been in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness for hours, apologizing to the morning walkers as they filtered through the bathroom, surprised to see two young boys asleep on the floor.
  • Mandatory Sentencing 17 year-olds in Adult Court - Is There a Better Alternative for Wisconsin's Youth and Taxpayers? (MacIver Institute)
    In the United States, there is a wide consensus that children differ from adults. The very fact that each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. have institutions designed to render judgment on cases and administer justice outside of the adult criminal court speaks to this critical distinction.
  • OP-ED: Girls in the System Need More of Our Support (
    "I just returned from the Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders Conference in Portland, Maine, where Piper Kerman, author of the memoir 'Orange Is the New Black,' -- the inspiration for the wildly successful Netflix series of the same name -- gave the keynote address to the 400 or so attendees all with some connection to the offender population."
  • Florida's Juvenile Justice Department Seeking Reform Suggestions (
    Gulf County residents sat quietly as Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters talked about a major change, focusing more on prevention programs. "These problems that allow people to become violent and so disregard authority and commit crimes and know that they're committing crimes, these things don't happen in a day," said Secretary Wansley Walters of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Webinar October 29: Deliver Scientific Facts About Drug Abuse to Teens

Do you need help talking to teens about the effects of drug abuse on the brain, body and behavior? If so, we have good news: you're invited to a free webinar on October 29.
Deliver the Scientific Facts About Drug Abuse to Teens During National Drug Facts Week, hosted by Reclaiming Futures, presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Sheri Grabus, Ph.D., Acting Press Officer, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
LaTonya Harris, Project Director, Reclaiming Futures Lucas County, Ohio
When: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
You'll learn how to shatter the myths about drugs and drug addiction, like: 

  • “Marijuana isn’t addictive”
  • “Prescription drugs aren’t dangerous because we get them from doctors”
  • “Using drugs that aren’t prescribed to you is legal and you can’t get in trouble from it”
  • “Treatment doesn’t work”

Clinic at Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex Teaches More than Just Basketball

Washburn University basketball coach Bob Chipman and five members of the Ichabod team gave some pointers on the game of basketball, and a few on the game of life, to residents of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) last week.
With their first game of the season a little over two weeks away, Chipman and a few of his players took time out to teach a group of juvenile offenders about basketball, as well as to encourage them to make healthy life choices.
The visitors coached the residents on techniques of the game and ran through a series of drills that helped bond the two groups of young men, many of whom are very close in age. The day ended with one of the young offenders tossing alley-oop passes to red-shirt freshman Evan Robinson.
“It’s a great feeling to get this opportunity to serve the community, and I guarantee that I will learn a lot more from them than I will teach them,” said Robinson. “It’s good to see the smiles on their faces and know that we’re able to make a positive impact in some way.”
Chipman first connected with KJCC through one of his former players, Steve Bonner, who now serves as a corrections counselor at the facility.
“We all make mistakes, in life, and in basketball,” Chipman told the juvenile offenders. “But you learn from your mistakes and you go on. Just like in basketball, it’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts. I want every one of you to finish great.”