The role of families in supporting incarcerated youth in Ohio

In March of 2010, I wrote a piece for Reclaiming Futures about the importance of family for youth in the juvenile justice system and highlighted the Juvenile Relational Inquiry Tool (JRIT). I write with an exciting update that the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) is the first juvenile justice agency to take the tool state-wide with the support of training and technical assistance from Vera’s Family Justice Program.

DYS’s innovation around family engagement was recently highlighted at OJJDP’s annual conference. More detailed research from the first year of Vera’s partnership with DYS—specifically the roll out of the JRIT at two facilities—is now available. The research brief describes the motivation and emotional support families provide to youth, the cost associated with staying in touch during incarceration and reactions of juvenile correctional officers to incorporating the JRIT into their practice.

Youth arrests for violent crime reach lowest level in 20 years

Good news from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In their recently released Juvenile Arrests 2009 bulletin (the latest year data is available), OJJDP analysts found that in 2009, youth arrests for violent crime reached the lowest level in 20 years.

From the news release:

According to the 2009 data, U.S. law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1.9 million arrests of persons younger than 18 years old, nine percent fewer than in 2008. Between 2008 and 2009, there were declines in nearly every offense category. The number of juvenile arrests for Violent Crime Index offenses--murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault--decreased ten percent from 2008, reaching its lowest level since the early 1990s.

Materials from OJJDP's 2011 National Conference for Children's Justice & Safety

Good news! Materials from the OJJDP's 2011 National Conference for Children's Justice & Safety are now available online
For those unable to attend, the two-and-a-half day national conference addressed many of the key issues and strategies in the field of juvenile delinquency and victimization. Leading experts and researchers gave workshops and sessions that promoted evidence-based practices that incorporate emerging concerns in prevention, juvenile justice and victimization.
We hosted an all-day pre-conference workshop, focused on the Reclaiming Futures model and drug court. Video from the session is available below:
Video I
Introduction (Susan Richardson, National Director of Reclaiming Futures)
Why reform is needed – Reclaiming Futures' history and purpose (Susan Richardson)
What's happening in your court?  (The Honorable Anthony Capizzi, Reclaiming Futures Montgomery County
How many youth in your courts have a substance abuse problem? What happens to them as a result of that, and how do you measure progress and/or success with those efforts?
Reclaiming Futures model (Dan Merrigan, Ed.D., M.P.H., Reclaiming Futures Leadership Consultant and Christa Myers, Project Director, Reclaiming Futures Hocking County)

Announcing the winner of our iPad2 contest!

Congratulations to Vietta S. from Norfolk, NE! Here's a note from our National Executive Director Susan Richardson:
Thanks to all who visited the Reclaiming Futures booth in the exhibition hall at the OJJDP 2011 Conference for Children's Justice & Safety. We hope you will enjoy receiving our weekly e-newsletter which provides highlights from the Reclaiming Futures blog, the premier online source for juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment for teens. Know, too, you may unsubscribe at any time.
We had 328 people enter our contest for a 16GB WiFi iPad2. The winner was number 284, Vietta S. from Norfolk, NE. Congratulations, Vietta!

To learn more about Reclaiming Futures, visit our website at
Thanks again to all of you for stopping by.

New OJJDP report provides latest data and trends in juvenile court cases

The National Center for Juvenile Justice has published a new report, "Juvenile Court Statistics 2008," developed with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
Drawing on data from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive (the myriad data sets include age, gender, race, entry and detention rates, etc.), the report profiles more than 1.6 million delinquency cases that U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled in 2008. It also describes the trends in delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts between 1985 and 2008 and the status offense cases they handled between 1995 and 2008.
You can read and download the report (PDF file) here.