Before sharing our accomplishments and expansion efforts, let’s take a moment to acknowledge numerous people and organizations that we have had the privilege of working with over the past few years to implement Reclaiming Futures’ version of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (RF-SBIRT).
Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) offers incarcerated youth the opportunity to receive high school and college education while they serve time through Education Portal, a Mountain View, California based company.
Oregon is the first state in the nation to offer such services to teens involved with the juvenile justice system.
"When at-risk youth arrive at OYA, they are often years behind in high school, have learning disabilities, and have suffered from abuse and neglect,” states OYA Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “We are deeply grateful to Education Portal for this partnership that offers kids a chance to make up for lost time and educational opportunities." Education Portal offers free high school and college courses to everyone. Services include:
- Over 4,000 lessons ranging from college business, history and science courses as well as high school AP biology, math and physics
- 53 trained and experienced instructors
- 33 College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams
- Transferrable credits to almost 3,000 colleges and universities
- Career help videos on resumes, interviewing and networking
Sarah Inman, Director of PR and Outreach explains that for incarcerated teens, “The three main barriers are a lack of basic college readiness skills, inability to afford college, and they don’t have access to college courses while incarcerated.”
Do you support juvenile justice reform and want to help communities break the cycle of drugs, alchohol and crime?
Join our staff in Portland, Oregon, where Reclaiming Futures is improving the experience for teens in the juvenile justice system by providing adolescent substance abuse and mental health treatment in 37 communities around the country.
We are hiring for two dynamic positions, Strategic Partnership Development Director and Fellowship Program Manager. Please read the full position descriptions. Some highlights of these jobs include:
Strategic Partnership Development Director
- Secure major sustainability funding from private and government sources
- Cultivate regional and national relationships with individuals and agencies
- Establish financial and other partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, private foundations, and private or business sectors
- Provide leadership for the strategic direction of the fellowship program and seek input from staff, fellows and faculty across the country
- Organize fellowship meetings’ activities and materials
- Develop a webinar strategy to provide learning opportunities for sites and grow the national profile of Reclaiming Futures
The tragic and devastating shootings this week in Oregon, California and Connecticut have stunned their communities and the nation. In the wake of this devastation it’s important for the families, communities and children affected to be able to find a way to cope in the aftermath of the event. The Safe Start Center has a variety of resources that can help communities manage and find a way to handle this kind of exposure to violence and trauma.
Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children’s Exposure to Violence – A Guide for Families [pdf]
Survivors of these types of events may have been physically and/or emotionally hurt by witnessing the violent event. Children are resilient, but if the child has been affected it may be difficult to identify when something is wrong especially if there are no clear physical signs of harm. The above guide can help in understanding how to help children cope with the “invisible wounds” affecting them emotionally and psychologically.
For the better part of the last two decades, The Beat Within has been committed to a mission of providing incarcerated youth with a forum where they can write (and draw) about the things that matter most to them, explore how they have lost connection with those things they value, and consider how they might re-connect to positive situations in their lives through the power of the written word.
This is a program that started small, in the Bay Area, with a commitment to provide detained kids between the ages of 11 to 18 with a safe space to share their ideas and experiences while promoting literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community.
That modest local effort has grown into a nationwide program that touches the lives of more than 5,000 youth in detention. Today, you can find weekly Beat workshops going on in 12 California county juvenile halls, from Alameda to San Diego. We are partnering with universities from U.C. Berkeley to the University of Hawaii. Meanwhile, the workshop model for The Beat is being replicated in Arizona, Texas, Alabama, New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and, thanks to the JJIE, Georgia.
For those in the Portland, Oregon area: We're joining PSU's School of Social Work in hosting Shay Bilchik for a lecture and discussion on the juvenile justice system. He'll address ways to improve systemic coordination and outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. A local panel of experts will react to Shay's remarks and Dr. David Springer (incoming Dean of the School of Social Work) will moderate.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
4:30 - 6:00 pm (doors open at 4)
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 327/328
Portland State University
Shay is the founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute. Prior to joining the Institute in 2007, he was the President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America. Previously, he headed up the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advocated for and supported a balanced and multi-systems approach to attacking juvenile crime and addressing child victimization. Before coming to the nation's capital, Shay was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami, Florida from 1977-1993, where he served as a trial lawyer, juvenile division chief and Chief Assistant State Attorney. Shay earned his B.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida.
RSVP here and let me know if you're going. I hope to see you there!
After the recent passage of House Bill 2707 that allows youth to be held in juvenile detention centers rather than adult jails while awaiting trial, the Campaign for Youth Justice and the Partnership for Safety and Justice released a report outlining the reasons Oregon should reassess its policies relating to Measure 11.
Measure 11 was originally marketed to Oregon voters as a way to deal with the state’s most serious youth offenders, but according to the report, the law hasn’t made Oregon any safer and has proven to have a detrimental impact on kids who commit less serious crimes. The study shows us that there are better ways to curb delinquency and increase the likelihood of young offenders becoming productive members of society.
In November of 1994, Oregon voters created new mandatory minimum sentences for a total of 16 crimes and required that teens charged with those crimes be tried as adults in the form of Measure 11. Those crimes included assault, arson, rape, kidnapping, manslaughter, robbery, sexual abuse, and murder. The state’s legislature followed suit and added even more crimes to the list. Today, the law requires youth who are 15 and older and charged with one of 21 crimes to be prosecuted automatically in the adult criminal justice system. If convicted of that crime, they are required to serve mandatory sentences usually reserved for adults. For instance, a conviction of robbery carries a minimum sentence of 70 months, regardless of age.
In the second part of our chat, Bart Lubow (director, Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, Annie E. Casey Foundation) praised Oregon's Multnomah County for its efforts in diverting kids from juvenile hall. (See the first part of our chat, with Bart explaining the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and why it improves outcomes and public safety.)
In his own words:
It's interesting to note that these simple innovations are actually keeping communities safer while providing alternatives to juvenile detention.