Blog: Public Policy

Roundup: Juvenile Justice Reform Supported by The New York Times; Addiction Parity Law May be Thwarted; and More

Roundup: Assessing Gender-Specific Programs for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System; New Data Center on Kids' Well-Being from Casey; and More

  • juvenile-justice-resources-trainings-and-news_oldTV.jpgInterested in what restorative justice looks like when it's implemented in juvenile court? Here's a long article about two restorative justice programs in Oakland: one uses a peer court to address low-level offenders; the other works with kids leaving detention after many months.
  • Want data on the well-being of kids in your state? Want to know how your state ranks compared with others? Check out the KIDS COUNT Data Center just launched by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which also released its KIDS COUNT Databook for 2009.

Roundup: Juvenile Justice Recommendations from the Council of Europe; 13 Myths & Facts about Addiction Treatment; and More

Juvenile Justice Reforms in S.C. Threatened by Deep Budget Cuts

juvenile-justice-reform-threatened-NYT-videoDrastic cuts to the juvenile justice system in South Carolina are reversing significant gains made by reforms there, according to a New York Times story (see left for a still from the accompanying video, "Beyond the Fence.")
The Center for the Study of Social Policy's blog calls cuts to juvenile justice programs like these "shortsighted," because they avoid future costs and keep the community safer.
(UPDATE: Interestingly enough, budget woes seem to be driving states to adopt alternatives to incarceration -- including drug courts -- in the adult justice system.)
But what do you think? Leave a comment. 

Roundup: A Guide for Juvenile Defenders in Juvenile Court; New E-Guide for Parents on Adolescent Substance Abuse; and More

  • juvenile-court-adolescent-substance-abuse-news-TVDo too many teens in your juvenile court waive their right to counsel? The Southern Juvenile Defender Center (of the Southern Poverty Law Center) just issued a teen-friendly brochure for Florida teens in juvenile court to convince them not to waive counsel. Best of all: you may be able to have the brochure adapted for your state by contacting Marion Chartoff.  

The Juvenile Justice System on TV: Lake County, Indiana

juvenile-justice-system-screenshot-from-MSNBC-show-Lockup-Lake-County-IndianaAbout six weeks ago, I noted that MSNBC was going to air six episodes on the Lake County, Indiana juvenile justice system on its show, "Lockup."
In an unusual move, the judge in Lake County gave MSNBC full access to film the youth. I haven't seen the show, but here's a local review [removed because of dead link]. You can catch a riveting -- and heartbreaking -- 5-minute trailer for "Lake County Juvenile Justice here.
Has anyone had a chance to see the actual show? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought. 

Juvenile Justice Reform: A New Strategy for Addressing Disproportionate Minority Contact

Anyone who's serious about juvenile justice reform wants to address disproportionate minority contact (DMC), and several major foundation efforts have been chipping away at the problem for over a decade.
Now, TimeBanks USA hopes to bring the "practice of sending minority youth to confinement to a screeching halt." 

Roundup: Judge Opens His Own Alternative School; Restorative Justice Pays Off; South African Teens Get High on Anti-AIDS Drug; and More

Roundup: Charging Families of Detained Kids Proposed; Swine Flu in Baltimore Juvenile Justice Facility; and More

Youth Drug Use May Climb

juvenile-drug-use-trends-graph-detailIs drug use among high school-age teens about to soar? Probably, according to an analysis of historical data performed by Carnevale Associates, LLC.
The analysis, which appears in the firm’s policy brief, “Could Youth Drug Use Be Making a Comeback?,” shows that shortly after youth fear and disapproval of marijuana use diminished in the 1990s, teen marijuana use jumped over 30 percentage points between 1992 and 1997. After youth attitudes reversed, teen marijuana use dropped dramatically, falling 29 percent before bottoming out in 2006.

Obama Administration To Increase Funding for Drug Courts

drug-court-funding-may-double-MicrophonesNew Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske (i.e., director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)) was interviewed on NPR earlier this week when he visited an adult drug court in California.
In the interview, you can hear him talk about the value of drug courts as a crime prevention tool; the Administration's plans to double funding for them; and his dislike of the term "war on drugs."
Juvenile drug courts weren't specifically mentioned; it's unclear if the proposed funding increases would be proportionate.

Connecticut’s Shrinking Juvenile System in National Spotlight

juvenile-justice-report-Connecticut-graphConnecticut’s juvenile court caseloads dropped by a third in the past four years as prevention and early intervention paid off. A report released by the National Juvenile Justice Network and the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Turning It Around: Successes and Opportunities in Juvenile Justice, shows how Connecticut’s system has improved since 1993, when it was so bad a federal judge had to step in to protect kids in detention.

Latino Youth in the Juvenile Justice System - Key Facts

Latino-youth-in-justice-system-cover-of-policy-briefA few weeks ago, America's Invisible Children: Latino Youth and the Failure of Justice was issued by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ). I already posted about it, but now that I've had a chance to scan it, I thought a few of pieces of information in it were worth calling attention to. (It's an unusually lucid and readable document, and well worth reviewing on your own.)

Roundup: How States Can Use Automation to Increase Health Coverage for Teens; and More



Childrens' Bill of Rights - Some Resources

rights-of-teens.jpgA few weeks back, I posted a "parents' bill of rights" from Texas, so it's only fitting that I also post a strength-based bill of rights for youth in the justice system (see p. 3 of the linked document) created by Laura Nissen, the National Director of Reclaiming Futures.
Now there's a model bill of rights for children in the justice system from the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, and a list of states introducing it as legislation this year: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. 

Roundup: New Database Tracking Juvenile Justice Legislation; New Alcohol Tax Calculator; Skate Culture in Native America: and More


Measuring Child Welfare Outcomes Across Systems: Webcast

measuring-juvenile-justice-outcomes-graph-with-magnifying-glass.jpgOne of the big challenges every jurisdiction faces is getting meaningful outcome data across different systems that serve children -- e.g., juvenile justice, teen  alcohol and drug treatment, child welfare, children's mental health, schools, and so on. This is such an important challenge, in fact, that it's at the heart of the Reclaiming Futures model and the work done by our individual sites.
If you're working on this in your own jurisdiction, tune in June 4, 2009 to, "Health, Education, and Child Welfare: Measuring Outcomes across Systems," a webcast sponsored by the Chapin Hall Center for Children and the Urban Institute. (If you're in Chicago, you may be able to attend in person.) The event will be broadcast from 10am - 11:30am EST / 7am - 8:30am PST; if you can't make it, webcasts are usually archived by the Chapin Hall Center for Children.