Juvenile Justice System News
- We're glad to welcome a new juvenile justice reform organization to the national ring this week: Families and Friends Organizing for Reform for Juvenile Justice. It was founded by Tracy McClard, whose son committed suicide in an adult facility - you can see her testify at a legislative hearing here. (Hat tip to @wildclearing.)
- Last week, I posted an announcement from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) on its first round of grand awards to support mentoring for youth in the juvenile justice system (see next to last bullet).
Turns out I should've linked to John Kelly's column in Youth Today, where he laid out a very long list of recent grant awards in the juvenile justice arena (subscription required) from the OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Among other things, he reported on awards for a multi-state mentoring initiative, violence prevention, gang prevention, family drug courts, and more.
Some interesting highlights: a demonstration grant that according to Kelly represents "the first formal collaboration" between the Justice Department and the Casey Foundation; and an award to establish the National Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center, which went to the Justice Research and Statistics Association. A Juvenile Indigent Defense National Clearinghouse will be set up by The National Juvenile Defender Center, which already coordinates MacArthur Foudnation's Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network.
- Thanks to Missouri's sentencing commission, judges on the bench now have access to key information: how much different sanctions cost, and relevant recidivism rates. It's the first state in the country to offer this information, and other states are likely to follow. This is good news, in that it could support the use of alternatives to incarceration; the next trick is to get pro-social activities, employment, and housing appropriate funding as well. (Hat tip to @CTJJA.) Do you think doing something similar in juvenile court would be a good idea? Leave a comment below!
- A Staten Island youth court was in the limelight this week, when it was featured in The New York Times. Courts like this -- where teens who commit low-level crimes are sanctioned by their peers -- have become more common; according to the article, there are now over 1,000 youth courts across the country. Want to learn more? Check out the Global Youth Justice site. If you're interested in setting up a similar court in your jurisdiction, they're hosting a conference on that topic in Las Vegas. December 7-9, 2010.
Treatment and Brain Development (Miscellaneous Stuff)
- Are you a member of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)? If so, you can access a special issue of their journal, Child Welfare, that focuses on residential care and treatment. Just follow the link to see the issue's contents. (Hat tip to the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth.)
- Here's a nice summary on teen brain development from the Harvard Medical School website. It specifically addresses why the teen brain might be particularly vulnerable to substance addiction. One of the researchers said that teens tend to be interested in brain development research. She said that adults should let them know "... what the warning signs are for abnormal, risky behavior. This is a time of self-discovery, and these kids are ripe for this type of information.” (Hat tip to @justiceforyouth.)
Positive Youth Development for Teens in the Juvenile Justice System - Great Example
- I was fascinated and inspired by this 4-minute video on a project in Chattanooga that connected youth in the juvenile justice system not just with community service work -- working on a garden -- but also working with disabled adults as part of the project. The video's a rough cut from a longer documentary, but I think it's worth a look. I've seen projects that had youth work with training dogs, but never with disabled adults. Are you familiar with a similar project in your jurisdiction? Leave a comment.
Updated: February 08 2018