Roundup: What's Working (and Not) in Juvenile Justice; More Children Insured; Drug Czar's #2; and More


  • Nice article in The New York Times on the Missouri Model (getting kids out of detention and lock-up and into small group homes that focus on treatment and actual behavior change). Santa Cruz, California (and former Reclaiming Futures Justice Fellow, Scott MacDonald) are mentioned.
  • TIME magazine weighed in on the state of the juvenile justice system, noting the need for more accountability to prevent abuses of various kinds. Also noted that most teens in the system who need mental health and addiction treatment don't get it.
  • Good news from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania for some of the youth improperly adjudicated and sentenced: they're getting their charges expunged. (UPDATE: But sorting out what should be done with the rest of the cases will be much more complicated. And here's more from the New York Times on the judges and their kickback plan.)
  • The number of uninsured Americans grew alarmingly between 1994-2007, according to an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The only bright spot is that more children are insured, as coverage by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have been expanded.
  • An outrageous case in which a 13-year-old middle school girl was strip-searched for prescription drugs (in this case, Ibuprofen) is making its way to the Supreme Court, Join Together reports.  
  • Also from Join Together: New York struck down its so-called "Rockefeller drug laws" by allowing judges to send many offenders to treatment instead of prison. The new rules would apply to most first-time nonviolent offenders (and some repeat offenders).
  • In an unusual about-face, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that the U.S. demand for drugs fuels the drug trade; earlier in the month, The Economist published an editorial arguing for the legalization of drugs as the "least bad solution" to the problem because, in part, it could enable "governments to guarantee treatment to addicts."
  • Another editorial, this time in The New Republic's blog on health care, contains encouraging information that the new Drug Czar's second-in-command will probably be A. Thomas McClellan. Mr. McClellan is the editor of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, helped create the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) assessment, and heads up the Treatment Research Institute. On top of that, he's the author of "one of the most widely-cited articles ever published on substance abuse, which argued that drug dependence is a chronic medical disorder which should be insured, treated, and evaluated in similar fashion to asthma, type-2 diabetes, and hypertension." Sounds like somebody you'd want at the Drug Czar's elbow, no?

Got a comment about any of the news items above? Feel free to leave a comment. Think we missed a big news story? Feel free to email me or leave a comment.

Updated: February 08 2018