Blog: Underage Drinking

[NEW REPORT ] Underage Drinking: Practice Guidelines for Community Corrections

OJJDP’s October Juvenile Justice Bulletin examines underage drinking and offers evidence-based guidelines for screening and treating teen drinkers. OJJDP’s interest in promoting better treatment for underage drinking isn’t new--they’ve long understood the physical, neurological and legal consequences of underage drinking.
The Underage Drinking Bulletin series was created to help educate practitioners and policymakers about these issues and to provide evidence-based guidelines. Highlights from the 10 guidelines from this bulletin are included below:

  • Youth should be screened for alcohol problems regularly throughout their supervision. If they are found to be at risk for such problems, a substance abuse specialist should conduct a thorough assessment. Other assess­ments should identify youths’ risks, needs and assets.
  • Justice professionals should develop an individualized case plan for each youth.
  • Professionals should match interventions with a youth’s needs and assets. Youth’s progress and participation in programs should be monitored.
  • Family and social networks must support youth.
  • Youth should receive swift and certain sanctions for noncompliance with supervision conditions but should also receive positive reinforcement for constructive behaviors.

Florida Case Stokes Debate About Juvenile Justice and More; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Florida Case Stokes Debate About Juvenile Justice (Wall Street Journal Law Blog)
    In Florida, a 13-year-old boy is being accused of killing one of his younger brothers and sexually-abusing a half-brother, stoking a debate there about how courts should handle juveniles charged with violent crimes, according to a story by the Associated Press.
  • Judge Changes Plea Deal after teen Tweets Displeasure (
    A teen's determination leads to changes in a plea deal in a sexual assault case. The judge who opened up her juvenile courtroom to the public after a Savannah Deitrich tweeted about the case announced changes late Friday afternoon.
  • Senator Durbin Announces More Than $5.6 Million In DOJ Funding To Enhance Illinois Justice Programs (
    U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently awarded a total of $5,671,165 in grants to support the establishment or enhancement of several justice system programs in Illinois. These programs provide support and services to a number of Illinois communities through research and education initiatives, as well as legal assistance and support services.
  • Solutions Sought for Disparity Among Shelby County's Youth in Juvenile Court System (The Commercial Appeal)
    It's not clear why the percentage of African-American youths referred to the juvenile court system in Shelby County Tennessee is 3.4 times the rate for white juveniles. Do they commit more crimes? Or does the way police apply their discretionary powers play a role?