Blog: Wisconsin

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

opportunityBelow you'll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance use and teen mental health areas. We encourage you to browse and to post!

Targeted Treatment for Rural Wisconsin Teens

A common misconception that befalls some stakeholders in the effort to increase targeted, effective treatment or placements for nonviolent juvenile offenders is that such treatment is not available outside of urban settings or larger cities.
The Village of Oconomowoc Lake, Wisconsin, pop. 595, proves that misconception may not hold true for much longer.
At a recent meeting of the Village’s Municipal Court officials, representatives of a substance abuse program described how substance abuse could be a far more effective deterrent for youths charged with drinking offenses or very minor drug offenses.
Currently, those youths are usually just given a fine, often paid by their parents, and nothing is done to curb the underlying drug or alcohol issues.
Instead, juveniles could be placed in an addiction and education and counseling class, a portion of which involves the family. This alternative meets the rubric for an effective intervention for juveniles: targeted, tailored treatment of underlying issues and familial involvement.

Wisconsin Seeking Juvenile Justice Reform Recommendations

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's Juvenile Justice Commission is seeking concept papers for evidence-based and collaborative initiatives that will improve their local juvenile justice systems. Specifically, their funding priorities are:

  • Juvenile justice system improvement in the area of disproportionate minority contact
  • Juvenile justice system improvement in the area of maintaining compliance with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
  • Juvenile justice system improvement by enhancing capacity-building at the state and local levels
  • Juvenile justice system improvement in the area of data collections/information-sharing at the state and local levels

Examples of initiatives that may be funded include:

Coordinating Case Files in Milwaukee

Juveniles slipping through the cracks and missing out on opportunities that could curb their delinquency plague every jurisdiction in the country. This cohort of juveniles is often most at risk for recidivism, giving Milwaukee officials good reason to attempt to nip the cycle in the bud.
Milwaukee’s police department, prosecutors, criminal justice officials, and even school and health and human service agency representatives are meeting up and sharing the information they have on a select number of juveniles in Milwaukee at highest risk for continued delinquency issues.
Sharing the information, the group hopes, will ensure that key data and underlying issues are not overlooked by any one of the agencies. Sometimes it’s the little things—such as information regarding a substance abuse issue known to the schools but not to the prosecutors—that can play a major role in curbing delinquency.

Measuring Milwaukee County Juvenile Justice Recidivism

To what should Milwaukee County attribute its declining adult and juvenile detention population? This question took shape in a research brief published a year ago by the Public Policy Forum, entitled Milwaukee County Detainee Populations at Historic Lows: Why is it happening and what does it mean? In that report, the Forum urged county law enforcement officials and policymakers to consider whether justice system policies that may have contributed to the decline were effective and should be sustained.
Milwaukee County’s Delinquency and Court Services Division (DCSD) asked the Forum to help in making that assessment for the array of services it offers to youth in the juvenile justice system. Success in curbing repeat delinquent behavior can have impacts into adulthood, making the juvenile justice system one critical piece in efforts to control crime and its related costs.
The most common way to assess the success of juvenile delinquency programming is to measure the extent to which participants commit additional crimes, otherwise known as recidivism. However, the best approach to defining a recidivistic event is not always clear cut, with many variations seen nationally.
The Forum’s newest research brief reviews the manner in which DCSD defines recidivism and its progress in reducing it. The following points summarize our findings: