10 Twitter Accounts to Follow for Juvenile Justice News

To stay up to date on juvenile justice news, consider using Twitter. There are several accounts twitter
that will keep you up to date on all the news and events you need to know about!

Here are ten of the best, most informative accounts for juvenile justice news:

  1. @JJIE: The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange is the only U.S publication that features daily coverage of juvenile justice and related issues around the nation.
  2. @JusticeforYouth: The Campaign for Youth Justice advocates for juvenile justice reform by providing support to federal, state, and local campaigns.
  3. @JusticeReform: The Justice Fellowship works to reform the criminal justice system so communities are safer, victims are respected and offenders are transformed.
  4. @JuvenileCrime: The Global Youth Justice Organization are “juvenile crime champions” that work to prevent the escalation of juvenile crime and incarceration rates around the world by advancing the global expansion of quality youth justice and juvenile justice diversions programs.
  5. @SentencingProj: The Sentencing Project has been working for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system since 1986.
  6. @JuvLaw1975: The Juvenile Law Center is a nonprofit law firm working nationally to shape and use the law on behalf of children in the child welfare and justice systems.
  7. @AntiRecidivism: The Anti-Recidivism Coalition strives to improve outcomes of formerly incarcerated individuals and build healthier communities. ARC is a support network and advocate for fair and just policy.
  8. @NCJFCJ: The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges works to ensure justice for every family and every child in every court throughout this country.
  9. @VeraInstitute: The Vera Institute of Justice focuses on making justice systems fairer and more effective through research and innovation.
  10. @CourtInnovation: Center for Court Innovation is a nonprofit that helps courts and criminal justice agencies aid victims, reduce crime, and improve public trust in justice.

And don't forget to follow Reclaiming Futures!

OJJDP and NIJ Release New Bulletin in Justice Research Series; and more - News Roundup

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  • OJJDP and NIJ Release New Bulletin in Justice Research Series (U.S Department of Justice)  OJJDP and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) have jointly released “Changing Lives: Prevention and Intervention to Reduce Serious Offending,” part of the Justice Research series. This bulletin reviews effective programs that mitigate risk factors for delinquency and crime among juveniles and young adults to prevent future serious criminal behavior. These programs are grouped by family, school, peers and community, individual, and employment. This bulletin summarizes the final report from the NIJ Study Group on the Transitions From Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Crime.
  • Savannah-Chatham Police Partnering With State To Search For Signs Of Gangs ( Savannah-Chatham police are joining forces with gang experts from the State of Georgia to assess possible gang-related activity in the city.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Physical Fitness Helps Young Adolescents Avert Depression (Science World Report) The researchers at the University of North Texas conducted a survey on 437 students from six middle schools in a metropolitan county in North Texas. Out of the total, 55 percent were girls. Based on the survey, they found that physically-fit sixth-graders were less likely to report feeling depressed on being promoted to the seventh grade.
  • Addiction and Health Consequences Increase as Synthetic Marijuana Use Grows ( A growing and concerning number of individuals are seeking help for the effects of synthetic marijuana, also more commonly known as "K2". Once marketed as providing a "legal high," synthetic marijuana underwent a national ban in July of 2012. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, between January and June of this year, 795 cases of synthetic marijuana exposures have already been reported to poison centers. Overall, the ban has reduced the number of incidents reported, but as the drug appears in certain regions like Illinois, health consequences are experienced in the community.

Watch: PBS Documentary “15 to Life”

A new PBS Documentary “15 to Life” takes a close look at one man’s story to combat his life sentence after being convicted at age 15. Though Kenneth Young was convicted more than a decade ago for armed robbery, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled four years ago that a life in prison sentence without parole for a juvenile offender in a non-homicide case was unconstitutional.

The documentary follows Young’s journey to secure a resentencing under the Supreme Court ruling, addressing along the way his developments in maturity and education gained in prison.

"I'm not sure if Kenneth Young knew the consequences, quite frankly, at that time. At that age, they really don't," explains interviewee and chief of the Pinellas County sheriff's office.

Not only does the story bring to light current issues around juvenile courts and impact on life sentences, it reinforces the need to provide treatment services and community support to at-risk youths early on to prevent more stories like Young’s.

Watch the documentary and share your thoughts below.

CSG Justice Center Newly Released Publications Spark Juvenile Justice Reform Efforts

RFpost8imageThe Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released two publications that offer state and local governments recommendations to improve outcomes for youth impacted by the juvenile justice system:

The first publication Measuring and Using Juvenile Recidivism Data to Inform Policy, Practice, and Resource Allocation surveyed 50 juvenile correctional agencies, resulting in the following eye-opening information:

  • 20 percent of the agencies do not track the rates of youth reoffending.
  • Of the 39 states that do track recidivism, most consider only one type of contact with the system and do not track if the youth are later incarcerated in the adult system.

The second publication Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System provides guiding principles and recommendations ranging from engaging family in decisions regarding a child, to moving away from curfew laws and “scared straight” tactics. The document also covers concrete examples of states that have succeeded by employing these proposed strategies.

Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System; and more - News Roundup

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  • Juvenile Justice White Paper: Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System (The Council of State Governments Justice Center)

    This white paper was written to guide leaders across all branches of government; juvenile justice system administrators, managers, and front-line staff; and researchers, advocates, and other stakeholders on how to better leverage existing research and resources to facilitate system improvements that reduce recidivism and improve other outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The focus of the white paper is to promote what works to support successful reentry for youth who are under juvenile justice system supervision. To help advance this goal, this white paper does the following:

    Part One distills and synthesizes the research on what works to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system into four core principles. The discussion of each principle includes the latest research supporting the importance of the principle accompanied by specific policy, practice, and resource-allocation recommendations, which when taken together, offers the potential for significant recidivism reductions and improvements in other youth outcomes. It also provides examples illustrating how state and local juvenile justice officials have established particular policies and system interventions to implement these principles.
    Recognizing that improved outcomes are possible only when research on what works is implemented with fidelity, Part Two details lessons learned from research and practice on how to implement the principles effectively, and provides examples of how state and local juvenile justice systems have operationalized the principles in practice.

  • Double Charged: The True Cost of Juvenile Justice (Youth Radio)  An interactive resource exploring the true cost of the juvenile justice system. Each year, almost 1.5 million teens, many of them low-income, are arrested in the United States. Compared to ten years ago, fewer of these young people end up incarcerated due to cost-saving measures at the county level, but what impact do those measures have on minors and their families? In a yearlong investigation, Youth Radio tracked two new trends – teen GPS ankle monitoring and making parents pay for their kids’ jail time and probation.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Topics: News

End the Culture of Violence and Trauma: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Wants Your Ideas

Trauma and Resilience

The Juvenile Law Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a report Trauma and Resilience that illustrates how systems and services can help children and families overcome the trauma they encounter.

The rates of trauma are especially high for youth in juvenile justice and child welfare systems. This report not only addresses how to support these children, but also how these systems can expand to recognize that a child is not defined solely by the trauma they have experienced, and provide proactive approaches that strengthen and build resilience.

The report’s authors and Foundation staff are hosting an online discussion to learn ideas, organizations, models and research around this topic that could inform the Foundation’s funding strategies in the future.

Please join in on the conversation and contribute your perspective.

New Study Identifies Text Messaging as an Alcohol Prevention Tactic Among Teens

textingA recent study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine has identified text messaging as an effective strategy for reducing levels of harmful drinking among teens.

The 12-week study, A Text Message Alcohol Intervention for Young Adult Emergency Department Patients, observed more than 700 young adults with a hazardous drinking history and a recent emergency room visit. The study participants were organized into three groups:

  • Texted questions
  • Texted questions with feedback
  • Control group (no texted questions)

The researchers found that teens who received texted questions about their drinking—along with feedback on their replies via text—reduced their self-reported drinks per day by 31 percent. These individuals also decreased self-reported binge drinking days by 51 percent.

Groups that received no texts or no texted questions with feedback each experienced more binge drinking days.

The feedback received by the group whose drinking was reduced included these main outcomes:

  • A strengthened low-risk drinking plan
  • Reflection on an existing low-risk plan or a prior decision not to have one

Strategies from the Field to Keep Students Engaged in School and Out of the Juvenile Justice System; and more - News Roundup

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  • Julia Steiny: Juvenile Justice Is Not Only Blind, But Deaf (Education News) Sometimes achieving Justice is as simple as listening until the victim feels heard. Increasingly, the formal legal system has taken responsibility for conflict management out of the hands of ordinary people. The restorative justice movement is particularly critical of how the traditional justice system sidelines crime victims almost entirely.

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Recapping the 2014 Georgetown Training Institutes (Reclaiming Futures) This year the conference theme was, “Improving Children’s Mental Health Care in an Era of Change, Challenge and Innovation: The Role of the System of Care Approach” with an estimated attendance of 2,000. Reclaiming Futures' Cora Crary shares her key takeaways.
  • Teens Lack Options in Substance Abuse Treatment (The Fix) Though billions of state and federal dollars are poured into substance use and addiction every year, parents seeking treatment for adolescents are often left without many options.
  • Questions to Ask Treatment Programs (Partnership for Drug Free Kids) This list of questions can help guide your conversation with drug and alcohol treatment program staff to help you decide which program is the best fit for your child and family. Download this and many more resources.

The Emotional State of Poverty: A Powerful Photo Essay

Last week, published a powerful photo essay illustrating the emotional state of poverty in Troy, NY.

You may be thinking, “What does the emotional state of poverty mean?”

Photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally captured this in her visual narrative featured on As a native of Troy who struggled with teen pregnancy, drugs and an unstable living environment, Kenneally returned to her hometown after getting sober and studying photojournalism to capture what she experienced as an emotional state of poverty. She explains,

“Poverty is an emotional (rather than simply) physical state with layers of marginalization that cements those who live under them into place.”

We often see this emotional marginalization in at-risk teens, which can propel the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime. To minimize this impact, Reclaiming Futures sites implement several programs to ensure teens feel supported. A few examples are:

  • Mentors and natural helpers who are matched with young people with similar interests
  • Promising Artists in Recovery program (PAIR), which is a series of workshops for teens to exercise creative outlets
  • Internships and job shadowing in partnership with community stakeholders

Through community partnerships and creative outlets, we can ensure that more at-risk youths feel supported, motivated and not alone.

Recapping the 2014 Georgetown Training Institutes

National HarborLast week I traveled to National Harbor, Maryland to attend the 2014 Georgetown University Training Institutes on improving services and supports for children, adolescents, and young adults with or at risk for mental health challenges and their families, along with Reclaiming Futures Fellowship Program Manager, Christa Myers.

This year the conference theme was, “Improving Children’s Mental Health Care in an Era of Change, Challenge and Innovation: The Role of the System of Care Approach” with an estimated attendance of 2,000. Below are my key takeaways.

The Youth Movement Has Arrived

Youth MOVE arrivesThere was a great youth track at the conference – and more often than not you could hear fellow attendees in the hallways saying that these sessions were better than any others they had attended.

Youth MOVE Rockstar AwardsBoth Youth M.O.V.E. National and local Youth M.O.V.E. chapters were well represented, along with many other youth organizations from around the country.  On Thursday night the 2014 recipients of the Youth MOVE Rockstar Awards were announced. The recipients were:

  • Niketa Currie, Youth M.O.V.E. North Carolina was named the 2014 Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate
  • Dr. JoAnne Malloy,  Institute On Disabilties was named the 2014 Dr. Gary M. Blau Professional of the Year
  • The Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children was named the 2014 Youth Guided Organizational Rockstar
  • Bruce Brumfield, Center for Community Alternatives was named the 2014 Marlene Matarese Advocate for Youth was named the 2014
  • Youth M.O.V.E. Miami was named the 2014 National Chapter
  • Gregory Foster was given the first ever Honorary Rockstar award for his continued dedication to youth and young adults who struggle with poverty and behavioral health needs.

And a special shout out to Youth M.O.V.E. Saginaw for contributing the soundtrack.


The Power of Storytelling
Homeboy Industries at Georgetown InstitutesStorytelling is critical for organizations dealing with complex issues. The Power of Story Telling: Digital Voices in a Digital Age was a special presentation on the first day of the conference. This session showcased first person narrative video stories by youth from Washington state’s Youth N Action.  

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 abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!




New Study Provides Insight Into Early Indicators of Alcohol Misuse Among Teens

teendrinkingFindings of a recent study published in Natureclaim that it is possible to predict which teens will likely become binge drinkers. The study, “Neuropsychosocial Profiles of Current and Future Adolescent Alcohol Misusers,” found that several factors can help predict future substance abuse:

  • Genetics
  • Brain function
  • Personality traits
  • History

The researchers of the study took brain scans of about 700 14-year-olds from all over Europe and analyzed their personality traits, life experiences, genetics, and drinking habits. Two years later, the researchers followed up with the now 16-year-old teens and found that the above factors served as indicators of future unhealthy drinking habits.

These results lead researchers to believe they may be able to develop a tool to accurately predict who is prone to abusing alcohol—knowledge that will allow them to better help people avoid addiction.

Hugh Garavan, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and the study's senior author, says more research is need before a tool like this can be created.

“Still, this does bring us one step closer to understanding the roots of addiction,” Garavan said.

The researchers will continue to check in with the teenagers of the study to monitor their drinking habits. The participants of this study were all white European teenagers, thus further research will likely be focused on different ethnic groups.

There’s Still Time to Upgrade Your Juvenile Drug Court; News Roundup

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  • From Prison to Politics: Prophet Walker’s Journey (JJIE)
    “When I walked in to Ironwood and they called my name to go up to speak, the entire place erupted with people screaming and cheering,” former inmate--and now candidate for state office--Prophet Walker recounts. “When I walked away, people were saying that I had inspired them. These are people who have life sentences and to have them say I inspired them was great. It was really moving.”

Topics: News

Webinar: Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform

VeraVera Institute of Justice’s Center on Youth Justice will host a one-hour, free webinar on July 29 to outline the third module of its Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform -- a four-step guide to activating community-rooted solutions for troubled youth.

Like Reclaiming Futures, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice works with policymakers and practitioners to reduce the number of youths entering the justice system, turning instead to a community-based and family-focused approach. Youths who have committed status offenses, such as running away from home, skipping school or alcohol consumption, are most at-risk for entering the juvenile court and subject to entering detention centers.

This toolkit can help change this. This useful webinar will outline the third module in the toolkit: Planning and Implementing Status Offense System Change. We’ll also hear two case studies of successful system reform from two jurisdictions — Connecticut and Campbell County, KY— that will identify potential roadblocks and how to overcome them.

If you missed part one and two of the series, read up on previous modules in the toolkit:

Register here.


Reflections from the “Ensuring Positive Futures and Academic Success” Summit

On June 10, 2014, I had the honor and privilege to be invited to present at an invitation only summit focused on “Ensuring Positive Futures and Academic Success: Student Substance Use and Educational Success” hosted by Acting Director Michael Botticelli and Deputy Director David Mineta, of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Executive Office of the President, and Deborah S. Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, United States Department of Education.

ONDCP SummitThis day long event was held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington D.C. Additional guests engaging in this national debate included leaders from OJJDP, SAMHSA, NIDA, ACF, NIH, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, legislative aids, researchers, and many others from around the nation, including Reclaiming Futures National Executive Director, Susan Richardson.

The story I shared was about Hardin County and how the Reclaiming Futures six-step model is integrated into our work system wide. Our story is about intentionally transforming our local juvenile justice system to go way beyond probation supervision and accountability.

The court has implemented validated screening and assessment tools, evidence based treatment models, brought a school on site, and cross-trained staff so everyone (academics, treatment, probation, and judge) speaks the same language.

Some of our best assets are community engagement and stakeholder development. Our local university provides student teachers to help our students with their academic deficiencies, interns to work with our justice kids, and faculty and staff helping with evaluation and support. Our community stakeholders provide internships, job shadowing possibilities, health education, financial literacy education, and financial support (donations and event support).

During my presentation at the summit I shared G.A.I.N. data showing a significant reduction in substance use among our justice kids. This data shows:

  • Our justice kids have gone from substance use of 14 or more days per 90 days to 80% who are no longer using at 12 months post intake,
  • Those who are still using are using less than once a week, and
  • The risk level for continued illegal activity among our justice kids has dropped from mid-high to low.

More Treatment…Better Treatment…Beyond Treatment is the best way to explain the results.

The Story of “Jane Doe:" A Claim for Rehabilitation, Not Incarceration

janedoeimageAlmost 70,000 teens are incarcerated on any given day. Among incarcerated young girls with a life sentence, 77 percent have reported sexual abuse. Author Nicholas Kristof gives insight into this issue in a recent New York Times article, referencing the story of “Jane Doe” who has spent her life in and out of the juvenile justice system.

Both at home and in the juvenile system, Jane suffered years of sexual abuse and violence. After two months of isolation in an adult prison, Jane was moved to a girls’ detention center in Middletown, Conn., with the goal to provide her care that will ideally lead to placement in a loving foster-care family, which is what those around her know she needs:

“All I wanted was someone to tell me they loved me, that everything would be all right,” Jane says in the affidavit. “But that never happened.”

Kristof emphasizes that Jane’s story is a prime example of a larger issue within the juvenile justice system:

“We systematically over-rely on the criminal justice toolbox to deal with youths, rather than on social services or education. The United States incarcerates children at a rate that is 10 or 20 times higher than in some other industrial countries.”

Kristof, among other experts, believe stories like Jane’s can be prevented through programs that provide stability, education and safety to at-risk children from a young age. Programs that focus on rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Programs like Reclaiming Futures.

Team Sports Help Lower Stress and Depression Among Teens; News Roundup

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  • Juvenile Justice Reforms Prominent in New Bill by U.S. Senators Booker and Paul (JJIE)
    Two first-term senators from opposite sides of the aisle introduced legislation Tuesday banning the use of juvenile solitary confinement in federal facilities, along with several other reforms that would impact juveniles offenders.
  • Natalie Kato: Reform for Juvenile Sentencing (Tallahassee Democrat)
    By requiring that most kids under 18 sentenced to 25 years or longer for murder receive a review of their sentences, the bill effectively halts one of the state of Florida's ugliest criminal justice practices: the sentencing of children to spend the rest of their lives in prison with no hope of release.
  • Counseling Should Be a Part of Any Juvenile Crime Reforms (Chicago Sun-Times)
    "If poor people don’t have opportunity, don’t have hope, don’t have a future, they are going to lash out. If they only have baseball bats, they would be using those. This is about racism, classism and oppression and oppressed people boil over,” said William Sampson, chairperson of the Public Policy Studies Department at DePaul University.

Topics: News