How the U.S. Can and Should Greatly Reduce Mass Probation

As America grapples with its overreliance on incarceration and advocates call for the end of mass incarceration, we must also focus on reducing all criminal justice involvement, including probation.

States Show Some Progress 2 Years After Kalief Browder’s Death

Today, June 6,, 2017, marks the two-year anniversary of the devastating loss of Kalief Browder. Kalief was a 22-year-old whose traumatic and deeply unjust contact with the adult criminal justice system when he was only 16 changed the course of his life forever.

The Curse of Custody: Enduring Incarceration

Some of the most gifted educators in the field are found inside. The constraints of detention, maintaining safety and security, educating explosive learners and finding probation staff who care about the kids summon a forbearing heart, a steadfast spirit and a giant toolbox of educational strategies. Our students commonly come to us with high hopes, with substandard school histories and with bruised regard; our duty is to deliver.

Don’t Be Traumatized by Trauma

I openly admit that transitioning from avoiding the trauma issue to becoming a trauma-informed and responsive organization wasn’t easy, but the value of that transformation is facilitating better outcomes for the children we serve. If we as service providers don’t take the trauma issue straight on, we are doing the children who are counting on us for help a disservice.

Marie Williams

We Need to Address Mental, Behavioral Health in Kids Who Land in Justice System

Most juvenile detention facilities and out-of-home placements are still not conducive to treatment of kids with trauma, and those with mental and behavioral health needs.
My friend Judge Joan Byer, retired from the Jefferson County, Kentucky juvenile bench, described the overarching goal this way: “We need to move closer toward a juvenile justice system that stops punishing kids who have had punishing lives.”

Tight Budgets Accomplish for Juvenile Justice What Fighting Fear Could Not

Today's reformers have taken a different approach to defend against those who use fear as a political tool to quash the trend of de-incarceration.
Reformers are creating a network of reforms that are so intertwined they can withstand getting “clobbered” again.

Why Juvenile Justice Reform Needs Child Welfare at the Table

While immersed in child protection work, it never occurred to me that preventing delinquency was also a part of my job.
When I paused to listen to the stories of young adults who were charged as youth, I realized how doors to graduation, employment and stable housing were shut for them because of decisions they made as a child. When I read the research on trauma and understood how it manifests in delinquent behaviors, and how juvenile justice involvement can exacerbate the trauma, I recognized the harm that can be done within that system.

Conference Showed How Field Is Building on Progress in Youth-Serving Field

Earlier this year, we urged the Trump administration to continue federal investments in juvenile justice. In the last three decades, the field has benefited greatly from federal support of research, innovative programming and evidence-based approaches designed to improve outcomes for youth, families and communities.