Recommendations from the MacArthur Foundation's final year of its Models for Change Initiative.
An Overview Of The Lessons Learned
“Increasing Public Safety and Improving Outcomes for Youth Through Juvenile Justice Reform,” by the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, recommends strategies for city-led juvenile justice reform that includes expanding high-quality community-based alternatives to arrest and prosecution and ensuring equitable access to these alternatives. You can also find it on the Hub under Community-Based Alternatives/Resources.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center report, “Closer to Home,” released in January 2015, studied the juvenile justice reforms Texas enacted from 2007-2011 aimed at reducing the confinement of youth and investing in community-based alternatives. The study found a 65 percent reduction in the state-secure youth population between 2007-2012, as well as a 33 percent decline in juvenile arrests. Read the full findings of the study here and you can also find it on the Hub under Community-Based Alternatives/Resources for Reform Trends. For the specific legislation discussed in the report, see the Legislative Strategies section of Community-Based Alternatives/Reform Trends/Alternatives to Secure Confinement.
“Delinquency Cases Waived to Criminal Court, 2011,” is a new report by the U.S. Dept. of Justice that looks at the number of juvenile delinquency cases judicially waived to criminal court between the years of 1985-2011. The report analyzes waiver trends by year, gender, age, and ethnicity. You can find it on the Hub under Racial-Ethnic Fairness/Resources for Reform Trends.
“Statewide Risk Assessment in Juvenile Probation” by the National Center for Juvenile Justice’s JJGPS (Juvenile Justice Geography, Policy, Practice & Statistics) discusses the role of validated risk/needs assessments in juvenile justice and provides data on the number of states adopting these tools as well as the types of tools adopted and ways in which they have been administered. You can find it on the Hub under Evidence-Based Practices/Resources.
The Vera Institute of Justice has released “A Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform” to provide guidance and tools to help stakeholders develop an approach for responding to and serving youth charged with status offenses in the community. The Toolkit can be found on the Hub at Community Based Alternatives/Resources.
“Black Teens Who Commit a Few Crimes Go to Jail as Often as White Teens Who Commit Dozens,” from The Washington Post, describes the stark differences in how black and white teenagers are treated by the juvenile justice system. You can find it on the Hub at Racial-Ethnic Fairness/Resources.
“Family-Driven Justice,” by Neelum Arya, argues that a family-driven justice style is needed to transform the juvenile justice system into a system that serves youth and families without sacrificing public safety. The article describes five features of what a transformed juvenile justice system would look like. You can find it on the Hub at Mental Health & Substance Use/Resources.
The Hudson County New Jersey Re-Entry Success Program run by Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) provides key re-entry services including case management, supported employment, educational and vocational support, and a program called Peaceful Alternatives to Tough Situations (PATTS). For more detailed information on this program click here and you can also find new information on it on the Hub in the Administrative Strategies section of Re-entry/Reform Trends/Addressing the Challenges of Re-Entering Youth/Improving Job Readiness.
“Legislative Reforms in Juvenile Detention and the Justice System,” from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), provides information on new state laws to help reduce youth secure pre-trial detention, reduce the length of stay in detention, and provide community-based alternatives to detention, as well as information on the cost savings of detention reform. You can find it on the Hub at Community-Based Alternatives/Resources for Reform Trends.
In this briefing paper, “Strengthening Youth Justice Practices with Developmental Knowledge and Principles,” Dr. Jeffrey A. Butts assesses the potential of the Positive Youth Justice model as a tool for strengthening reform of local youth justice practices. You can find it on the Hub at Evidence-Based Practices/Resources-Reform Trends.
The West Virginia legislature passed H.B. 2550, signed by Gov. Tomblin on March 26, 2015, which requires school-based interventions to be made before schools can refer youth to court for truancy. H.B. 2550 also doubles the number of absences required to trigger a court referral.
The Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change has a new resource package on trauma among youth in the juvenile justice system. It provides an overview of this issue, guidance on the benefits and challenges of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system, and critical resources.