A white board with a giant illustration of the human brain sat in the middle of the room, a constant reminder, participants said, that any real attempts to treat juvenile offenders begins not with detention or tough love, but with science.
A growing body of research, including work published here, documents harms of what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Evidence shows that compared to 20 or more years ago, contemporary schools are more likely to suspend students — particularly students of color — out of school for minor misbehaviors.
The federal government’s attempts to bring consistency and standards to public education across the country have often clashed with the reality facing educators trying to meet those standards. The challenge is even greater for those working with teens locked behind bars or struggling to deal with years of physical and emotional trauma.
TBI is approximately three times more likely to occur within youth in the juvenile justice system relative to their nondelinquent peers. Therefore, we make an urgent call to action to all practitioners across the juvenile justice system to focus on TBI with evidence-driven assessment tools and interventions.
According to the professionals attending the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative's 25th anniversary celebration in Orlando, Florida, initiating positive, developed relationships with youth in the justice system requires patience, tenacity and understanding.
For prevention to succeed, those directly affected by violence, as well as those who serve them directly, must be the leaders at the table. Community members are the experts on the structural struggles and needs of their own neighborhoods. We have to ask what they need — and, even more importantly, actually listen to their answers.
"In Caddo Parish, in Shreveport, Louisiana, four out of five kids don't come back [to juvenile court]," said Henry Walker of Caddo Parrish Juvenile Services. "The one of out of five who do come back, come back constantly."
According to Walker, the youth who do avoid regular run-ins with the law do so because they have mentors.
At the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative's April 2017 convening in Orlando, Florida, youth workers reflect on the proactive impact mentors can have on the juveniles in the system.
Throughout the last year I’ve been back and forth between being free and being locked up. I know you weren’t there when I was a child, but you made an effort to be there in my later years.
You proved to me that you’re a good man and changed, now it’s my turn to prove to you that I’m not another juvenile statistic and I can change.
Amid the charts and tables of this year’s Kids Count Data Book is a stark warning.
The gains in children’s health, education and overall well-being since the last recession may be in jeopardy as “a huge failure of public and political will” saps support for policies that have helped produce those results, the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation states in its annual compilation of child-welfare statistics.
As we moved away from the “crimequake” of the ’90s and watched the juvenile crime rate fall, the fear that once pushed us off the slippery slope and into a lock ’em up frenzy was replaced by evidence-informed policymaking that emphasizes community-based solutions.
While it might not be productive to try to rank youth employment stakeholders by their importance, there’s no doubt that funders are essential, if not critical, to the success of any youth employment venture. But working effectively with them, unlike some other stakeholders, is a skill area that leaves little room for error.