A report from the National Juvenile Justice Network finds that immigrant youth are being caught in the crosshairs of the justice system due to the increase in anti-immigration rhetoric in America. Supporting immigrant youth in communities has become increasingly difficult due to the cooperation of local and state governments with federal immigration law and an increase in local policies that fail to protect immigrant youth. NJJN reports that communities are failing to protect the privacy of immigrant youths’ school records and are failing to provide “trauma-informed, culturally and linguistically competent services” to immigrant youth (p. 1).
The report recommends policies that support and promote positive development in immigrant youth, regardless of immigration status. NJJN recommends that local jurisdictions and school officials do not cooperate with federal immigration policies, do not use gang databases, do not allow federal government access to youths’ school records without a warrant, reduce the use of school resource officers for disciplinary actions, avoid detaining youth, and ensure that immigrant youth in the justice system have access to legal counsel that can advise them of the immigration consequences of their case. If youth are involved in the justice system, the report recommends access to community-based alternatives that are culturally and linguistically relevant to their immigration status.
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has enacted a judicially led School-Justice Partnership initiative to promote collaboration between “schools, mental and behavioral health professionals, law enforcement, and juvenile justice officials” (p. 2) in their efforts to reduce school-based arrests and referrals to the juvenile justice system. The report finds that successful collaboration requires a system to collect and share accurate and complete data between agencies.
Effective data collection and management allows School-Justice Partnerships to investigate causes of referrals to juvenile court and to identify successful strategies for diverting youth from the justice system. The report identifies two types of data that are important for collection: individual and aggregate. Individual data is important for School-Justice Partnership programs to outline a plan of action for a specific youth. Aggregate data is critical to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies and programs. Overcoming obstacles to information sharing is critical to the process, and the report outlines ways for partners to obtain, share, and collaborate with the data collected.
See Evidence-Based Practices for more information.
A report published by the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice discusses the challenges faced by youth involved in both the child welfare and the juvenile justice systems. Dual-status youth are at an increased risk of exposure to adversity and trauma. The report outlines “the characteristics, demographic disparities, exposure to trauma, outcomes, and financial impact of dual-status and provides policy recommendations to support the healthy development of youth with dual-status better”(p. 8). The recommended policies must stem from the federal, state, and local levels in three different categories: cross-system collaboration, trauma-informed approaches, and technology and innovation improvements for furthering the success and prevention of involvement in the juvenile justice system of dual-status youth. Findings show policies that encourage increased access to coordinated health, behavioral health, and education services for dual-status youth can improve their future and help them have a healthy transition into adulthood.
See Dual Status Youth for more information.
Smart, Safe, and Fair: Strategies to Prevent Youth Violence, Heal Victims of Crime, and Reduce Racial Inequality
from a collaboration between the Justice Policy Institute and the National Center for Victims of Crime comes a report highlighting how community-based alternatives can help serve youth involved in violent and nonviolent crime. The report finds that youth are better served through community engagement than secure confinement and that victims and victims’ advocates do not equate accountability with confinement, but instead believe in principles of rehabilitation, victim safety, and the provision of ample services for both parties.
Current confinement practices are ineffective because they make inefficient use of resources, disproportionately impact youth of color, and rarely meet the needs of victims of crime. The report emphasizes that youth involved in criminal activity want policies that “meet the needs of youth, strengthen(s) families, and addresses the underlying causes of crime” (p. 18). The principles and policies in place to serve youth need to be consistent across communities, regardless of whether youth are confined or in a community program. The report stresses the need for positive youth justice and trauma-informed approaches, the provision of supportive and well-qualified staff, partnerships with families, and programming with a purpose for both confined and community youth. The report concludes with a discussion of ways to overcome the barriers that prevent greater use of community-based alternatives as well as the steps required to better meet the needs of crime victims.
from the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) addresses the long-standing history of inequitable treatment by the police in the U.S. against communities of color and youth in particular. The policy platform includes recent statistics about the “deeply unequal and fundamentally lethal treatment” youth of color experience from police and the judicial process more broadly. It outlines several factors that account for this including over-policing, racial profiling, implicit and explicit biases by police and society that cause police and courts to perceive youth of color as older and more culpable than their white peers. It further notes the lack of effective accountability for police mistreatment and brutality as a primary factor perpetuating these problems.
“Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities” from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyses the latest school discipline data (2013-14) from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Juvenile Justice Principles Work Group released its January 2018 report identifying 12 principles for effective juvenile justice policymaking. The report's principles and illustrative examples are intended to help states invest in proven methods of juvenile justice reform.
is a Technical Assistance Bulletin from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. It details the steps necessary to implement the School Responder Model which helps to keep kids with behavioral health needs from moving into the justice system.
GENDER & TRAUMA
Somatic Interventions for Girls in Juvenile Justice:
Implications for Policy and Practice
The Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality
works with policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and advocates across the country to develop effective policies and practices that alleviate poverty and inequality in the United States. Our Project on Marginalized Girls produces original research
and program and policy recommendations aimed at helping
improve health and education outcomes for low-income girls
and girls of color
Recommendations from the MacArthur Foundation's final year of its Models for Change Initiative.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning, and/or Gender Nonconforming and Transgender
Girls and Boys in the California Juvenile Justice System: A Practice Guide
Impact Justice and the National Center for Lesbian Rights developed this practice guide to support California probation departments in meeting their obligation to promote the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, and/or gender nonconforming and transgender (LGBQ/GNCT) youth in their care and custody.
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.