Focus on: Adolescent Brain Development

Explore JJIE’s coverage of adolescent brain development and how it relates to youth system involvement, substance use and families and communities.

In Rural Georgia, One County Emerges As a Leader in Keeping Juveniles Out of the Courtroom

COVINGTON, Ga. — This small community to the east of Atlanta isn’t necessarily the kind of locale one would associate with progressive juvenile justice policies. Yet here, deep in the rustic Georgian countryside, the local juvenile court has embraced an innovative model where keeping kids out of trouble, the courtroom and especially detention has become an utmost priority.

Nothing Cloudy About Sexual Abuse in the Georgia System

A recent JJIE article titled “In Georgia, Sex Abuse Allegations Cloud Progress of Juvenile Justice Reform” is a story of contradictions — in the midst of juvenile justice reform comes the federal report showing that Georgia has among the nation’s highest rates of sexual assaults in its secure juvenile facilities. The Atlanta Journal Constitution quoted my response — “distressing.” Although “distressing,” these allegations do not “cloud” the progress of juvenile justice reform — they underscore the reasons for reform. These stories aptly report “what” and provide some insight into “why” this distressing problem is occurring, but there is much more to the “why.” There is an elephant in the room — the misuse and overuse of secure detention facilities. George Bernard Shaw wrote that “All great truths begin as blasphemies,” and so, this is my blasphemy: We are making communities less safe by sending too many of the wrong kids to youth prison that turns them from the aggravating sort into the scary sort.

Amid Widespread Inaction on Evidence-Based Care for Troubled and Delinquent Youth, a Few States Get it Right

In a pair of feature stories published yesterday, (on Georgia’s reform efforts and issues and two young men in the system) JJIE described two modes of intensive at-home treatment that show great promise to improve outcomes for emotionally disturbed youth in the delinquency system, both of which cost far less than incarceration or treatment in a residential treatment center.