Within the scope of juvenile justice literature, studies highlight the need for both immediate and long-term reform measures. This is clearly pertinent given the existence of racial disparity in terms of treatment and confinement among youth in the United States. In fact, federal and state-level funding has been provided to address this dilemma during the past 10 to 15 years.
James Bell, founder and president of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, told a gathering of juvenile justice reformers that it was time to begin “an uncomfortable” conversation about racial disparities in the youth justice system.
Parents can present an enigmatic force in juvenile justice--they can play a positive role in the rehabilitative process or be obstructive. I have found through the years that a vast majority of parents are concerned about their child. Some do well advocating, but most do not know how--or are afraid to speak up. The key to reducing recidivism is providing essential protective buffers to resist those criminogenic factors. Studies show that family function is the greatest protective buffer against delinquency.
Bart Lubow, who has been working for more than 20 years to reduce the number of youth being sent to detention centers, told a gathering of 700 attendees at the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) conference in Houston last week that now, “may prove to be a unique moment in juvenile justice history, a time when, as a nation, we shed some of the system’s worst baggage - including our unnecessary and often inappropriate reliance on secure confinement” of youth. Center for Sustainable Journalism Executive Director Leonard Witt, publisher of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and Youth Today, caught up with Lubow to get his take on JDAI initiatives that have expanded to 38 states across the country and become the most widely replicated juvenile justice system reform project in the nation. Learn more about Bart Lubow, Director of Juvenile Justice Strategy for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Two years ago Eric Claros, 17, was barreling headfirst on a path of self-destruction. When he wasn’t skipping school or getting high smoking marijuana, he was breaking into homes with his friends just for the heck of it. He eventually got arrested and spent some days in a local detention center outside of Atlanta. After his release, a probation violation eventually landed him in a program in Clayton County, a suburban community just south of the city. The Evening Reporting Center (ERC) is a juvenile court run alternative to incarceration program.