What We’re Here For: The Role and Purpose of Juvenile Detention in the 21st Century

Across the nation, perspectives on juvenile detention are changing. Several experts share how they believe modern juvenile justice is implementing more rehabilitative models and what the ultimate dividends may be for both young people and U.S. society as a whole
Mike Rollins, executive director of Coosa Valley Youth Services (CVYS) in Anniston, Ala., has been at the facility for more than 30 years. His experiences, however, aren’t just limited to working there. At 17, Rollins walked into CVYS for the first time. “I was engaged in drug use,” Rollins said.

A Look at Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

A report released this month takes an in-depth look at how girls are represented in North Carolina’s juvenile justice system, how the numbers have shifted over the years and why females are the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice system despite the overall decrease in juvenile crime. Representing Girls In the Juvenile Justice System, released by the North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender, looks at not only the characteristics and risk factors of girls in the juvenile justice system, but also offers several best practices to best serve the unique issues this population faces. Since the early 1990s, due to policy changes, the number of girls in the juvenile justice system has been on the rise. Basically, the increased amount of girls in the juvenile justice system can be credited to the “relabeling of girls’ family conflicts as violent offenses, shifting police practices concerning domestic violence, processing of misdemeanor cases in a gender-biased manner and a misunderstanding of girls’ developmental issues,” according to the report. Currently, it’s estimated that girls make up 30% of youth arrested and 24% of youth serving time in detention centers. Studies show that girls are more likely than boys to be placed in these centers for less serious offenses.

Juvenile Justice in New Orleans: LGBT issues, School-to-Prison Pipeline and More

On March 22nd, 2012, The Lens welcomed five panelists and over 100 attendees to its third salon at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center, which focused on the status of the juvenile justice system in the New Orleans area. Panelists were queried by the moderator on issues surrounding the new French Quarter youth curfew, LGBTQ youth issues in juvenile facilities, the rebuilding of the Youth Studies Center, the school to prison pipeline, and the New Orleans Parish Prison. Audience members were then invited to pose their own questions to the panel. Panelists:

Dana Kaplan – Executive Director of Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana
Wes Ware – Founder & Director of BreakOUT! Michael Bradley – Deputy Chief District Defender at Orleans Public Defenders
Eden Heilman – Senior Staff Attorney at Southern Poverty Law Center
Alison McCrary – Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow at Safe Streets/Strong Communities
This panel was one in a series of events held by The Lens to engage readers and New Orleans stakeholders on current issues.

Reclaiming Future’s JMATE Updates and Live Blog

Our friends at Reclaiming Futures have settled in at the Joint Meeting of Adolescent Treatment Effiectiveness (JMATE) and have been live blogging the whole thing on their blog. Read on for all the updates. DAY ONE

JMATE 2012: Ask a Judge: Demystifying Juvenile Court and How Judges and Treatment Providers Can Partner Together Successfully by Liz Wu

Earlier this afternoon, I sat in on a JMATE panel with three judges who discussed how Reclaiming Futures works in their courts and why other courts should consider implementing the model. Judge Capizzi of Dayton, Ohio, began the presentation with the problem: too many teens today are struggling with drugs, alcohol and crime. Eighty percent of the youth Judge Capizzi sees have alcohol or other drug problems and many are self medicating.

Funding Opportunity: Become a Reclaiming Futures Site

Reclaiming Futures announced that the DOJ, OJP and OJJDP are seeking applications for $1.325 million in funding (over 4 years) to spread and implement the Reclaiming Futures model. More specifically, grants will be given to build the capacity of states, courts, local governments and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish Reclaiming Futures’ juvenile drug courts. From the request for proposals:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is pleased to announce that it is seeking applications for funding under the FY 2012 Juvenile Drug Courts/Reclaiming Futures program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by building the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and establish juvenile drug courts for substance abusing juvenile offenders. For more information and to apply, please click here. The deadline to apply is May 16, 2012, at 11:59 ET.

New Financing Tool for Social Programs Opens Doors for Juvenile Justice

This story originally appeared on Reclaiming Futures. Identifying the best programs for solving serious social problems is challenging for governments in the best of times, and all the more so in a constrained fiscal environment where every dollar must count. This is particularly true in areas like juvenile justice where the most effective interventions may involve combining approaches that governments currently support through separate funding streams—and where politicians’ personal views may steer disproportionate amounts of funds to programs that sound good on paper but don’t deliver results. But an innovative new financing tool called Social Impact Bonds may help solve some of these challenges. Social Impact Bonds, or SIBs, take traditional government funding structures and turn them on their head.

Reclaiming Futures Updates Model for Teen Recovery

Reclaiming Futures’ six-step model for helping young people who are struggling with alcohol, drugs and crime is receiving an update. The program began in 10 communities in 2001 with a $21 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The mission was to reinvent how juvenile courts, police, and communities work together in the interests of young people. The six steps in the Reclaiming Futures model were “initial screening,” “initial assessment,” “service coordination,” “initiation,” “engagement” and “transition.” Previously, the final step in the program had been called “completion,” but according to Susan Richardson, Reclaiming Futures’ national executive director, the name wasn’t complete. Writing on the Reclaiming Futures website, Richardson said completion “is an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate term for the complex work of transitioning out of ‘systems’ and into successful community life.”

Transition, she writes, more accurately portrays the “representative and interactive phase of transitioning youth to life outside of the justice system.”

Currently, the Reclaiming Futures model is used in 29 communities across the country.

Free Webinar Focuses on “Above the Influence” Toolkit

Reclaiming Futures will host a free webinar Wednesday, December 14 on the “Above the Influence” campaign that helps kids avoid negative peer pressure. The webinar kicks off at 2 p.m. EST and focuses on the “Above the Influence” toolkit. The program will be followed by a Q&A session featuring Mark Krawczyk of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Sandy Olsen and Kay Crocket, both from the Coalition of Behavioral Health Services in Houston. The “Above the Influence” campaign was created by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a program of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, with the goal of helping teens stand up to the pressure to drink or do drugs.  

Juvenile Justice System: Alisa’s Story

I’m from a small town in Missouri. It all started when I was 13. I started rebelling, and I ended up stealing my dad’s car. I then got put in juvenile. Two weeks after being on probation for that, I stole another car…

Shay Bilchik and Leah Kane On the National Reentry Resource Center’s Juvenile Justice FAQ’s

The National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), a project of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, recently published a list of frequently asked questions and answers on juvenile justice and reentry. As many as 100,000 youth under the age of 18 are released from juvenile correctional facilities every year. These young people often return to their communities with complex needs, such as physical and behavioral health issues and barriers to education and employment. The FAQ provides information on:

the organization of the juvenile justice system and its impact on reentry;
the characteristics of youth committed to out-of-home placement;
the challenges many youth face as they return from placement;
and the policies and practices that are key to successful reentry. Here’s just a few of the questions answered by the FAQ:

How is the juvenile justice system organized, and what does the organization of the system mean for juvenile reentry?