One Man’s Journey Through Crime, Drugs, Schizophrenia and Rehabilitation

When Andrew Peterman of Idaho first came into the juvenile justice system at age 15, he did not know that schizophrenia was driving his anger, which in turn was resulting in arrests and illicit drug and alcohol usage. In time, thanks to juvenile detention and treatment for his schizophrenia he has been able to straighten out his life. In fact, he has come so far on his journey that the Coalition for Juvenile Justice awarded him the 2011 National CJJ Spirit of Youth Award to "recognize and celebrate a young adult...who has made great strides through involvement with the juvenile justice system, overcome personal obstacles and is today making significant contributions to society." In the video below by Leonard Witt, Peterman tells of his journey through crime, drugs, schizophrenia and rehabilitation. See the video time splits below.


Hornberger Advice: Juvenile Offenders Need Alternatives to Prisons

Nancy Gannon Hornberger, executive director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), says research shows that it is important to "keep the kids out of heavy duty lockup as much as possible." In this video interview conducted by Leonard Witt, she says "Reclaim Ohio" is a project that saves money and has better outcomes than the bars and chains approach. See subheads and time split guide below the video. Time splits to help guide you through the video:
Introduction 00:00
Conference theme: Developing sentencing alternatives to harsh punishment 00:30
Research shows that normal settings for sentences work best 01:20
Settings built on relationships is better than bars and chains 02:10
Reclaim Ohio is best practice example; cuts lockups and saves money 3:04

Op-Ed: Danielle Chapman Recaps Her Hard Fight Against OxyContin

Kyle’s journey is a clear representation of the life of an addicted teen. The pressure to fit in and be a part of something in high school is overwhelming and a popular and growing method of escape is drug-use. Coming from a Cobb County high school where drugs were everywhere, I can relate completely to Kyle’s struggles because I was also an OxyContin addict. I dealt with the same battles, guilt and remorse that come with drug addiction. Once I had starting using, I was powerless.


Life is a great adventure, but it’s not always easy. For all the joy, excitement and feelings of accomplishment we experience, there’s just as much sorrow, boredom and defeat. It’s like any journey. You know you can deal with the easy parts; the challenge is how to get through the bad times. The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange will start focusing on one aspect of those bad times in a few days when we profile Kyle Boyer, a teen from suburban Atlanta who went from a hopeless addiction to prescription drugs to recovery.

A Grant to Mentor Kids Released from Jail

Organizations that want to help the 94,000 kids in residential confinement within the juvenile justice system may be able to get the Second Chance Act Adult Mentoring Grant. The Second Chance Act of 2007 provides a response to kids being released from prison, jail and juvenile residential facilities to help them transition back into their communities. The goal for this act is to make sure the transition will be successful and helps to promote public safety.

Poll Shows People Believe That Kids Can Be Rehabilitated

Georgia has some of the toughest juvenile crime laws in the nation that focus more on punishment than rehabilitation. A new report suggests that the public may have different attitudes.  Some highlights:

People believe rehabilitation and treatment can reduce crime AND are willing to pay extra taxes to provide those services;
They support rehabilitation even for young people who commit violent crimes;
They oppose young offenders being sent to adult criminal court without an individual determination made in each case;
They agree that non-white youth are more likely than white youth to be prosecuted as adults; and
believe strongly in a separate juvenile justice system. These findings are from the National Juvenile Justice Network’s recently updated “Polling on Public Attitudes About the Treatment of Young Offenders.” The information was collected between 2005 and 20007 and the document also looks back at public attitudes during the 1990’s. To read the full document, click here.

Rehabilitation – The Key?

Rehabilitation, instead of incarceration, is being touted as a better way to handle juvenile offenders.  Matthew House, a divorce and family-law mediator in California, argues that detention and incarceration are pointless, overly expensive ways to manage juvenile lawbreakers. “Caging a wayward teen for a few years before releasing him back into society without remedying his behavior is foolhardy,” says House, who goes on to point out that half of kids who get imprisoned  end up reentering the system after getting out. House also claims rehabilitation is “eight times more financially effective, dollar for dollar, than incarceration.”

Read his op-ed piece in The Orange County Register. Photo courtesy abardwell