Building Bridges Between Research and Practice of Juvenile Justice

Over the past several weeks, I have attended a number of meetings and conferences in which both juvenile justice practitioners and researchers were present. Over and over, I was reminded that these two groups really do speak in different languages and often have very different philosophies.

Former CDC Director Says NRA “Terrorized” Gun Violence Researchers

The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) has published numerous studies analyzing firearms-related deaths and injuries data, but over the last 16 years, the NCIPC hasn’t conducted a single study exploring why such acts of violence take place. The reason, several former CDC directors say, is because pro-gun lobbyists made the topic of gun violence research forbidden through several measures adopted in the mid 1990s. In 1996, several legislators co-sponsored an amendment that would cut the CDC’s budget, with a House Appropriations Committee adopting an additional amendment that prohibited CDC funding “to advocate or promote gun control.” Eventually, $2.6 million was removed from the CDC’s budget — the exact amount that the NCIPC spent on firearms injuries studies a year prior. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has long been critical of the CDC, with NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre recently telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) that he believed the agency was promoting a political agenda through the NCIPC in 1995. Other gun proponents agreed.

Juvenile Justice on Appeal: Making our System of Justice More Accountable

When a young person is sent to a detention facility away from his or her family, it is a drastic intervention and most would agree that our system of justice should approach it with great care. Even if the child is not removed from the community and sent to live in juvenile detention, a delinquency case can now follow the child throughout her life in an increasing number of ways, such as DNA registration, housing access, and sentencing enhancements, and sex offender registration. As a result, on paper, our system of justice purports to provide this child with most of the same procedural checks that we provide to adults and sometimes, in theory, even more. But in reality, our system falls short. Too often, this entire process is left to one overburdened judge with no jury, little public access, sometimes no defender, and, as it turns out, little appellate oversight.

school vending machine

Want Fries with That? Only if it’s Regulated

Care for a fizzy soda pop with that lunch room meal? How about a thick slice of pizza to add to that loaded-up cafeteria tray? Want a bag of chips or fries with that? Chances are, many public school kids would say yes to any of the above. It might not be a healthy choice, but rest assured, these foods are served widely in school cafeterias.

Meth Project Ads Effective at Preventing Drug Use, Study Says

The Meth Project’s graphic ads are effective at deterring meth use, according to new research by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The new study, “How Disgust Enhances the Effect of Fear Appeals,” compared ads that rely on disgust and fear with ads that use fear alone as the deterring element. Researchers showed a series of three ads to a group of college students. Each of the ads had an identical message, but the images were different. Those that relied only on an element of fear did not lead to immediate changes in attitudes or behavior.

Webcast Highlights Research on Juvenile Brain Development

New research on brain development showing abuse, neglect and poverty may have lifelong negative consequences for children will be featured in a program sponsored by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series. Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, will present a program Feb. 28 titled “Breakthrough Research on Building Better Brains.” Shonkoff’s research identifies “toxic stress,” persistent, highly adverse experiences that damage a child’s brain circuits. Toxic stress may include living with physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, severe maternal depression and prolonged economic hardship. Consequences of living with toxic stress may persist into adulthood and include poor learning and higher rates of heart disease or substance abuse.