JDI Video Shows Youth that “Staying Safe Ain’t Snitching”

In New York City, youth detainees are learning about sexual abuse prevention through innovative materials that were created by JDI and its partners, including kids in detention.

Click here for the video summary: img-141017213314 and for additional articles click here

Cultivating Better Futures for Troubled Bronx Youths

They could have been locked up for offenses ranging from theft to assault to armed robbery.

Instead, they planted vegetables at an urban farm, painted a mural to honor a community activist, staged a youth talent show, organized “safe parties” for teens at a local community center – away from the gunfire and stabbings outside.

The youths came up with a smorgasbord of ways to improve their impoverished Bronx, N.Y.,  neighborhood as part of the nonprofit Community Connections for Youth’s South Bronx Community Connections (SBCC) initiative.

For the article click here and for an executive summary of a new evaluation report for this program click here: SBCC Executive Summary

Pipeline to Prison: How the juvenile justice system fails special education students

Across the country, students with emotional disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested before leaving high school than the general population.

To read more click here

Brutal Crimes Don’t Justify Bad Laws

A true tragedy, driven by a media frenzy, often provokes a misguided need to do something as quickly as possible and leads to bad public policy – like California’s Three Strikes sentencing law.

Massachusetts Juvenile Judge Jay D. Blitzman got it right when he explained in 2008 why brutal crimes so often lead to bad laws. In an article for the Barry Law Review he wrote: “As the public and media react to the crime du jour, there is an unfortunate tendency to legislate by anecdote.” Stories gain momentum, get fueled in the press, and can be used for political advantage by the powers that be, and before we know it, the need for change, and in some cases, vengeance, turns too quickly into ill-conceived laws.

For this article click here

N.J. juvenile detention strategy seen as model

Across New Jersey, six detention centers, including Gloucester County’s, have been shuttered in the last decade, meaning fewer jobs. At the remaining centers, which are under pressure to reduce their populations, it sometimes means there is less time available to treat juvenile offenders for drug addiction.

These are the outcomes, good and bad, of an initiative launched in 2004 – and adopted at different times since then by most counties – to keep low-level juvenile offenders out of detention centers.

New Jersey officials touted the initiative Thursday to officials from New York state, who were in Princeton for a two-day workshop on juvenile detention reform.

To read more click here

Should Child Offenders Be Treated as Adults?

The government may recommend he still sit in the back seat of a car, but a 10-year-old boy can be charged as an adult for the homicide of a 90-year-old woman and potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.

Along with Somalia, the United States is one of two countries in the world that have not ratified a United Nations convention that requires countries to have a minimum age to consider a child criminally culpable. According to Amnesty International , it stands alone in sending juveniles to prison for life without the possibility of parole. In some parts of the country children are automatically charged as adults when accuse of homicide. Two recent cases have exposed ambiguities in the criminal justice system and drawn criticism from those who question whether the law should ever treat children as adults

For this NYTimes article click here

 

Continue reading

The Way to Beat Poverty

One of the reasons the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there’s one overarching lesson from the past few decades about research on how to break cycles of poverty in the United States it’s the power of parenting-and intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born.

Click here to read a fascinating article by the NYTime’s Nicholas Kristoff that explores how medical research on toxic stress reveals why intervening early in the lives of unstable families is critically important. While this article does not explicitly address juvenile justice, there are important connections that link the way that impoverished children are exposed to large and sustained amounts of toxic stress and the likelihood they become ensnared in juvenile justice systems.

For more information about toxic stress and innovative early interventions check out this online series

Child Poverty Rampant in Many of Biggest U.S. Cities

Child poverty increased in 35 of the biggest U.S. cities in the past eight years, and millions of children now live in families barely scraping by, a new analysis shows.

Casey’s KIDS COUNT Data Center has been updated with economic data from the U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey, including the numbers and rates of children living in families with incomes below the federal poverty line.

To read this article click here

DMC Virtual Resource Center

The DMC Virtual Resource Center is a forum for state and local DMC Coordinators, State Advisory Group members, Juvenile Justice Specialists, Compliance Monitors, practitioners, and other juvenile justice system stakeholders to access a variety of tools and resources to help support their state and local DMC efforts. This forum is designed to provide opportunities for these individuals to network with their peers and with OJJDP for the exchange of information and ideas, technical DMC resources, DMC based training materials and templates, and DMC events and new practice standards.

To find out more click here

To Improve Your Economy, Form a Backbone Agency

It has been stated that “There is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against urgent and complex problems, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.” Community problem-solving is about collective decisions to improve outcomes — not merely supporting a program or initiative. It’s a continuous and sustainable process that has a collective impact on every child, youth and family.

A backbone agency that targets children beginning at birth, equipping them with skills so they don’t break and flow into the cradle-to-prison pipeline, will result in more taxpayers who can then contribute to economic growth.

Businesses will invest in a community that invests in its children and youth — their future will determine the crime rates. High crime alone will make a community less inviting for investment. The stronger the collective, the stronger the impact, resulting in positive outcomes.

To read more click here

Eric Holder’s Legacy

By any measure the six year tenure of Attourney General Eric Holder Jr. has been one of the most consequential in United States history. His decision to resign was long anticipated; he has said he will stay on through his successor’s confirmation. It’s hard to imagine anyone who could make  it through the current Senate would have an impact comparable to Mr. Holder’s.

To read this article click here

Attorney General’s Legacy Needs Shoring Up

Let’s take a moment to review the accomplishments and legacy on youth justice issues of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. After six years, he announced his intentions last week to step down.

The ones that come to mind first are civil rights investigations in juvenile justice, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regulations and the Attorney General’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.

To continue to this article click here

 

Continue reading

Children’s Rights Groups Against Giving School Cops Military Hardware

More than 20 national education and civil rights advocates sent a letter Monday to Department of Defense officials, urging them to stop giving U.S. school police departments anti-mine vehicles, military-grade firearms like M16s and even grenade launchers.

News reports and lists of recipients of surplus hardware reveal that assault-style rifles, armored vehicles and other military supplies have been handed over to school districts large and small, from California, Texas, Nevada and Utah to Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Michigan.

To read the full article click here

Students Transform New York’s South Bronx with High-Performance Architecture

Designers have the unique ability to intentionally shape the world. With climate change accelerating everywhere, designers with knowledge of sustainable design tools and methods are needed now more than ever.

Aspiring architects from around the world leveraged advanced software tools, and sustainability strategies in the Transformation 2030 Student Design Competition to turn the shuttered Spofford Juvenile Center in New York City’s South Bronx into a high performance, mixed use development.

For more info click here

Different Ways of Measuring Recidivism Leads to Incomplete Data

According to a recent report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, about half of states track recidivism by specific juvenile facility and only about a third track by length of stay.  This lack of consistency makes it almost impossible to compare across states and agencies. Further, the report found that only half of all state juvenile correctional agencies measure youth outcomes beyond whether youth commit future delinquent acts.  The report urges policymakers to collect and analyze data that includes positive youth outcomes to “determine not only whether the juvenile justice system is helping to prevent youth’s subsequent involvement in the system, but also whether it is helping youth transition to a crime-free and productive adulthood.” Read more.

Attorney General Holder Announces Partnership with Department of Housing and Urban Development to Improve Civil Legal Aid for Juveniles

Attorney General Eric Holder is set to announce a partnership between the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).   HUD will offer new grants to support collaborations between HUD-funded organizations, and civil legal aid programs and public defender offices.

The grant funded collaborations will focus on expunging and sealing juvenile records – improving the chances that reentering youth will be able to obtain degrees, find work and secure housing.

To continue reading click here

A truly fantastic series at the Brooklyn Museum 

It is sponsored by the Correctional Association of New York (celebrating its 170th anniversary!) and is part of their ongoing series:  “States of Denial.”

September 20: Unshackled: Women Speak Out on Mass Incarceration and Reproductive Justice An afternoon of conversation and spoken word from formerly incarcerated women impacted by the intersection of mass incarceration and reproductive health issues. This event is part of the CA’s annual collaboration with Toshi Reagon’s Word* Rock* & Sword: A Festival Exploration of Women’s lives.
Moderators: Professor Dana-Ain Davis, Queens College, Farah Diaz-Tello, Esq., National Advocates for Pregnant Women

The Impacts of Truancy

Dropping out of school is not a singular event. It is a slow process of disengagement that requires us to look at the primary reasons children are absent and then devise mechanisms to pull them back from the brink.

To continue to this article click here

Continue reading

YOUTH Speakers Institute

Below please find the description of a joint program organized by The Correctional Association, Center for Community Alternatives and Youth Represent that seeks to engage court involved youth in the art of public speaking:

“Advocacy to reform New York’s youth justice system has revealed a clear need to engage formerly incarcerated youth as active spokespeople in this work. System-involved youth make powerful advocates; their stories can play a key role in educating legislators and the public by countering stereotypes and misperceptions, and by putting a human face on policy issues that can otherwise seem distant and abstract. While several New York City organizations work with and train system-involved youth, there is currently no structured program to train and connect young people with opportunities to participate in advocacy and public education on youth justice reform.

Youth Speakers Institute fills this gap by recruiting young people , 16 to 23, with current or past system involvement; training them on n public speaking and advocacy skills; and providing diverse opportunities for these young people to communicate their perspectives on youth justice reform issues to the public, policymakers, and the media.”

To learn more contact Tanesha Ingram at tingram@correctionalassociation.org

Will This Be the Year JJDPA Is Reauthorized?

Forty years after its birth, the landmark federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act could be reauthorized by Congress this year. The Act provides the bulk of funding for state-specific juvenile justice reform, while also providing technical assistance and training.

To read more click here

Harlem Raid Families from Both Sides Make a Plan

It was early August, exactly two months after the largest raid in New York City history at the Grant and Manhattanville housing projects, when 20 people, mostly older folks, crammed into the Community Board 9 office in a tiny storefront in Harlem.

For the full article click here

 

Fitting Juvenile Justice into the ‘Public Policy Puzzle’

Why should those of us active in juvenile justice policy be interested? The largest common characteristic of those youth in secure custody is substance abuse. Of course, there are other common indicators — poor mental health, trauma, poverty — but the number of those who use drugs often exceeds 75 percent, research shows. That number alone makes understanding the biology and history important to both practitioners and policymakers. But how do we fit into the public policy puzzle?

To continue to this article click here

Missouri Judge Denies Request to Release Any Juvenile Records of Michael Brown

A judge has denied a request to release any juvenile records of an unarmed 18-year-old shot to death last month by police.

It’s not known if Michael Brown had a juvenile record. But a St. Louis County family court judge on Tuesday denied the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s request for any. Brown was shot to death Aug. 9 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

For the article click here

Why Juvenile Justice Matters to Counties

Why Juvenile Justice Matters to Counties” argues that the juvenile justice system has a direct impact on counties’ investments in health, justice, and social services, and that juvenile justice systems currently cost more to counties than the benefits they bring to the community. “Why Juvenile Justice Matters to County Human Service Agencies” states that collaboration between human services and juvenile justice systems can divert youth from future involvement in the adult criminal justice system and use of public health systems. –

To see more click here

Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police

Talking to people on Twitter about Mike Brown and what’s happening in Ferguson right now, I’ve noticed (again) how easily folks get distracted when Black people are murdered by the police. It seems as though every detail is more interesting, more important, more significant—including looting of a Walmart in Ferguson, which a local Fox news station focused its entire coverage on—than the actual life that was taken by police.

So, to get folks back on track to focus on what matters most here—the killing of yet another unarmed Black teenager—I’ve compiled this list of 6 Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By the Police.

To read this article click here

Continue reading

Analysis: Holes in the Evidence for Evidence-Based

The evidence behind even the most highly-regarded treatment models for court-involved youth isn’t nearly as strong as advertised

For the full article click here

Young Souls, Dark Deeds

Is it sometimes proper to charge even pre-teens as adults or is that unjust not to treat them as juveniles?

Read this NYTimes “Room for Debate” discussion here

US Imprisonment Rate Continues to Drop Amid Falling Crime Rates

Over the past five years, imprisonment rates fell in 31 states.1 California, which was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce its prison population, led the way with a 26 percent drop, though many state inmates are now held in local facilities. Fourteen other states reduced their imprisonment rates by 10 percent or more from 2007 to 2012.

To read more click here

D.C. defense attorneys want juveniles released from shackles in court

While some say the restraints keep defendants and observers safe in situations that can become tense, opponents argue shackles are demeaning and unnecessary in a system aimed more at rehabilitation than punishment. They note that adult defendants in the same courthouse, even those who have been convicted of violent crimes, can have their restraints removed in court.

To read more click here

 

 

Continue reading

Make Training Police on Juvenile Justice, Youth Interaction a National Priority

Our study of academy training programs, If Not Now, When? A Survey of Juvenile Justice Training in American Police Academies, indicates that less than 1 percent of police academy trainings make mention of juvenile justice issues. There is no “in-service” training for officers. Training that does exist is focused only on juvenile law.

There is no training for law enforcement on how to communicate with teens, or how to understand the way that teens perceive authority. Most academies do not address law enforcement agencies’ legal obligation to address disproportionate minority contact.

To read more and find links to more information click here

Los Angeles to Reduce Arrest Rates in Schools

After years of arresting students for on-campus fights and damaging school property, Los Angeles school officials are adopting new policies to reduce the number of students who are disciplined  in the juvenile court system.

To read this article click here

Parental incarceration can be worse for a child than divorce or death of a parent

With more than 2 million people behind bars, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This mass incarceration has serious implications for not only the inmates, but their children, finds a new University of California-Irvine study. The study found significant health problems, including behavioral issues, in children of incarcerated parents and also that, for some types of health outcomes, parental incarceration can be more detrimental to a child’s well-being than divorce or the death of a parent.

To continue reading click here

New Reports Provide Road Map to Reduce Juvenile Recidivism

Two reports from the Council of State Governments Justice Center offer recommendations for how state and local governments can improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.

To access the Roadmap to Improved Outcomes report and article click here

To access an interactive data visualization entitled Measuring Juvenile Recidivism click here

The Myth of Juvenile Crime in the Summer

Do we, as adults and as a culture, get just a little bit nervous when we see groups of kids out and about in the summer, hanging around, doing not much of anything?

We don’t know for sure that summer crime waves even exist. In fact, recent reporting states, “Crime does not spike when temperatures begin to sizzle. Rather, police in the Baltimore and Washington corridor say there is a seasonal shift in the type of criminal acts being committed.” In other words, there is a shift to behaviors like vandalism, bicycle theft, breaking into unlocked cars and crimes of opportunity.  The data show that millions of young people across race and social classes engage in these types of activities, and that when young people are connected to school, work and meaningful relationships, they will move past these misbehaviors.

To continue reading click here

Pew Convenes Juvenile Justice Leaders

Teams of policymakers and stakeholders from 10 states convened in July for a juvenile corrections conference with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public safety performance project. Attendees learned about recent comprehensive reforms in Kentucky and Hawaii and explored opportunities for policy change in their states.

To see how Hawaii has accelerated shifts to juvenile justice practices click here

To see how Kentucky has been picking community options over correctional facilities click here

Continue reading

Darren Wilson Is Identified as Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Teenager in Ferguson, Mo.

The Police in Ferguson broke their weeklong silence on Friday and identified the officer involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager.

The Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, said the officer was Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force who had no disciplinary action taken against him.

To read more click here

Armed w/ Military-Grade Weapons, Missouri Police Crack Down on Protests over Michael Brown Shooting

The Missouri town of Ferguson looks like a war zone as police fire tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs to break up a fifth night of protests over the police shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. At least 10 people were arrested on Wednesday, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been posting video online of the protests and who appeared on Democracy Now! earlier this week. An earlier protest faced a heavy police response, with police in riot gear stationed by a massive armed vehicle in the street.

For a compelling video of scenes from Ferguson click here

To read more click here

Ferguson Evokes Civil Rights Era and Changing Visual Perceptions

Click here for the full article

 

How Can We Improve the Criminal Justice System’s Treatment of Young People? Ask Justice-Involved Kids

While a growing body of research has demonstrated that punishing young people in the adult criminal justice system is not an effective deterrent, results in higher rates of recidivism and undermines opportunities for young offenders to mature and rehabilitate, the subjective views and experiences of young people in the adult criminal justice system remain largely undocumented and unexamined.

In September, my organization, the John Howard Association (JHA), hopes to fill in part of this gap when we release our study “In Their Own Words: Young People’s Experiences in the Criminal Justice System and Their Perceptions of Its Legitimacy.”

To read this article click here

Juvenile Justice and Education Partnerships: Change Must Begin Now

Former Special Education Director for King County, Washington writes: “I’m still not seeing education as an equal partner when I visit jurisdictions across the nation. I hear phrases like “dual jurisdiction youth” or “crossover youth” focusing on social welfare and juvenile justice. This work has added tremendous value but education seems to be an afterthought. I have never seen a youth who had significant issues with those two systems who didn’t have significant issues with education. It is obvious that juvenile justice and education will never successfully reform current practices and local outcomes without becoming full partners.”

To read more click here

 

 

Continue reading