The Coalition for Juvenile Justice has issued a report calling for the use of ”positive youth development” approaches in juvenile justice. Study authors argue that treating young offenders purely as villains, who are in need of punishment, is pointless from the perspective of improving their chances to be productive citizens. Treating them purely as victims in need of treatment does not entirely prepare them to be productive adults either. Positive Youth Development approaches, say Butts and Bazemore, have the best chance to accomplish what most juveniles need: building on their strengths and connecting them to the community they live in. Link: http://www.jbutts.com/pdfs/pyj2010.pdf
James Bell quoted in new report by NAACP called Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate.
“Our justice system is one of the few unaccountable systems in the country. It doesn’t make decisions based on best practices … or in the best interest of the young people and families involved. As a result, there is a 70 percent recidivism rate. The decision makers can administer this misery and not take any responsibility for the outcome.”
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has released a new report, The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System. While detailing how Native Hawaiians are disproportionately impacted at various stages of Hawai'i's criminal justice system, the report also includes first-hand accounts of Native Hawaiian concerns with the criminal justice system and how it affects their families and their culture. The report also features solutions including the W. Haywood Burns Institute's model for reducing disparities, beginning at page 78, "Targeting Racial Disparities."
California has been unable to meet the needs of the rising number of girls in the juvenile justice detention system, found a new report, “Gender Responsiveness and Equity in California’s Juvenile Justice System.” Findings by researchers at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice include: gender-specific programs for girls were one of the least available program types, the nature of girls’ violence is more often relational and that girls are more often referred to court on prostitution charges than boys. Read the full report here. Use the Crime Report for more information on juvenile justice.
It is estimated that between 40 to 70 percent of youth in California's juvenile justice system have some mental health disorder or illness and the number is steadily increasing. A new report by the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice (BCCJ), calls for definitions, tools, and investment in proven programs. Mental Health Issues in California's Juvenile Justice System highlights research and data illustrating the challenges affecting the ability of frontline providers to adequately serve these youth and their families.
A study published in the respected medical journal Pediatrics documents that youths entering the juvenile justice system are four times more likely than the general population to die, with 90% of the deaths attributed to homicide. The researchers also noted that the “mortality rate among female youth was nearly 8 times the general-population rate.” The most recent survey of those in juvenile prisons reveals what everyone has known for years, namely that most had experienced some kind of abuse prior to being committed. In fact, the survey found that 70% had experienced some type of past traumatic experience, much of it related to physical or sexual abuse. About one-fifth (22%) attempted suicide.
Juvenile Justice System: Get the Facts: Pre-Trial / National Institute of Corrections Library. An overview of the pre-trial process for juveniles is provided. This brochure covers: what can happen to a juvenile awaiting trial; what diversion opportunities are available; what juvenile intake screening is; some detention alternatives; how pre-trial detention decisions are made; transferring a juvenile to an adult criminal court; what a presumptive transfer is; and what a discretionary transfer is.
Could sending juveniles through the youth justice system increase delinquency? That’s what researchers who reviewed 29 experiments involving 7,300 juveniles over 35 years concluded in a study sponsored by the Campbell Collaboration. ”It is possible that labeling is the key ingredient, i.e., that juveniles following official processing are more likely to identify themselves (and be identified by others) as a ’delinquent’,” say authors Anthony Petrosino of Woburn, Ma.-based WestEd, with Carolyn Turpin-Petrosino, and Sarah Gluckenburg. Link to download the report: http://campbellcollaboration.org/lib/download/761/
W. Haywood Burns Institute's Publication Volume 2: The Keeper and The Kept. Most nonviolent youth offenders are incarcerated because alternative services including mental health or counseling are no longer available in communities. When it comes to youth of color in particular, decisions to incarcerate are often driven by “zero tolerance” policies, and fear. In The Keeper and the Kept, James Bell, Laura John Ridolfi, Michael Finley and Clinton Lacey challenge this overreliance on detention and offer an introduction to the BI method. A case study report will follow in the fall or winter of 2010 outlining best practices.
W. Haywood Burns Institute's Publication Volume 1: Adoration of the Question. In this first publication of our series, published in December 2008, we introduce the foundation of the BI approach by examining the historical antecedents that continue to influence the juvenile justice system. We begin by outlining the early juvenile justice system and its approach toward youth of color, and then examine Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) and its perceived causes. We next analyze the well-intentioned federal mandates that have largely failed to reduce entrenched disparities in the system, and the importance of strengthening the Juvenile Justice And Delinquency Prevention Act (ACT).
A recent national report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that two decades of juvenile justice reform have reduced youth detention, improved public safety and saved taxpayers millions of dollars. The report, Two Decades of JDAI: From Demonstration Project to National Standard, documents the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative’s (JDAI) progress both in reforming juvenile detention practices nationwide and also in contributing to the larger movement for more comprehensive reforms in juvenile justice.
A new report released by The Sentencing Project finds a record 140,610 individuals are now serving life sentences in state and federal prisons, 6,807 of whom were juveniles at the time of the crime. In addition, 29% of persons serving a life sentence (41,095) have no possibility of parole, and 1,755 were juveniles at the time of the crime. Download No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences in America by clicking on the link.
A new Justice Policy Institute report highlights the economic benefits of alternatives to detention."The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense" finds that states spend approximately $5.7 billion each year imprisoning youth, even though the majority are held for nonviolent offenses. The report shows that most youth could be supervised safely in the community through alternatives that cost substantially less than incarceration and could lower recidivism by up to 22 percent.
The Center for Children's Law and Policy's DMC eNews reports on efforts to reduce DMC in juvenile justice systems in the DMC Action Network, of which the BI is a member. Sign up here to receive DMC eNews by email.Dangers of Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention and Other Secure Facilities by Barry Holman and Jason Ziedenberg. (November 2006). Justice Policy Institute.
Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook. (2003). Information on pre-trial detained youth, by state.
Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration of Juvenile Offenders: Public Preferences in Four Models for Change States by Alex Piquero and Laurence Steinberg. (2007). Models for Change.
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