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Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role (2014)

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role (2014)
Source: National Research Council

In the past decade, a number of state, local, and tribal jurisdictions have begun to take significant steps to overhaul their juvenile justice systems – for example, reducing the use of juvenile detention and out-of-home placement, bringing greater attention to racial and ethnic disparities, looking for ways to engage affected families in the process, and raising the age at which juvenile court jurisdiction ends. These changes are the result of heightening awareness of the ineffectiveness of punitive practices and accumulating knowledge about adolescent development. Momentum for reform is growing. However, many more state, local, and tribal jurisdictions need assistance, and practitioners in the juvenile justice field are looking for guidance from the federal government, particularly from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the Department of Justice.

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform identifies and prioritizes strategies and policies to effectively facilitate reform of the juvenile justice system and develop an implementation plan for OJJDP. Based on the 2013 report Reforming Juvenile Justice, this report is designed to provide specific guidance to OJJDP regarding the steps that it should take, both internally and externally, to facilitate juvenile justice reform grounded in knowledge about adolescent development. The report identifies seven hallmarks of a developmental approach to juvenile justice to guide system reform: accountability without criminalization, alternatives to justice system involvement, individualized response based on needs and risks, confinement only when necessary for public safety, genuine commitment to fairness, sensitivity to disparate treatment, and family engagement. Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform outlines how these hallmarks should be incorporated into policies and practices within OJJDP, as well as in actions extended to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to achieve the goals of the juvenile justice system through a developmentally informed approach.

This report sets forth a detailed and prioritized strategic plan for the federal government to support and facilitate developmentally oriented juvenile justice reform. The pivotal component of the plan is to strengthen the role, capacity, and commitment of OJJDP, the lead federal agency in the field. By carrying out the recommendations of Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform, the federal government will both reaffirm and advance the promise of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

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Roadmap Released to Improve Outcomes for Youth in Juvenile Justice System

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Roadmap Released to Improve Outcomes for Youth in Juvenile Justice System
Source: Council of State Governments

Members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and others met with juvenile justice leaders during separate events recently to discuss two publications released by the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center), which offer state and local governments recommendations to improve outcomes for youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

The first publication, Measuring and Using Juvenile Recidivism Data to Inform Policy, Practice, and Resource Allocation, surveyed all 50 states’ juvenile correctional agencies and found 20 percent of those agencies do not track the rates of youth reoffending. Of the 39 states that do track recidivism data, most consider only one type of contact with the justice system, stopping short of determining, for example, whether the youth was later incarcerated in the adult system.

There has been significant progress in juvenile justice reform, with youth confinement rates almost cut in half from 1997 to 2011, and juvenile arrest rates in 2011 at their lowest level in more than 30 years. But as lower-risk youth have successfully been redirected from incarceration, progress is still needed to track, and ultimately improve, the outcomes of those higher-risk youth and others previously under supervision.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth (PDF)
Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population. In this bulletin, the authors examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL.

Key findings include the following:
• Approximately 1 in 10 juvenile detainees (10.3 percent) thought about suicide in the past 6 months, and 11 percent had attempted suicide.
• More than one-third of male juvenile detainees and nearly half of female juvenile detainees felt hopeless or thought a lot about death or dying in the 6 months prior to detention.
• Recent suicide attempts were most prevalent in female detainees and youth with anxiety disorders.
• Fewer than half of detainees with recent thoughts of suicide had told anyone about their suicidal thoughts.

Annotated Bibliography: Juvenile Justice

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Annotated Bibliography: Juvenile Justice
Source: National Institute of Corrections

Are you looking for a comprehensive list of resources about juvenile justice? Then this publication is for you. It offers a wide range of sources that will give you an excellent review of the field of juvenile justice. Each annotation explains what the item is about, with many having Web links. Citations are organized into the following areas: courts; juvenile assessment; assessment tools; programs; programs for young women; facilities; training; websites; and juvenile sex offenders.

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking Statutes

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking Statutes
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Enacted in 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act set the minimum drinking age at 21. To comply with federal law, states prohibit persons under 21 years of age from purchasing or publicly possessing alcoholic beverages.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 9.3 million persons aged 12 to 20 (24.3 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month and an estimated 11.2 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.

In an effort to combat underage drinking, state legislators have enacted laws that assign responsibility to adults who allow minors to drink alcohol at social gatherings. Thirty-one states allow social hosts to be civilly liable for injuries or damages caused by underage drinkers. Twenty-six states and the Virgin Islands have criminal penalties for adults who host or permit parties with underage drinking to occur in the adults’ homes or in premises under the adults’ control. These social host statutory provisions do not apply to licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores, which are covered by dram shop laws.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service — Special Feature: Youth Violence

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Special Feature: Youth Violence
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

According to data released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, juvenile arrests for violent crimes (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) declined 29% between 2006 and 2011 (Juvenile Arrests 2011, December 2013). The number of juvenile court cases involving violent offenses fell 8% between 2008 and 2009 (Juvenile Court Statistics, 2009, July 2012) and 8% between 2009 and 2010 (Juvenile Court Statistics, 2010, June 2013).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics resource, Violent Crime Against Youth, 1994-2010 (December 2012), presents trend data on a number of different points related to the topic. For example, from 1994 to 2010, the rate of serious violent crime occurring on school grounds declined by 62%. Also presented is information on the non-reporting of violent crimes by youth victims. During a 2002-10 period of analysis, the most frequent reasons youth provided for not reporting violence were that the incident was reported to another individual such as a school official (30%), was considered not important enough to the victim to report (15%), or was considered to be a private or personal matter (16%). Another reason youth provided for not reporting the victimization to police was that the offender was a child (7%).

The pages of this Special Feature contain publications and resources on topics related to youth violence and the prevention of such violence.

Juvenile Arrests 2011

March 25, 2014 Comments off

Juvenile Arrests 2011
Source: office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

As has been the case in general for the past decade, juvenile arrest data for 2011 provide reasons for encouragement. Overall, arrests in 2011 were down 11 percent from 2010 and down 31 percent since 2002.

Although juvenile arrest rates for many crimes are at their lowest levels in more than 30 years, many states and communities are instituting legislative, policy, and practice changes to reduce juvenile arrests even further. As a growing body of evidence underscores the corrosive effects that system involvement and confinement can have on healthy adolescent emotional, mental, behavioral, and social development, many jurisdictions are examining and developing ways to divert nonserious offenders from entering the system. With time, the cumulative effects of these and other reform efforts, such as trauma, mental health, and substance abuse screening and assessment for youth upon intake, should result in a system where arrests are rare, all youth are treated fairly, and when a youth enters the system, he or she receives much-needed treatment and services. Such changes would undoubtedly provide positive and healthy outcomes for youth, families, and communities.

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