Saturday, January 03, 2009

Compiling Resources for Juvenile Justice Reform


Foster care youth are often multisystems youth.

Therefore, I am currently working with Dawn Folsom, a passionate member of Foster Care Alumni of America from Indiana, as well as many young people in my state on issues involving juvenile justice reform.

The way that I tackle a problem is to identify and learn from existing challenges, gaps in services, resources and Best Practices, and figure out a way to connect youth, alumni and professionals with information, resources and services.
Here is what I have tracked down so far...

Existing Resources:
Act 4 Juvenile Justice
American Bar Association's Juvenile Justice Committee
Campaign for Youth Justice
Cradle to Prison Pipeline
Future of Children
Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
Girls' Justice Initiative
National Council on Crime and Delinquency
National Juvenile Justice Network
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Pathways to Juvenile Detention Reform

Existing Challenges:
1. Overrepresentation of minorities in the juvenile justice system
2. Runaway and homeless youth being locked up for "truancy"
3. Females more likely to be detained, despite being a lower risk to public safety
4. Youth being transferred to adult prisons, even for nonviolent crimes
5. Need for more investment in preventive measures

Best Practices:
Missouri's Division of Youth Services received the Innovations Award in Children and Family System Reform and was awarded $100,000 toward replication and dissemination of its program around the country.

Why? For its treatment of juvenile offenders across 42 locations statewide, its comprehensive approach to reform and its network of regional facilities that keeps youth close to their families.
Ohio has a relatively new advocacy program, funded by TANF and facilitated by Urban Minority Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Outreach Programs, to help families of youth committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services. This program is the first of its kind.

Advocacy Strategies:

Monetary Value of Saving a High-Risk Youth
This study is based on specific savings from up-front investments. Research findings suggest that by identifying juvenile offenders early and providing them with prevention and treatment resources early in life, their future criminal activity may be curtailed.

It is estimated that the present value of saving a 14-year-old high risk juvenile from a life of crime to range from $2.6 to $5.3 million. Saving a high risk youth at birth would save society between $2.6 and $4.4 million.

Voter Preference for Rehabilitation
This survey of 820 DC voters reveals that the public prefers to invest in rehabilitative strategies for juvenile offenders. The overwhelming majority of participants desired for young people to be placed in juvenile detention facilities, rather than adult prisons, and for youth to be connected with opportunities to improve their lives.

Negative Effect of Juvenile Transfer Laws
Young offenders who are transferred to adult prisons are more likely to perpetrate future criminal offenses than young people who remain in the juvenile justice system. This approach does not deter juvenile delinquency.

Legislative Awareness:
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
Due to Republican objections, this bill never became law.

The mandates would have included: (1) deinstitutionalization of status offenders; (2) sight and sound separation of juveniles from adult offenders; (3) removal of juveniles from adult jails and lock-ups; and (4) reduction of disproportionate minority contact with the justice system.

Gang Abatement and Prevention Act vs. Youth PROMISE Act

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Comments:
Thanks for posting this and all you do. I am so thankful for this blog and you in my life. Please not sure how to add you to mine. But definatly want to read more as you post.
 
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