Re-Examining Juvenile Incarceration; News Roundup

by Kate Knappett

Juvenile Justice Reform Re-Examining Juvenile Incarceration  (The PEW Charitable Trusts) Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project demonstrates how alternatives to juvenile incarceration may produce better results and be a better investment for taxpayers. OP-ED:  Community Engagement as a Key to Juvenile Justice Reform (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange) Juliana Stratton, Executive Director of Cook County Justice for Children in Chicago, asserts […]

Recovery Support Services for Youth and Families

by Bridget Murphy

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and the April issue of The Atlantic features a story titled – “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous” by Gabriella Glaser. The article sheds light on the recovery support service of 12-step programs through interviews with research and practice experts and personal testimonials. The article reports that while it’s difficult to […]

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by Christa Myers

Below you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post! Webinars CJJR Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile […]

Commitment to Youth Comes Through Strongly in Readers Survey

by Donna Wiench

Responders to Reclaiming Futures’ eNewsletter readers’ survey say they want to read about Juvenile Justice, Youth Development, Family Engagement, Youth and Family Voice, Disproportionate Minority Contact, and the School to Prison Pipeline.  Most responders to the Fall survey report working in juvenile justice or with teen behavioral health treatment organizations, and both the personal as […]

National Rally to Unite Against Alcohol Addiction Set for Oct. 4, 2015

by Cecilia Bianco

main-logoAddiction to alcohol and other drugs impacts more than 85 million Americans. This growing problem has sparked a coast-to-coast addiction and recovery awareness campaign: UNITE to Face Addiction.

UNITE to Face Addiction is a new collaborative grassroots advocacy effort that will partner with hundreds of local, state and national participating organizations “to make history for the addiction crisis on The National Mall.”

On Oct. 4, 2015, this inspiring group invites you to join them at a national rally that will aim to “transform the conversation from problems to solutions” for what they believe is one of the most pressing health and civil rights issues of our time. The rally will take place in Washington, DC.

In light of Alcohol Awareness Month, this organization and the upcoming rally can serve as motivators for your community to join together in the fight to break addictions and improve the health and well being of us all.

Campaign Director of UNITE to Face Addiction, Greg Williams, in his appeal for communities to join UNITE at the October rally, writes:

“We know that addiction is preventable, treatable and people can and do get well. Too many of those affected have been incarcerated; they and others are afraid to speak up about the failed policies and poor care they receive due to long-standing stigma and discriminatory public policies. They have yet to be recognized as a political force because politicians assume they don’t vote and, indeed, many have had their voting rights revoked. For too long, a great majority of people connected to addiction have remained silent . . . UNTIL NOW!”

Williams also released a documentary film in 2013 called The Anonymous People, which tells the story of the emerging new recovery advocacy movement. This film can serve as an additional resource to your community as we journey through Alcohol Awareness Month.

You can sign up to receive updates from UNITE to Face Addiction on the campaign’s new website, which will officially launch in two weeks.

For more resources about Alcohol Awareness Month, see our past reporting:

Alcohol Awareness Month 2015: How to Get Involved

Juvenile Justice in America: We Can Do Better; News Roundup

by Bridget Murphy

Juvenile Justice Reform Juvenile Justice in America: We Can Do Better (Huffington Post) “The juvenile court was invented in Illinois in 1899. Soon thereafter, recognizing that youthful offenders often had diminished culpability and unique potential for rehabilitation, every state in the Union created its own juvenile court system. Developed nations around the world emulated the […]

NCJFCJ Releases Guide to Trauma Consultation in Juvenile and Family Courts

by Susan Richardson

A growing body of research is constantly giving fuel to the issue of childhood trauma and toxic NCJFCJ Trauma Manual Coverstress—specifically, how they impact health outcomes in the future, and the critical need for juvenile and family courts to become trauma-informed in order to effectively treat these issues. The latest effort to make trauma-informed courts widespread is from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), which has released “Preparing for a Trauma Consultation in Your Juvenile and Family Court,” a guide for juvenile and family courts to become more trauma-informed.

The guide outlines why courts need to be trauma-informed and how they approach building a framework, including:

  • Elements of a comprehensive and successful trauma-informed framework
  • Questions to ask to determine if your juvenile or family court is ready for a trauma consultation
  • How to prepare for a consultation
  • What to expect during a consultation
  • How to put consultation recommendations into action

ACEs Too High, an online news site dedicated to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), regularly reports on the need for more trauma-informed courts that are reflected in this NCJFCJ guide. A recent article by writer Ed Finkel reports on local courts who are adopting models of trauma-informed care, and other tools available, such as the Think Trauma curriculum for staff members in juvenile correctional facilities.

Finkel also reported on the trauma-informed approach used by judges to administer sustainable solutions for at-risk youth. The article interviews several judges to gain their perspective on trauma-informed courts.

Most recently, Pediatrician and ACEs leader Nadine Burke Harris brought ACEs to the forefront once again on a national stage during her TEDMED talk emphasizing the health impact of childhood trauma, indicating that those who have experienced high levels of this kind of toxic stress are four times more likely to become depressed, and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide.

The NCJFCJ guide is more timely than ever, as more and more public health leaders are adding to existing evidence that emphasizes the need for trauma-informed care. A trauma-informed court can be a safe and effective point of intervention to vulnerable youth and families, and can help coordinate support or treatment to improve outcomes and get young people on a positive path.

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by Christa Myers

Below you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post! Webinars A National Assessment Standard for Treatment Planning and […]

Cambiar Program Seeks to Transform the System for Incarcerated Youth in New Mexico

by Cecilia Bianco

logoCambiar, the Spanish word for change, was appropriately chosen as the name of a program in New Mexico that is attempting to transform the juvenile justice system and the young people in the system along with it.

Featured in a recent Daily Beast article “How to Curb Our Mass Incarceration Epidemic,” the Cambiar program at the J. Paul Taylor Center focuses on reform over punishment for inmates, who the center refers to as “clients.”

This transformation to reform, rather than punish, is modeled after Missouri’s juvenile justice system where most teen offenders are in prison schools or work programs, with access to family therapy. Reports indicate that 75 percent of Missouri’s youthful offenders get a year of education each year they are incarcerated—three times the national average. This has led to a startling improvement: 65 percent of offenders in that system are not rearrested within three years of release.

The Cambiar program is aiming for the same positive results—all of its clients have access to education and mentors, something that Reclaiming Futures champions, implements and sees results with:

“The staff here mentors students, teaches real high school classes, provides a clear system of rewards and punishments that excludes extreme approaches like solitary confinement—all tactics that resulted from a 2006 agreement with the ACLU that sheds light on systematic abuses endemic in juvenile systems.”

The Center also strives to provide an environment that nurtures positive peer culture, with the teens learning to do everything together as a unit. Having a support system, the Center believes, is key towards reforming young people:

“They [the Taylor Center] changed to smaller units where the kids were in groups of 12 rather than in large pods. They worked toward regionalization to try to get the kids closer to their families so they could have support from their families,” Sandra Stewart, director of Juvenile Justice Services in New Mexico, said.

Stewart also emphasized that the transformation of the Taylor Center is due to its focus on learning, mental health counseling, and mentoring over lockdowns and punishments.

The author of this article, Soledad O’Brien, interviewed several clients at the Taylor Center as part of her documentary film “Kids Behind Bars,” which airs Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. PST on Al Jazeera America:

“’Honestly, like, I’ve always liked to learn. It was always there but I never actually took the time to sit down. I never had the will. I never had someone to push me and when I came here, like I said, some staff here helped me out with that,” he said. Since I interviewed him, he got out and has completed a 90-day probationary period.”

Learn more about the Cambiar program on the State of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) website.