Teen Narrowly Escapes Death after Smoking Synthetic Marijuana; News Roundup
Juvenile Justice Reform
- Juvenile Justice Should be a Focus for Georgia (AlbanyHerald.com)
In her final State of the Judiciary address before the General Assembly today, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein is expected to focus on an issue that needs serious thought — juvenile justice.
- [AUDIO] When Crime Pays: Prison Can Teach Some To Be Better Criminals (NPR.org)
In popular lore — movies, books and blogs — criminals who go to prison don't come out reformed. They come out worse. Scientists who have attempted to empirically analyze this theory have reached mixed conclusions, with analyses suggesting that activities like drug addiction or gangs are what determines whether the correctional system actually gets criminals to correct their ways.
- Mapping Juvenile Justice (TheCrimeReport.org)
A new mapping project demonstrates overlaps between New York City communities with the highest percentage of youth, the lowest household incomes, rates of foster care placement and adults without high school diplomas.
- GA Police Chief to Serve on Juvenile Justice Board (CBSAtlanta.com)
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has announced Elaine Snow, chief of the City of Rome Police Department, has been named vice chair of the agency's board. Snow is filling a board position that was left vacant by Avery Niles after Gov. Nathan Deal named him as Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner.
- Gov. Dayton appoints the first Minnesota Somali Woman to Serve on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (TCDailyPlanet.net)
Saciido Shaie has long had a dream that her thoughts and actions would one day become a reason for Minnesota youth to excel in education and life. That’s why she’s spent many years of leadership and advocacy in building a better place for Twin Cities’ young minorities. Minnesota took a note of her passion in activism, and so did Governor Mark Dayton. He appointed her last June as the first Somali woman to serve on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee for Minneapolis.
- Suffer the Children (The Economist)
On March 29th 2012 Georgia’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted on a criminal-justice reform bill that read like a left-leaning criminologist’s fantasy. It revised sentencing laws to keep non-violent drug and property offenders out of prison, directing them instead toward alternatives—drug courts, day-reporting centres, mental-health courts—designed to treat and rehabilitate rather than punish. Now Georgia is looking to do something similar for juveniles.
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Reclaiming Futures Hiring in Portland, Oregon
Do you support juvenile justice reform and want to help communities break the cycle of drugs, alchohol and crime?
Join our staff in Portland, Oregon, where Reclaiming Futures is improving the experience for teens in the juvenile justice system by providing adolescent substance abuse and mental health treatment in 37 communities around the country.
- Secure major sustainability funding from private and government sources
- Cultivate regional and national relationships with individuals and agencies
- Establish financial and other partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, private foundations, and private or business sectors
- Provide leadership for the strategic direction of the fellowship program and seek input from staff, fellows and faculty across the country
- Organize fellowship meetings’ activities and materials
- Develop a webinar strategy to provide learning opportunities for sites and grow the national profile of Reclaiming Futures
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Innovation Brief: Strengthening the Role of Families in Juvenile Justice
In 2007, Models for Change-Pennsylvania set out to address the roles of families in the juvenile justice system. The multidisciplinary workgroup included both family advocacy and juvenile justice leadership. The Innovation Brief: Strengthening the Role of Families in Juvenile Justice, outlines the goals and process Pennsylvania took to achieve their three overarching goals:
- Align with the philosophies of Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system and the state’s family advocacy network.
- Integrate with ongoing system reform emerging from Models for Change-Pennsylvania.
- Design and implement a strategic model that authentically includes the voices of all stakeholders, advances evidence- based approaches, and produces measurable and sustainable change.
Before Pennsylvania's formal family involvement training was put in place, only about 51% of participants felt that the benefits of family involvement in the court process outweighed the drawbacks. After, nearly 80% felt that family involvement was good for the court process:
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Georgia: Mental Health is a Huge Issue in Justice Strategy
Discussion about mental health and other substance abuse treatment alternatives was front and center last week when criminal justice system officials addressed House and Senate joint appropriations lawmakers at the State Capitol. “Mental health is a huge issue in all the things we do,” Judge Robin W. Shearer said on behalf of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges.
Georgia is in the early stages of significant adult and juvenile justice system reforms that focus on how to ensure incarceration for the most serious offenders, and how to provide community treatment options for offenders who do not benefit from or even require incarceration.
Last year the General Assembly passed reforms to move the adult corrections system toward those goals. This year legislators are expected to approve sweeping reforms to juvenile criminal law and the civil code. Governor Nathan Deal has made reforms a personal priority and his budget devotes millions of dollars to these goals.
The importance of mental health considerations was evident early in the hearing.
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Kids Demand A Plan Beyond Gun Control
Weeks after a gunman killed 20 elementary-school students and six educators in Newtown, CT, yet another school shooting occurred at Taft Union High School in Taft, California. On January 10, a high school student brought a firearm to class and injured another student and a teacher. The shooting, which took place just hours after a staff safety training, has left many moms, like me, wondering what can be done to keep our kids safe in school.
After spending years trying to prevent school tragedies with Peace Over Violence, it seems that I should have something profound to say. To my surprise, I was at a loss for words, and that is when I turned to the youth.
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Juvenile Drug Court Uses Pineapples to Give System-Involved Youth Fresh Start
In Forsyth County (NC), District Court Judge Denise Hartsfield uses pineapples to offer system-involved teens a fresh start. She keeps the pineapples on the bench to remind teens of the court's role in their lives. Speaking to the Winston-Salem Chronicle, Judge Hartsfield explained:
“Since the pilgrims came in colonial days, the pineapple has been a symbol that means welcome,” she said. “I want everyone to feel welcome and to be very comfortable on this journey… There are going to be some slips – there are going to be some falls – but the pineapple tells us that we’re all welcome here and we’re all working together.”
Hartsfield likened the teens to the fruit, which she said has a “rough, prickly” exterior, but “what’s inside is fleshy, juicy, sweet and absolutely wonderful.” Hartsfield told the youth that many of the defendants who come before her – both young and old – land in her courtroom because of an alcohol or drug addiction.
“One of the goals that I would have is trying to make sure that you never have to see adult court,” she said. “…I anticipate that we’re going to have a great deal of pineapples in here, and we’re going to celebrate some folks.”
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Registration Open for National Leadership Forum
Join leaders from around the country who are striving for big and challenging goals:
- for young people to be ready for college, work and life;
- for communities to offer high-quality supports year-round;
- for leaders to work collectively and effectively to make this happen.
The Ready by 21 National Meeting is for leaders like you working at any level – from state policy coordination and community-wide cradle-to-career efforts to out-of-school time systems, single issue coalitions and neighborhood-based initiatives – who want to learn from your peers, access proven tools and strengthen your capacity for collective impact. Attendees will include local and state leaders from United Ways, business, nonprofits, education, policy, philanthropy and intermediaries, as well as national leaders from organizations that are partners in delivering Ready by 21 strategies. You will connect with other leaders from across communities, states and sectors to strengthen your network and find answers to your toughest challenges.
Session formats will vary from keynotes and plenary panels to small group discussions, demonstrations of how to use concrete tools, and peer learning circles. There will be more than two dozen sessions to choose from, with topics such as:
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Vote for RWJF's Most Influential Research of 2012
It's time for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) annual 2012 Year in Research campaign. RWJF identified 20 articles published in 2012 that represent the "best of the best" and needs your help in choosing the top five.
The articles range from mental health to coronary heart disease and medicare. Readers of this blog may be especially interested in:
- A Community Outreach and Education Model for Early Identification of Mental Illness in Young People
- Advancing Recovery: Implementing Evidence-Based Treatment
- Pay-for-Performance Programs to Reduce Racial/Ethnic Disparities
- Student Access to Competitive Foods in Elementary Schools
Read the articles and cast your vote by February 15, 2013!
And for those on Twitter, share your thoughts via #RWJFFinal5.
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Robert Listenbee to Lead Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Last Friday, President Obama announced his intent to appoint Robert Listenbee, Jr. as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
From the announcement:
Robert Listenbee, Jr. is Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, a position he has held since 1997. He has also been a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia since 1986. Previously, from 1991 to 1997, Mr. Listenbee was Assistant Chief of the Juvenile Unit. He is a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which advises the Governor of Pennsylvania on juvenile justice policy. Mr. Listenbee serves on the policy committees of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the National Center for Juvenile Justice. He serves on the advisory board of the National Juvenile Defender Center and is a board member and former President of the Juvenile Defenders Association of Pennsylvania. Mr. Listenbee received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
Listenbee has agreed to join the administration and will replace acting Administrator Melodee Hanes.
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Promising Outcomes for a Parenting Sentencing Alternative
Washington State's Parenting Sentencing Alternative provides qualifying offenders with the opportunity to parent their minor children under intense community supervision instead of serving prison time. Although it is too soon to gauge the program's long-term success, the Department of Corrections is seeing a number of early benefits, including cost savings, with Community Parenting Alternative (CPA) and Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) cases.
On average, it costs $34,000 to supervise these alternative cases—between $7,000-$8,000 more than traditional community supervision. Officers have smaller caseloads but are more directly involved with day-to-day activities of offenders and their children, partners, and other family members. Although the program requires a higher initial cost per offender than traditional supervision and expends more resources up front, cost savings come in the reduction of daily population rates and duplicate service reduction. It costs an average of $90 a day to incarcerate; in contrast, it costs $7 a day to electronically monitor those who are on the prison-based alternative. While other supervision expenses exist, this reduction in costs upon transfer from prison provides substantial savings.
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