Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness - Find it on Facebook!
The Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE) - the only national conference specifically devoted to adolescent substance abuse treatment -- is coming up in December. JMATE has issued a call for papers, registration opens June 1st, and now you can follow JMATE on Facebook.
Reclaiming Futures is one of the co-sponsors, but even if it weren't, I'd be encouraging you to go. I've been to several JMATEs and they were all excellent, informative events. (Also, it's great to be at a treatment conference and never have to ask after a presentation, "Say, does your research apply to teens as well as adults?")
The Importance of Literacy for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System
It's not news that teens in the juvenile justice system often have trouble in school. But you might be interested in this issue brief from NDTAC*, which summarizes the relevant research on the link between low literacy and delinquency -- and on the probable positive impact that literacy programs have on reducing recidivism. (The research to date, unfortunately, is more suggestive than conclusive.) The brief makes a forceful case for addressing the educational needs of youth in the justice system.
You might also be interested in NDTAC's Transition Toolkit 2.0. Here's what NDTAC says about it:
[The] second edition of NDTAC’s Transition Toolkit brings together strategies, existing practices, and updated resources and documents on transition to enable administrators and service providers to deliver high-quality transition services for children and youth moving into, through, and out of education programs within the juvenile justice system.
Simple communication efforts and the implementation of basic transition processes, such as timely records transfer, can have a dramatic impact on a student’s engagement in school and avoidance of further incarceration. As such, the focus of the Toolkit is on the administrative processes, coordination efforts, and communication practices within the juvenile justice system. The Toolkit offers ideas and tools that administrators can use to improve the basic functioning of their treatment and institution-based programs, with a primary focus on programs related to the educational needs of youth and those who directly provide education services.
Juvenile Justice System Research: Introducing the Pathways to Desistance study
[Last December, I posted a bare-bones summary of the groundbreaking "Pathways to Desistance" study on serious juvenile offenders underwritten by the MacArthur Foundation, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and eight other funders. This is the first in a series of posts by the two researchers overseeing the study that describes their results with more precision and in more detail. --Ed.]
The Pathways to Desistance study is a multi-site, longitudinal study of serious adolescent offenders as they transition from adolescence into early adulthood. Between November, 2000 and January, 2003, 1,354 adjudicated youths from the juvenile and adult court systems in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona (N = 654) and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (N = 700) were enrolled in the study. The enrolled youth were at least 14 years old and under 18 years old at the time of their committing offense and were found guilty of a serious offense (predominantly felonies, with a few exceptions for some misdemeanor property offenses, sexual assault, or weapons offenses). These are the types of serious adolescent offenders that often drive debate about how well the juvenile justice system works to control crime and rehabilitate youth.
Roundup: No, Girls Aren't Getting Meaner and Kids Entering the Justice System Aren't Getting Younger
News - Juvenile Justice System and Alcohol and Drugs
- Teens trapped in prison: "Nearly 10 percent of the inmates in Illinois' juvenile prisons have essentially completed their sentences — in some cases more than a year ago — but are stuck behind bars because they have no place to go, state records show." (Hat tip to the Campaign for Youth Justice.)
- Are teens in the criminal and juvenile justice systems getting younger? No, according to an analysis performed by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. The lead author of the study also teamed up with a professor of womens' studies at the University of Hawai'i to author an op-ed in The New York Times called "The Myth of Mean Girls." (The title says it all.)
Roundup: Justice Department Launches Indigent Defense Program; Justice Policy Institute Slams Obama's Justice Budget; NIDA "Blending" Science and Service Conference; and More
Juvenile Justice System and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News
- At a recent symposium, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the indigent defense system was in "crisis." Now, the Department of Justice is launching "Access to Justice" to begin to work on solutions. (Hat tip to @piper.)
- The Attorney General also announced the creation of the Tribal Nations Leadership Council to advise him. Its formation "marks the first time a council composed of tribal leaders selected by tribal governments will advise Justice Department leadership on an ongoing basis."
- The number of juvenile offenders in residential placement dropped again this past year, according to a new fact sheet from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), "Juveniles in Residential Placement 1997-2008".
- The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) slammed Obama's justice budget: "more policing, prisons and punitive policies."
Roundup: Labeling Kids as Delinquent Increases Recidivism; Sports Improve Life Outcomes for Girls; How to Increase Collections from Insurance Companies, and More
Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News
- Remember the Canadian study last year that followed youth for 20 years and found that youth who came into contact with the juvenile justice system were seven times more likely to commit crimes as adults? One reason for that was labeling. Now, here's more research that labeling kids as "juvenile delinquents" contributes to additional crime. (Hat tip to @cjny.) Nevertheless, MD legislators are working hard to make sure that law enforcement and juvenile justice officials share information about kids with school administrators.
- The New York Times noted in an editorial that the Governor's budget for the coming year practically ignores the recommendations contained in the report of the Governor's task force on juvenile justice. In a separate editorial, the paper encouraged Congress to sponsor a proposed blue ribbon panel on the nation's criminal justice system.
Breakthroughs in Crime Deterrence: Stopping Youth Violence and More
- Impose mild sanctions that are immediate and reliable.
- Work with your community to improve the public legitimacy of your juvenile court. Recent research has shown that people are more likely to obey the law if they think the system is fair.
Roundup: Possible Nominee for OJJDP Chief; Chicago's Unusual Anti-Violence Plan; Heritage Foundation Study Challenges Juvenile LWOP Stats
Juvenile Justice Reform and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment News
- The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) may soon have a nominee to be its top administrator. According to Youth Today, there's a new frontrunner: former juvenile court judge Karen Baynes, who's currently at the Carl Vinson Institute for Government at the University of Georgia.
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released a report on its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), entitled: Two Decades of JDAI: From Demonstration Project to National Standard - you can find it on the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) website.
Roundup: Too Much Candy for Kids Leads to Violent Adults; Prescription Drug Deaths Outnumber Car Crash Fatalities in Some States; and More
- Startling news from the Centers for Disease Control that in 16 states, the number of people who die from prescription drug overdoses outnumbers the number who die in car accidents.
- Simple Explanation Department: Reseachers in Britain have used longitudinal data to show that children who eat too much candy are more likely to be violent later in life. For further reading: the American Journal of Preventive Medicine had a special 2008 issue on youth violence prevention.
Roundup: Video Testimony on Life without Parole; SAMHSA Public Health Alert; NJ Supreme Court Rules on Juvenile Right to Counsel; and More
Concerned about the kids in the juvenile justice system? Then check out the video above of a 29-year-old woman given life without parole at 16 for killing her pimp. I found it on this blog, without a lot of information about where or when the video was made. But man oh man, it's sure moving.