Dr. Peter Langman offers a website and free public resource2017 NCVRW Resource Guide is Now Available Online

OVC is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide. NCVRW will be commemorated April 2–8, 2017, and the resource guide promotes this year’s theme—Strength. Resilience. Justice.The Guide provides all the materials necessary to promote public awareness campaigns for NCVRW and throughout the year. Campaign materials include planning tips, artwork, crime and victimization fact sheets, and more. A Spanish version of the resource guide will be coming soon.

Dr. Peter Langman offers a website and free public resource

Dr. Peter Langman offers a website and free public resource containing over 400 documents (totaling about 57,000 pages) relating to school shootings, school shooters and the prevention of rampage attacks HERE.

Justice Denied: One Young Person's Story

NJPC Youth Coalition Member D.M. writes about his life in New Jersey's mental health, child welfare and juvenile justice system. Read the entire article HERE.

Coordinating Access to Services for Justice-Involved Populationss

States that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act have unprecedented opportunities to connect adults released from prison or jail with needed physical and behavioral health services and social supports. This population - disproportionately male, minority, and poor - suffers from high rates of mental illness and substance use disorders. Providing critical health services and social supports for these individuals can potentially slow the revolving door of recidivism. Read the brief from CHCS HERE.

Most States Still House Some Youth in Adult Prisons, Report Says

WASHINGTON - Most states continue to house youth in adult prisons, putting them at risk for physical and sexual abuse, says a new report. But as the number of youth in both juvenile and adult facilities decrease, states have the chance to end the practice of housing youth in adult facilities entirely, said the Campaign for Youth Justice in the report.

LOCKED OUT: Improving Educational and Vocational Outcomes for Incarcerated Youth

This issue brief highlights the key findings of a national survey conducted in partnership with the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators of all 50 state agencies, to better understand the extent states are currently providing incarcerated youth with access to educational and vocational services, tracking and using student outcome data, and supporting incarcerated youths' school re-enrollment. The issue brief also provides state and local policymakers with policy and practice recommendations to improve college and career readiness for incarcerated youth, and examples of how select states have translated these recommendations into policy and practice. Read more HERE.

The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015

This legislation was introduced by a bipartisan group of senators led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin. Among other provisions, it would:

  • end juvenile life without parole in the federal justice system by allowing youth sent to the federal system to seek parole after serving 20 years of their sentence;
  • limit solitary confinement for youth in federal custody; and
  • permit certain youth tried in federal court for nonviolent offenses to seal or expunge their records under certain circumstances.
>>One-page bill summary

>>Section-by-section analysis

New Jersey Bill to Reform Youth Transfer, Waiver and Confinement Policies

The Bill will raise the age of adult court waiver, eliminate disciplinary confinement in the juvenile justice system, and ensure due process before youth can be transferred from juvenile to adult facilities. Read more HERE.

Youth Suffer Long Term Solitary Confinement, Gross Racial & Ethnic Disparities, Justice by Geography, and Lack of Due Process

Elizabeth, New Jersey - A local study by the New Jersey Parents' Caucus (NJPC) of 472 children and youth, ages 14 to 17, who were waived, sentenced and incarcerated in New Jersey's adult prison system between 2007 - 2015, showed:

  • Gross racial and ethnic disparities: approximately 90% are youth of color; 72% are African American males.
  • Justice by geography: Rates of incarceration in the adult prison system vary significantly across counties in New Jersey, suggesting that justice depends on where one lives, not on the facts of a given case.
  • Youth are regularly deprived of due process: Approximately 30% of the 472 youth waived to adult court during the study period spent more than 2 years incarcerated, between their arrest date and their sentencing date, violating their right to a speedy trial.
  • Youth are regularly put in solitary confinement - especially youth with mental health disorders: Although solitary confinement is known to be psychologically damaging, especially to children, 53% of these youth spent a total of approximately 15,359 days (42 years) in solitary confinement between 2010 and 2015; 5 percent spend over a year there, and about 4 percent spent 2 years or more in solitary. Nearly 70 percent of those placed in solitary had a mental health disorder, with nearly 37% having two or more diagnoses.
  • Youth suffer abuse while in adult prison: once incarcerated in an adult prison, one in four youth surveyed reported physical abuse; 5% reported sexual abuse.

These disturbing statistics appear in NJPC's new data brief, entitled "The Incarceration of Children & Youth in New Jersey's Adult Prison System: New Jersey Youth Justice Initiative ." The brief is comprised of comprehensive state data which NJPC gathered from the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJ DOC) on 472 children incarcerated in the adult prison system. Read more..

Engaging Law Enforcement on Youth Justice Reform

What are some areas where youth justice advocates can work with law enforcement leaders to increase fairness and promote "Engaging Law Enforcement on Youth Justice Reform," which focuses on some of the best starting points for collaborative work on reform.

NOTE: The update draws on a 2014 report from International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), produced with the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

Recent OJJDP Bulletins

- Detained Youth Processed in Juvenile and Adult Court: Psychiatric Disorders and Mental Health Needs
- Perceived Barriers to Mental Health Services Among Detained Youth
- Psychiatric Disorders in Youth After Detention
- Violent Death in Delinquent Youth After Detention

Recent Articles of Interest from ModelsForChange

- U.S. Age Boundaries of Delinquency
- Racial and Ethnic Fairness in Juvenile Justice: Availability of State Data
- Indefensible: The Lack of Juvenile Defense Data
- Measuring Subsequent Offending in Juvenile Probation
- When Systems Collaborate: How Three Jurisdictions Improved their Handling of Dual-Status Cases
- Systems Integration-Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
- Statewide Risk Assessment in Juvenile Probation

Childhood Interrupted

New Jersey Laws Could Pave Way for More Reforms

On Jan. 8, 2014, 13-year-old Angel Mercado-Santiago was shot and killed outside his school in Atlantic City, N.J. Jerome Ford, a 14-year-old, turned himself into the police a few days later.

Violent crimes by juveniles are often waived into the adult court system and the burden is on the defendants to make a case that it should stay in family court. Ford's attorney Joseph Swift said they spent 15 days making the case in family court that Ford could be rehabilitated, which is the basis for the judge's decision for what court a juvenile should be tried in. Swift was successful but the prosecutor's office can still appeal the decision.

This could be the last case like it. Read more HERE.

2015 State Legislative Sessions: An Update on Nationwide Juvenile Justice Reforms to Protect Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System

In New Jersey, the Governor recently signed Senate Bill 2003. This bill includes numerous provisions that drastically improve juvenile justice in New Jersey. First, this bill increases the minimum age at which a youth can be tried as an adult from 14 to 15. Second, it limits the transfer and incarceration of youth under the age of 18, instead of the current lower limit of 16, to only those committing the most serious and violent of crimes. Third, this bill makes it more difficult for youth to be transferred to adult court, as prosecutors must submit written analysis on the reasons for the transfer, which is then granted only at the discretion of a judge. Finally, this bill tightens restrictions on the use of solitary confinement for youth. These reforms would signal a positive move towards justice for New Jersey youth, while also improving physical and mental well-being.

Annie E. Casey Foundation Calls for the Closing of Youth Prisons

Identifying youth prisons as "inhumane, ineffective, wasteful factories of failure," Annie E. Casey Foundation President and CEO Patrick McCarthy calls for the closing of these institutions. During a recent TEDx talk to an audience of governors and legislators, McCarthy pledged Foundation support to any state that accepts his challenge to shutter these large conventional juvenile corrections facilities. Referring to an overreliance on incarcerating youth, McCarthy said "we need to admit that what we are doing doesn't work, and is making the problem worse while costing billions of dollars and ruining thousands of lives".

McCarthy pointed to three commitments states must make in order to produce better outcomes for young people who get into trouble with the law. They include decreasing the number of youth going into juvenile systems by half; improving existing systems by expanding community-based and family-centered programs proven to help kids who have the most serious problems; and eliminating all publicly operated and contracted youth prisons and instead use small, treatment-intensive secure care programs.

Watch the TEDx Talk.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves JJDPA Update

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill that aims to strengthen protections for youth who enter the criminal justice system cleared a key congressional committee today. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S 1169). The law, which is more than 40 years old, sets federal standards and supports for juvenile justice programs in state and local jurisdictions.

Read the full story ....

NJPC Navigating the Juvenile Justice System in NJ: A Family Guide Recently
Highlighted in The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ)

The New Jersey Parents Caucus (NJPC) was recently highlighted in The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ) for our Navigating the Juvenile Justice System in New Jersey: A Family Guide which is posted on their website HERE - under New Resources for Family Involvement. The Guide and training resources are also available for download on our website HERE.
The NCMHJJ serves as the national focal point for the collection, development, and dissemination of information and resources on youth with mental health needs in contact with the juvenile justice system. For more information on NCMHJJ go their website HERE. For more information on the NJPC Juvenile Justice & Mental Health Training and Technical Assistance Program click HERE.

Fellowship Develops Emerging Professionals of Color in Juvenile Justice Reform

(Elizabeth, N.J) Kathy Wright, Executive Director of the New Jersey Parent's Caucus, has been chosen to be a fellow in the Youth Justice Leadership Institute. The Institute is a prestigious national fellowship program run by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) in Washington, DC for juvenile justice reform advocates. Applications to the year-long leadership development program-which is targeted at emerging professionals of color-are competitive, and only ten people are selected each year. Read more..

Win for justice-involved youth and their families

Now it must pass through the Assembly. Click HERE for are our recommendations to Senator Pou's bill and her meeting with NJPC's Parent & Youth Coalition. N.J. Senate approves bill aimed at juvenile offenders. Look for a follow up email from Jose.

Bipartisan consensus on strengthening federal law to reduce incarceration, make state juvenile justice systems more fair, improve public safety


Youth, family and juvenile justice advocates endorse reintroduction of bill to support states efforts to improve their juvenile justice systems, protect kids, and build safer communities


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 30, 2015) - Juvenile justice advocates across the country applaud Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for the re-introduction of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015, to reauthorize and strengthen the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA). The bill is very similar to legislation introduced last December in the last days of the 113th Congress.


Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 7, 1974, and most recently reauthorized in 2002, the JJDPA embodies a partnership between the federal government and the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia to protect children and youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system, to effectively address high-risk and delinquent behavior and to improve community safety.


More than seven years overdue for reauthorization, the JJDPA is the only federal statute that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements. The JJDPA also supports programs and practices that have significantly contributed to the reduction of delinquency.


"We are grateful for Senator Grassley's and Senator Whitehouse's continued commitment to strengthening protections for our young people who are involved with the juvenile justice system," said Marie Williams, Co-Chair of ACT4JJ and Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. "As expected, the new legislation tightens the accountability of states who receive funding under the Act and helps ensure that young people receive the protections, services, and supports they need."

Despite a continuing decline in youth delinquency, more than 60,000 young people are held in detention centers awaiting trial or confined by the courts in juvenile facilities in the U.S. For these confined youth, and the many more kids at-risk of involvement in the justice system, the JJDPA and programs it supports are critical. Youth who are locked up are separated from their families and many witness violence. These youth struggle when they get out, trying to complete high school, get jobs, housing, or go to college. Aside from the human toll, the financial costs of maintaining large secure facilities have also made it vital to rethink juvenile justice in every community.


"The bill brings the JJDPA in line with what research tells us and states know-that incarcerating kids, particularly status offenders, and locking kids up with adults causes harm and does not reduce crime and delinquency," said Marcy Mistrett, Co-Chair of ACT4JJ and Chief Executive Officer of the Campaign for Youth Justice. "This bill reaffirms a national commitment to the rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile justice system; one that supports developmentally appropriate practices that treat as many youth as possible in their communities. It is both cost effective and the morally right thing to do."


Key provisions in include:

  • Phase-out of the Loophole that Allows Status Offenders to Be Locked Up

While current federal law prohibits detaining youth for status offenses (like truancy and running away from home), youth can be ordered by a court not to do these things as a condition of release through a court order. Many youth are subsequently detained for technical violations of such a valid court order. Many states have already prohibited use of this exception - known as the VCO exception - in light of research that shows it is harmful to youth development and is costly, especially when compared to community-based alternatives. The bill calls on all states to phase out use of the VCO exception over the next three years.

  • Strengthening of Protections to Keep Youth out of Adult Jails and Prisons

Research shows youth confined in adult jails and lock-ups are more likely to re-offend upon release and, while confined, are at pronounced high risk of suffering assault and committing suicide. The bill extends the jail removal and sight and sound core protections to keep youth awaiting trial in criminal court out of adult lock-ups and ensures sight and sound separation from adult inmates in the limited circumstances where they are held in adult facilities.

  • Supports for State Efforts to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities

The bill gives clear direction to states and localities to plan and implement data-driven approaches to ensure fairness and reduce racial and ethnic disparities, to set measurable objectives for reduction of disparities in the system, and to publicly report such efforts.

For more information go to 


How to Expunge Your Criminal and/or Juvenile Record

Download the 34 page package with detailed instructions from the New Jersey Judiciary "How to Expunge Your Criminal and/or Juvenile Record" HERE.

Grassley Lists Juvenile Justice As a Top Priority-JJIE

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, lists juvenile justice among his top legislative priorities, heartening juvenile justice advocates. Beth Levine, Grassley's press secretary, told JJIE Tuesday that he considered juvenile justice one of several top priorities. "It's an important issue, so hopefully the fact that the chairman is working on it reflects that," Levine said. More here.

This is what happens when you lock children in solitary confinement -Mother Jones

One night in Match 2013, a 17-year-old named Kenny was walking with a friend through farm country in Reilly Township, Ohio. The boys had been drinking and were checking car doors in the hope of finding a little money when they came across a pickup with keys in the ignition. They decided to take it for a spin. More here.

Sure, People Are Talking About Prison Reform, but They Aren't Actually Doing Anything. - Marshall Project

In 1987, 21-year-old Paul Wright entered a maximum-security prison in Washington state for first-degree murder. Wright, then a military police officer, was incarcerated after he attempted to rob a cocaine dealer by the name of Curtis Smith. During the hold-up, Smith pulled his own gun, and Wright shot first. Wright unsuccessfully claimed self-defense in court and spent the next 17 years in prison. He was released in 2003. More here.

'Mad Mom' Gets Significant Juvenile Court Win:

Experienced lawyers thought Christene Wood was out of her mind when she mounted an appellate challenge to a juvenile certification decision—a process that allows children as young as 14 to be tried as adults for felony offenses. Read more:

Report: New Jersey Spends $196,133 Per Year To Incarcerate A Juvenile

Read the article HERE

Community Supervision: Increased Public Safety, Decreased Expenditures

In this brief tip sheet from NJJN Fiscal Policy Center and the Safely Home Campaign, we describe a few fundamental characteristics of community-based supervision programs and summarize their average costs. Download and share:

Youth Who Commit Sex Offenses: Two Research Updates
  • Two new fact sheets from NJJN lay out the latest research on the youth who commit sex offenses and the perils of putting youth on registries.
  • BONUS: Josh Gravens is a young man put on a public registry for people who have committed sex offenses when he was just 12 years old. It's cost him jobs, homes, and his college career -- but he's speaking out about it. Now he's a Soros Justice Fellow, educating legislators about the pernicious effects of placing children on registries. So if you need someone to educate legislators in your state, Mr. Gravens may be able to help. You can learn more about him in this article and this open letter he wrote to Lena Dunham.

Failed Policies, Forfeited Futures: A Nationwide Scorecard on Juvenile Records

Failed Policies
In a new publication, the Juvenile Law Center shares its findings that the vast majority of states are failing to protec highly sensitive information contained in juvenile court records, creating barriers to education, employment and success for American youth. Failed Policies, Forfeited Futures: A Nationwide Scorecard on Juvenile Records, is the first-ever comprehensive evaluation of state policies that govern the confidentiality and expungement of juvenile court and law enforcement records. Check out the interactive map and download the document here. NOTE: Don't miss the in-depth companion report on juvenile records.


Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a bill that aims to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), our country's broadest federal juvenile justice law. JJDPA The measure, which was first enacted 40 years ago--and last reauthorized in 2002--addresses four key issues for young people who are involved in the juvenile justice system: racial and ethnic disparities; holding youth in adult jails; separation of incarcerated youth and adults by both sight and sound barriers; and the incarceration of children for status offenses, e.g. skipping school, missing curfew, and running away from home.

"Reauthorization of the JJDPA is long overdue," said Sarah Bryer, director of the National Juvenile Justice Network. "It gives crucial guidance to states on how to ensure their justice systems keep communities safe and protect children in trouble with the law. Yet the existing law hasn't kept pace with what we've learned about how to do that, including new research on adolescent brain development and the efficacy -- and fiscal soundness -- of community-based alternatives as compared to incarceration."

Reintroducing the JJDPA is an important step forward. This bill marks the first bi-partisan reintroduction of the JJDPA in five years. "We recognize that there is limited time left on the 2014 legislative calendar," said Bryer. "We are hopeful that Senator Grassley will continue to see this issue as a priority when he assumes leadership of the Senate Judiciary

Reducing Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System: Promising Practices

This NJJN policy update summarizes effective, data-driven reforms in several jurisdictions (much of it supported by Models for Change) to identify key policy recommendations that may help other jurisdictions reduce racial and ethnic disparities in detention and out-of-home placements. Download and share!
  • "Violent Youth Arrests Continue to Fall Nationwide" new DataBits publication from John Jay Research and Evaluation. Between 2009 and 2013, the rate of youth violence was cut almost in half, falling from 300 arrests per 100,000 juveniles in 2006 to about 160 arrests per 100,000 in 2013. The total arrest rate for violent youth crime has dropped to a new annual low every year from 2009 through 2013.
  • Our friends at Juvenile Law Center have released a national scorecard on juvenile records, titled, Failed Policies, Forfeited Futures: A Nationwide Scorecard on Juvenile Records. It shows that the vast majority of states are failing to protect the highly sensitive information contained in millions of juvenile court records, creating barriers to education, employment and success for American youth. Be sure to read the report and share it with your community today.
  • The National Center for Juvenile Justice has just released "Juvenile Court Statistics 2011." The report describes trends in delinquency cases processed between 1985 and 2011 and status offense cases handled between 1995 and 2011. Data include case rates, juvenile demographics, and offenses charged.

Pipeline to Prison: How the Juvenile Justice System Fails Special Education Students

A special education student, Jennings qualified for extra help in school. Those services should have carried over to the justice system, but Jennings said he never even attended class while in jail. Now 20, he is still unable to read or write.

Baltimore Sun Editorial on Youth Promise Act: Breaking a vicious cycle [Editorial]

Our view: Congress can begin to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by approving the Youth Promise Act this year
3:36 p.m. EDT, July 11, 2014

For far too many young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system, an arrest or conviction for even a , non-violent offense can become a one-way ticket to a shrunken future that slams the door on opportunities for the rest of their lives. Being arrested as a teen increases a person's chances of being arrested again as an adult, and teenagers sentenced to jail are more likely to be incarcerated later in life as well. Add to that the nation's harsh drug laws and stiff mandatory minimum sentencing policies and it's no wonder America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world.

That's why breaking the so-called the school-to-prison pipeline should be an urgent priority for lawmakers seeking to reduce the billions of dollars the nation spends on prosecuting and incarcerating juvenile offenders. But decades of tough-on-crime legislation has failed to make a dent in the problem, and it's clear a different approach is needed. The Youth Promise Act currently being considered byCongress offers an alternative that focuses instead on innovative, community-based interventions that engage and divert at-risk youngsters before they slip into a costly cycle of crime, violence and incarceration.

The bill, which has bipartisan support in both the Senate and House, would fund a range of evidence-based prevention strategies that have been shown to greatly reduce juvenile crime while saving taxpayers much more money than they cost. Among the types of interventions the legislation would support are conflict resolution and gang prevention efforts, youth job training, apprenticeships, mentoring and after-school programs, and substance abuse counseling and treatment. In addition, the act would support alternatives to youth detention and confinement programs.

These interventions are based on the concept of restorative justice, an approach that focuses on the needs of victims and offenders as well the community's stake in reducing the harm caused by juvenile crime. Instead of punishment, the goal of restorative justice is to encourage offenders to take responsibility for their actions by apologizing for the harm they have caused, making restitution and performing community service. It is based on the principle that crime and wrongdoing are offenses against individuals and communities rather than against the state and that conflicts can be resolved through a process in which all stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by it and what should be done to repair the harm.

Studies have shown that restorative justice strategies that foster dialogue between victim and offender result in the highest rates of satisfaction for victims and accountability for offenders. In Baltimore, for example, the Community Conferencing Center has mediated disputes involving some 16,000 people since it opened in 1998. In each case referred to it by the police, courts or school system, a trained facilitator leads a group that includes the offender and the victim, their families and community residents. The group sits in a circle and everybody gets a chance to speak and hear what happened and its effect. After that participants are given a chance to see if they can make up with a written agreement about how to repair the harm.

If they do, and if everyone abides by the agreement, the case is closed by the state's attorney's office and no further criminal proceedings are involved. The center, which has an annual budget of about $600,000 and a full-time staff of seven counselors who each handle about 100 referrals a year, say they are able to resolve 95 percent of the disputes that come before them without intervention by the courts. Moreover, the program has resulted in a 60 percent drop in recidivism compared to offenders in the juvenile court system.

That not only spares youthful offenders the prospect of a criminal record that will follow them for years but saves the state millions of dollars in prosecution and incarceration costs. A study by the non-partisan Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that for every dollar spent on county juvenile detention systems, $1.98 in benefits were achieved in terms of reduced crime and its cost to taxpayers. By contrast, the benefits of diversion and restorative justice interventions like the Conferencing Center were between $10 and $13 for every dollar spent.

The Youth Promise Act, which would be funded through grants from the U.S. Justice Department, would enable state and local governments to greatly expand the use of such interventions as a way of dismantling the school to prison pipeline that traps too many young people in dead-end lives. At a time when Congress can hardly agree on anything else, it is something that lawmakers can support regardless of partisan politics not only because it will save the government money but because what we're doing now clearly isn't working. A new, more effective approach to juvenile crime is urgently needed. Read the full Baltimore Sun article HERE.

Juvenile Justice Schools Do More Harm Than Good, Study Finds

Education programs in juvenile justice systems across the United States are not providing incarcerated youth with the skills and education they need to reenter school and society, a report from the Southern Education Foundation finds. The report,Just Learning: The Imperative to Transform Juvenile Justice Systems Into Effective Educational Systems, found that, instead of being helped to turn their lives around, the seventy thousand youth enrolled in juvenile justice education programs on any given day - nearly two-thirds of them males of color - are falling further behind. In 2009, for example, incarcerated youth who were enrolled for at least ninety days in a juvenile justice education program failed to make any significant improvement in learning and academic achievement. Incarcerated youth in smaller facilities near their communities actually made less progress than youth enrolled in state systems, especially in southern states, where the proportion of youth enrolled in local facilities increased from 21 percent in 2007 to almost 60 percent in 2011. Part of the problem, the study found, is that such programs provide limited support for youth with serious learning and emotional problems.

The study also highlights successful programs that use approaches that have proven to be effective for many high-risk students, as well as research on an innovative program in Chicago which demonstrates that cognitive behavior therapy resulted in a 44 percent reduction in violent crime arrests as well as improvement in school attendance, GPA, and persistence among participants.

"The juvenile justice education programs that serve hundreds of thousands of students are characterized by low expectations, inadequate supports to address student needs, and ineffective instruction and technology," said Southern Education Foundation vice president Steve Suitts, who authored the study. "Students come out of the juvenile justice system in worse shape than when they entered, struggling to return to school or get their lives back on track."

Teens With Mental Disabilities Held in Solitary For Up to 23 Hours

It happened in New Jersey and is happening in Contra Costa County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. A class action lawsuit was filed in August 2013 by Berkeley-based Disability Rights Advocates, on behalf of a teenage girl and two boys, all of whom were or are still detained at a maximum-security, 290-bed juvenile hall in Martinez, Calif. At issue is Contra Costa County's policy of locking disabled kids in solitary confinement, sometimes for months in a 12-by-12 foot cell. Attorneys for the federal Department of Justice and Department of Education ripped Contra Costa County officials in charge of juvenile hall for locking up youths in solitary confinement and refusing to school them during their punishment, saying they are violating the teens' rights. The suit was brought against the county Probation Department and Contra Costa Office of Education.

Read more HERE.

$400K awarded to settle lawsuit over solitary confinement of 2 N.J. boys

Mentally Ill juvenile was kept in isolation for at least 178 of the 225 days he was in the custody of the justice commission, the suit claimed. At one point, he was locked in his cell for 22 consecutive days, allowed out only for hygiene. TRENTON - New Jersey's Juvenile Justice Commission and Rutgers University have agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a federal lawsuit over the solitary confinement of two troublesome teenage boys who were locked away for long stretches while in state custody. Some advocates for children hope the case will become a flash point in the debate over solitary confinement. Corrections officials consider the practice a needed tool, while others say it makes it harder for juvenile detention centers to achieve their goal of helping kids get better. Read the article HERE.

OJJDP - The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Releases Fall 2013 issue of "Journal of Juvenile Justice."

The Fall 2013 issue of "Journal of Juvenile Justice" features articles that focus on early diversion and assessment to screen youth out of the juvenile justice system, the lack of research on teen courts and recidivism, the effectiveness of intervention programs and mental health courts for delinquents with mental health issues, and recidivism and delinquency risk factors for male and female offenders. Other articles describe a 1-day police-youth team-building program, the impact of Internet-based mindfulness meditation/guided relaxation on incarcerated youth's self-regulation, and a critique of place-based "hot spots" policing in preventing delinquency.

Understanding Your Rights In Special Education if Your Child is Involved in the Juvenile Justice System

Download the NJPC Special Education Justice brochure -PDF (english)

New Jersey Youth Justice Initiative:

Download the NJPC Youth Justice Initiative brochure - PDF(english)

Justice for Families Report "Families Unlocking Futures: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice"

The report offers first-of-its kind analysis that details how the juvenile justice system does more to feed the nation's vast prison system than to deter or redirect young people from system involvement; and demonstrates the incredible damage the system causes to families and communities. Based on over 1,000 surveys with parents and family members of incarcerated youth and 24 focus groups nationwide - Click HERE to download the report.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Report - Family Listening Sessions: Executive Summary

In July 2013, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released content from four listening sessions conducted throughout 2011 with families who had direct contact with the juvenile justice system. The report relays key comments and highlights from participants' responses to several questions about the experiences with and effectiveness of the juvenile justice system. Common themes included the need for prevention and intervention, the juvenile justice system stigmatizing families and failing to provide adequate communication, and the positive impact when the family was involved in the process. Click HERE to access the full report.

The Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth's Behavior and School Performance: Findings from the Families as Partners Project

This brief summarizes the findings of the Families as Partners project, a partnership between the Vera Institute's Family Justice Program and the Ohio Department of Youth Services, that looked at associations between family support and outcomes for system-involved youth during their incarceration.

Juvenile Justice System Leaders and Families Agree on a Family-driven Approach to Juvenile Justice

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2013) - Today the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), an advocacy organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system, released a new report, Family Comes First: A Workbook to Transform the Justice System by Partnering With Families.

Family Comes First The report is the first comprehensive analysis of current family engagement and family partnership practices in juvenile justice systems around the country and provides practical tools and resources to juvenile justice system practitioners in undertaking a family-driven approach to juvenile justice. "This report underscores the critical importance of involving families in juvenile justice," says Liz Ryan, President and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. "Family Comes First serves as a guide for juvenile justice system practitioners to implement a new, family-driven approach to juvenile justice. "

The workbook was funded in large part by a generous grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) conducted listening sessions with families impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice system. CFYJ also surveyed juvenile justice system leaders in juvenile corrections and juvenile detention and found that families and juvenile justice system leaders agree that:

  • Basic information about the process of the court system, families' legal rights, and the role of the various players in the system is not available to families and prevents effectively addressing any treatment needs of the child;
  • Economic and social supports necessary to meet the needs of children are not available to families and prevent the full participation of families in the existing activities offered by the justice system;
  • Justice systems and agencies are not staffed or resourced appropriately to effectively support families;
  • An opportunity to participate in decision-making at all levels should be provided to families; and
  • Family supports from other families and system staff will ensure that youth achieve positive outcomes.


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