South Dakota is one of many states that has put data and research at the forefront of changing juvenile justice policies and placed emphasis on rehabilitation and limiting the use of detention and out-of-home placement. These policies are not only saving taxpayers money, but are also providing youth with better support, both in and out of the justice system.
In a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, entitled "
How State Reform Efforts are Transforming Juvenile Justice
," leaders in juvenile justice from three different states spoke about the steps their state was taking in order to reduce the number of youth taken into custody and increase the availability of evidence-based services and community-based interventions.
South Dakota's rate of youth violent crime was one-third below the national average in 2013, but they had the second-highest youth commitment rate in the country. They had a high recidivism rate and youth were constantly being removed from their homes when they became involved with the justice system, despite 7 out of 10 of youth in the state's custody being there for low-level or status offenses. Kristi Bunkers, Director of Juvenile Services in South Dakota, knew something had to change.
"Out-of-home placement should be reserved for the most serious offenses. As long as we had no limits on who could be committed to the Department of Corrections, we were going to continue to struggle and lead the nation in incarcerating kids," she stated.
"As adults, we shouldn't settle for a system that treats kids more harshly than adults," Bunker said. South Dakota is moving in the direction of making sure this is not the case.
In March 2015, South Dakota's Governor, Dennis Daugaard, signed S.B. 73. Since then, the number of youth committed to South Dakota's Department of Corrections custody has declined by 63 percent, and the percentage of youth who successfully completed probation increased ten percent. Filings of supervision violations dropped by 43 percent, as 95 percent of youth completed their probation.
Bunkers emphasizes the importance of keeping children with their families and providing supportive services for families with youth involved in the justice system. "We want to empower families to make the necessary changes so they can make parenting decisions about their children and keep them on track," she said. Due to the success of the state's new programs, their one secure correctional facility has closed, and the Department of Corrections budget has decreased significantly, freeing up funds to reinvest in alternative solutions. South Dakota has now invested over $6.1 million toward developing and maintaining community-based services.
"Use data to drive your decisions," Bunker says when asked what advice she would give other juvenile justice leaders. She emphasized the importance of communicating with others so they understand the research and are willing to move toward reforming how youth are handled in the justice system.
To learn more, click here to read the full report. This is part two of a three part series on state youth justice reform. Click here for part one.
Submit Your Nomination for CJJ's 2020 Awards
Do you know someone who is doing outstanding work to improve the field of juvenile justice? Each year, CJJ recognizes leaders in the field of juvenile justice through our Annual Awards.
- The Tony Gobar Award is given in honor of a state juvenile justice specialist who has done outstanding work to improve juvenile justice.
- The A.L. Carlisle Child Advocacy Award is awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to youth, juvenile justice improvement efforts, or in the broader area of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention concerns.
- The Spirit of Youth Award recognizes and celebrates a young adult who overcame personal obstacles in their life but is now making significant contributions to society.
to nominate a leader in the field. Nominations are due
Friday, February 28th
Each year, CJJ hosts a national conference uniquely focused on improving juvenile justice and delinquency prevention systems, services, practices, and policies. Last year, more than 470 juvenile justice practitioners and advocates from across the U.S. and its territories attended.
This year's conference will specifically focus on the following questions:
- How can states and communities serve as leaders in shaping a better juvenile justice system for our most vulnerable youth?
- How can we improve collaborations with young people with lived experiences in the systems we work with?
- What can be done to build on successes and continue to improve systems so that they best serve young people, including those touching multiple systems?
- What role do advocacy and public health play as communities seek to improve services and provide for trauma-informed care that addresses and heals multi-generational trauma?
To view a draft agenda, click
To register, click
. To book a room at the Grand Hyatt Washington, click
Early Bird Registration
Dec 11 - Feb 19
$445/Non-Member (includes one year CJJ membership)
Feb 10 - Apr 30
$495/Non Member (Includes one year CJJ membership)
$185/Full Time Student
May 1- May 21
(Includes one year CJJ membership)
$195/Full Time Student
Apply Now to Join CJJ's Executive Board
Elections for positions on CJJ's Executive Board will take place on June 3rd and 4th. As part of the 2020 Annual Conference, CJJ will hold elections for the following Executive Board positions:
- National Juvenile Justice Specialist
- Serves as the primary point of contact and communication among all Juvenile Justice Specialists, nationwide;
- Ensures that the concerns and ideas of the Juvenile Justice Specialists are brought to the attention of CJJ's leadership;
- Develops and maintain a CJJ Juvenile Justice Specialist listserv and/or other Juvenile Justice Specialist resources for information exchange;
- Provides the CJJ Council of SAGs and Executive Board with regular written and verbal reports highlighting the activities of Juvenile Justice Specialists throughout the nation; and
- Regularly attends and fully participates in the meetings of the Executive Board and the Council of SAGs.
- Regional Chairs (Midwestern, Northeastern, Southern, and Western)
- Serve as the primary point of contact and communication for CJJ with members of one's regional coalition;
- Provide the CJJ Council of SAGs and Executive Board with regular written and verbal reports highlighting the activities, needs, and concerns of one's region;
- Develop, where possible, opportunities for states in one's region to host and financially support a regional coalition meeting on behalf of CJJ and provide stewardship for the development of the meeting agenda, etc.; and
- Regularly attend and fully participate in the meetings of the Executive Board and the Council of SAGs.
To apply or nominate someone, please click here. Applications are due
Friday, April 3.
Join CJJ for Hill Day 2020
On June 3, CJJ's members will have the opportunity to meet with their Congressional Delegations during our annual Hill Day.
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet in person with their Congressional Delegations to discuss the importance of successful implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and the essential role that federal funding plays in the states.
This event gives CJJ members and allies a unique opportunity to meet in person with their Congressional Delegations to discuss the importance of successful implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and the essential role that federal funding plays in the states.
In advance of these meetings, participants will be able to attend
during the 2020 Annual Conference.
Hill Day attendees will receive:
- Information about effective advocacy techniques;
- Talking points they can use during their meetings; and
- Materials they can print and leave behind with Congressional offices.
Participants should schedule their own meetings on Capitol Hill.
For information on how to schedule meetings, or if you are an individual conference attendee who would like to be partnered with others from your state, please contact Naomi Evans at email@example.com.
The President's budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021 was recently relea
sed. In it, the
Administration proposes $58 million in
funding for Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and $17 million for Title V, of which $2 million is for the prevention of trafficking of girls, $5 million is for tribal youth programs, $500,000 for a website for children of incarcerated parents, $2 million for girls in the juvenile justice system, $9 million for an opioid-affected youth initiative, and $8 million for children exposed to violence. Currently, Title II is funded at $63 million and Title V is funded at $42 million. The budget proposal also included $5.5 million for gang and youth violence education, prevention and intervention and related activities.
The proposal is the first step in the appropriations process for the upcoming fiscal year. Both the Senate and House are also expected to submit budget proposals in the coming months for FY'21, which begins on Oct. 1.
Getting The Word Out: Community-Based Efforts to Enhance Awareness of
Racial and Ethnic Disparities
February 27, 2020 at 3 p.m. Eastern
This webinar will provide Racial and Ethnic Disparities Coordinators with valuabl
e information on ways to incorporate community-based efforts and specific engagement strategies that can improve awareness of racial and ethnic disparities.
Participants will gain potential community-based strategies and learn tips on ways to engage key stakeholders that are vital for racial and ethnic disparities reduction efforts. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to learn about racial and ethnic disparities reduction efforts that are being performed in Maryland and Arkansas.
William Jernigan, Maryland Statewide Racial and Ethnic Disparities Coordinator
Sheila Foster, Arkansas Statewide Racial and Ethnic Disparities Coordinator Coordinator
This webinar is free for CJJ members. To become a member, click
To register for the webinar, click
Engaging Policymakers: How Youth Advocates are Leading State Juvenile Justice Reform
March 20, 2020 at 3 p.m. Eastern
Engaging policymakers, advocating for legislative changes, and reforming systems can be difficult, especially when there are significant barriers including incarceration. While at Green Hill School, a state-run detention facility in Washington, a group of young men have played an integral role in state juvenile justice reform. Since March 2018, this group of young men has helped pass bills that extend juvenile court jurisdiction to age 25, remove the auto-decline requirement, phase out the placement of youth charged with status offenses in detention facilities, and increase the use of community-based alternatives and enrichment opportunities in place of confinement.
This legislative season they are focusing on a bill that will provide the opportunity for youth who were automatically sentenced as an adult to be re-sentenced as a youth in the juvenile justice system. The young men believe this bill will be effective in tackling the internal issues of the justice system by letting youth who are charged as an adult to be treated as a youth and not as adults.
During this webinar, the young advocates from Green Hill School will present their impressive story of engagement with policymakers in Washington State and how they were able to effect change. Attendees will learn about the importance of advocacy within the juvenile justice system and how State Advisory Groups and adult partners can support youth advocates, especially those currently involved in the system.
Aaron Toleafoa, Emerging Leaders Committee Chair, Coalition for Juvenile Justice; Member, Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice
This webinar is free for CJJ members. To become a member, click
State Advisory Group 101
April 30, 2020 at 3 p.m. Eastern
For more than three decades, juvenile justice State Advisory Groups (SAGs) have played a critical role in improving juvenile justice systems at the state and local level. Thesegroups, also known as Juvenile Justice Advisory Committees and Juvenile Justice Advisory Groups, were first established through the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) the country's seminal legislation related to juvenile justice.
This webinar will help develop a greater understanding of the leadership responsibilities and roles inherent in serving as a State Advisory Group (SAG) member. Attendees will also gain insights from fellow State Advisory Group members about ways to have a positive impact on youth justice.
Naomi Smoot-Evans, Executive Director, Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Stacie Nelson Colling, Western Region Chair, Coalition for Juvenile Justice
This webinar is free for CJJ members. To become a member, click
To register for the webinar, click
Save the Date for our 2020 Youth Summit
Mark your calendars for our upcoming conferences!
will take place August 5-6 in Tacoma, WA.
Each year, CJJ's Youth Summit brings together young people from across the country who are interested in juvenile justice reform. The Summit aims to cultivate and empower the next generation of leaders by providing them with the tools they need to leverage their lived expertise. Participants will learn the basics of juvenile justice and have the opportunity to delve into more detail about key topics in the field of juvenile jus
tice. The Summit's theme, agenda, and content are created by the
CJJ Emerging Leaders Committee
Additional information will be available in the coming weeks.
CJJ is looking for bloggers for
to author stories and posts about juvenile justice. We're particularly interested in stories from
State Advisory Group members
or staff, CJJ
, and CJJ
, about issues at the state or local level, interesting programs or approaches, and perspectives about the course of juvenile justice reform at the local or state level. We also welcome blog posts from other juvenile justice system stakeholders. Blog posts can be between 400-750 words in length. Click
to see our other guidelines for blogs.
Suggested topics could include:
- School to Prison Pipeline
- Girls in the Juvenile Justice System
- Remedying Racial and Ethnic Disparities
- Adolescent Brain Development
- Evidence-Based Practices
- Status Offenses
- Family and Youth Involvement
- Promising Practices or Program Spotlights
If interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Reforms in Massachusetts are reducing the number of youth that enter the justice system.
In April 2018, Massachusetts passed "
An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform
," which made a number of important changes to the juvenile justice system, including raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12 and effectively decriminalizing first-time, lower-level offenses such as shoplifting, trespassing and disorderly conduct.
· A 43% drop in custodial juvenile arrests
· A 33% drop in overall delinquency complaints issued
· A 27% drop in admissions to pre-trial detention
· A 17% drop in first-time commitments to the state's juvenile justice agency
Importantly, much of the decline was driven by reductions in the use of the justice system for the kinds of lower-level offenses targeted by the law.
In the midst of this encouraging news, the report also highlighted an area where further work is needed: reducing racial and ethnic disparities. While overall system involvement has decreased for youth of all races/ethnicities, the disparity between white youth and youth of color has actually increased following the passage of the new law because involvement rates dropped more substantially for white youth than youth of color.
Q&A with Emerging Leaders Committee Chair Aaron Toleafoa
Throughout the next several months, CJJ will be highlighting individual members of our
Emerging Leaders Committee
Aaron Toleafoa from Tacoma, WA is the Emerging Leaders Committee Chair for 2019-2021
Why did you join CJJ's Emerging Leaders Committee?
A: I joined the ELC to be a voice for the youth that are incarcerated. Being a part of the ELC gives me the opportunity to speak about the experiences that I and many others have been through. Being a part of the ELC is also very meaningful to me because of how much I would like to show society and our communities that our youth behind bars are leaders.
Q: What does juvenile justice reform mean to you?
A: Juvenile Justice reform means changing the system from a warehouse to a place that youth can learn and benefit from authentic education and genuine people who care.
Q: If you could change one thing in the system, what would it be?
A: Health care. Wouldn't we all, Miss America.
Q: What advice do you want to share with other young emerging leaders?
"Keep your head up and the marathon continues."
Q: What is a fun fact about you?
I like to play basketball.
Events and Trainings
- The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) is currently accepting applications from individuals interested in becoming a certified trainer in the following curricula:
Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice
Developed specifically for juvenile probation, detention, and corrections professionals, this training provides research-based instruction that increases juvenile justice practitioner knowledge and develops and enhances skills to support effective and safe interactions with youth. More information and the application can be found on the NCYOJ
- The National Network for Youth (NN4Y) will host their seventh annual National Summit on Youth Homelessness on March 2-3 in Washington, DC at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. This summit brings together policymakers, young leaders, service experts, and other providers to learn how to respond to and prevent youth homelessness.
- Registration is now open for Race Forward's 2020 Facing Race National Conference. The conference will be held November 12-14, 2020 in Raleigh, NC at the Raleigh Convention Center. Facing Race is for advocates, activists, policy makers, journalists, artists, and organizers - anyone who is committed to building racial equity in their community and is passionate about advancing racial justice through committed and accountable partnerships with communities of color.
- The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) will host their annual National Conference on Juvenile Justice on March 22-25, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown. This conference will explore gaps in services, discover new and improved practices, share cutting edge research, and motivate participants to explore positive case outcomes for youth involved in the delinquency system.
- The Center for Children & Youth Justice will host their annual Norm Maleng Advocate For Youth Award Breakfast on April 22, 2020 at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle, WA.
- The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice is offering a Crisis Intervention Teams for Youth (CIT-Y) training March 4-6, 2020 in New Orleans, LA. CIT-Y is a law enforcement-based, crisis-response and diversion strategy in which specially-trained law enforcement officers respond to calls involving adolescents experiencing behavioral health crises.
New Publications and Resources
- The Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody released a new publication entitled, "Using Data in Domestic Violence Work: Spotlight on Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) in New York City's Family Court System" for courts to design and implement a client feedback system. This will allow courts to be able to adapt to family needs and help reduce the stress and confusion a family may feel when entering the court system.
- "Rethinking Reentry" is a new report from the American Enterprise Institute that examines our current policies for dealing with reentry to the justice system and analyzes how we can break from these current practices.
The Juvenile Justice Monitor is brought to you by staff and volunteer leaders of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and supported by membership fees paid by CJJ's State Advisory Group Members, Members at Large, Organizational Members, and allies. We are grateful to all for their ongoing support.
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
1319 F Street NW, Suite 402
Washington, DC 20004