Pennsylvania has plans to join a growing list of states that have used data and research to inform significant changes to their juvenile justice systems and improve policy and practice. In December, Pennsylvania's Governor, Tom Wolf announced that the state will create a Juvenile Justice Task Force to examine the existing juvenile justice system and identify ways to improve public safety while saving taxpayer dollars. The Pew Charitable Trusts will provide technical assistance to the task force.
Related initiatives in other states have proven successful. Since 2012, Pew has helped 8 states, including Kansas, South Dakota and Hawaii, examine their data and identify ways to, among other things, limit the length of confinement, focus out-of-home placements on youth who pose the greatest public safety risk, and reinvest the savings from these reforms into interventions that are evidence-based and keep young people in their communities.
A new report from Pew examines " How State Reform Efforts Are Transforming Juvenile Justice." In the report, current and former heads of three juvenile justice agencies describe their experiences with state-level, interbranch, bipartisan juvenile justice systems reform. This three- part series in the Monitor will look at the challenges, successes, and lessons learned, as described in the report.
: In 2013, the Hawaii Juvenile Justice Working Group discovered that it was costing taxpayers $200,000 to confine a young person in the state's correctional facility. This costly practice was having poor outcomes in terms of recidivism, with three out of four young people coming back into contact with the justice system within three years of their release. A study, meanwhile, had shown that native Hawaiians and other youth of color were disproportionately represented in that system.
"We were all in different silos and we weren't working closely with each other in ways that would allow us to more effectively help our young people," said Merton Chinen, Executive Director of Hawaii's Office of Youth Services.
As part of its system overhaul, Hawaii changed its probation practices, training officers to work with young people more holistically to provide behavioral interventions and support systems. "Staff," Chinen explained, "are given more options to support youth in their decision making, emphasizing reinforcement with earned discharge credits as well as verbal praise and tangible incentives. These relationships, these human connections, are at the heart of our approach." Other significant reforms included focusing use of out-of-home placement on youth adjudicated for serious offenses, expanding and clarifying options for short-term community-based alternatives to placement, and expanding diversion from system involvement.
Since implementing reforms, Hawaii has seen a 66 percent reduction in the number of young people placed in secure detention.
"It's hard work, committed work, and every day is a new adventure. You have to build trust. The relationships are critical. We need to support each other in doing the best we can," Chinen said of the lessons learned from Hawaii's reforms.
To read the full report click here.
Preference will be given to proposals that:
- Highlight State Advisory Group (SAG) programs, policy work, or engagement strategies.
- Involve efforts to meaningfully partner and engage with young people.
- Are interactive and do not require the use of PowerPoint.
Workshop proposals are due
Friday, January 31, 2020
. To submit a workshop proposal, click
. To view the call for proposals, click
Register Today for the 2020 Annual Conference, "Dreaming Big Together: Youth Justice Reimagined"
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 register, click
. To book a room at the Grand Hyatt Washington, click
Early Bird Registration
Dec 11 - Feb 9
$445/Non Member (Includes one year CJJ membership)
$175/Full Time Student
Feb 10 - Apr 30
$495/Non Member (Includes one year CJJ membership)
$185/Full Time Student
May 1- May 21
$565/Non Member (Includes one year CJJ membership)
$195/Full Time Student
Family First Prevention Services Act and Juvenile Justice
January 23, 2020 at 3 p.m. Eastern
Youth involved in child welfare systems are more likely to experience justice system involvement, particularly youth placed in group care, who face a 2.5 times greater risk of delinquency charges.
Family First Prevention Services Act
passed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892). Family First makes changes to how funding under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (the most significant federal funding stream for child welfare) may be used, with the goals of encouraging greater use of preventative services and discouraging the inappropriate use of group care.
This webinar will discuss the implications of the Family First Prevention Services Act on juvenile justice, as well as how juvenile justice advocates and State Advisory Groups can support efforts to achieve better outcomes for youth while guarding against potential unintended consequences.
Senior Consultant, Coalition for Juvenile Justice
, Vice President, National Advocacy and Public Policy,
Boys Town, and DC SAG member
This webinar is free to CJJ members. To become a member, click
To register for the webinar, click
for more information on upcoming events and webinars.
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 email@example.com for more details.
Tucson Arizona is home to the majestic Saguaro cactus, the University of Arizona Wildcats, and the original juvenile justice system improvement site in Arizona.
In 2004, the Pima County Juvenile Court joined the Annie E. Casey's Foundation's national Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) efforts, to reduce the use of secure confinement and reform the juvenile justice system. Since that time, the Pima County Juvenile Court has decreased the use of secure detention by 82% without sacrificing public safety. These reductions are due to a variety of intentional efforts, which include: the development of objective admissions criteria, detention alternatives, training for juvenile court staff and a variety of changes to practice and policy.
For the past 15 years, the Pima County Juvenile Court has remained dedicated to prioritizing the work of identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disparities with an emphasis on using data and collaboration. In 2019, the data led their efforts to focus on specific zip codes where African American youth were overrepresented in referrals and violations of probation. As a result, the Palo Verde Neighborhood Collaborative, an existing structure specifically designed to support the efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, partnered with nearly 60 agencies/groups/community members to host a community outreach event. The goals of the project were to
strengthen the community by building relationships,
connect youth and families to community resources, and
reduce referrals from law enforcement and school-based arrests.
Community volunteers, local entertainment, youth leaders and juvenile court staff served nearly 500 attendees in the park on June 1st. The event was made possible by the support of the Arizona Supreme Court, the Tucson Police Department, Gap Ministries, Goodwill of Southern Arizona, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and a variety of additional local organizations who donated everything from face painting to backpacks and school supplies.
To evaluate the outcomes of the event, the juvenile court research department compared the quarter following the event to the same quarter in the previous year in the target zip codes and reported the following:
- 18% reduction in school-based arrests for African American youth
- 20% reduction in violations of probation for African American youth.
Although reductions cannot solely be attributed to the event, this is certainly a cause for celebration and an example of what is possible through authentic collaboration. The leadership at the Pima County Juvenile Court recognizes that system improvement work is ongoing. They remain committed to using data to identify challenges, monitor outcomes and to collaborating with community and system partners to improve outcomes for youth and families.
These efforts were highlighted during CJJ's 2019 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Conference and are featured here.
Events and Trainings
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
Crisis Intervention Teams for Youth
The standard Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training offered to most police officers focuses primarily on response techniques for adults. While there are some general similarities between adults and youth, there are important and unique distinctions that require specialized knowledge and training. CIT-Youth (CIT-Y) trains police officers on response techniques that are appropriate for youth with behavioral health needs. More information and the application can be found on the NCYOJ
- The Vera Institute of Justice invites the submission of papers to an interdisciplinary symposium exploring the use of incarceration in the United States. Submissions should include an abstract of 150-500 words and a brief biographical statement and CV. Please submit all materials by February 9, 2020. The symposium will be held April 16-17, 2020 in New York City, New York.
The National Association of Counsel for Children is accepting proposals to present at NACC's annual conference to be held August 24-26, 2020 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. This year's theme is Cross-Sector Advocacy, which means in addition to hot topics in child welfare law and practice, we'll be examining the intersectionality of the child welfare system with juvenile justice, homeless youth, and other sectors. The deadline to submit abstracts is February 2, 2020.
- 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 Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice recently released the Alternative Response Initiative Workbook. This publication complements their newly launched Alternative Response Initiative (ARI), which supports state and local jurisdictions in their efforts to develop or enhance their system of alternative responses to formal prosecution.
- OnTrack is a free resource for high school students to prepare them for post-secondary education and help them navigate the application process and financial aspects of their education. They have video curriculums for students in grades 9-12 and an online workshop series for students in grades 7-12. Workshops are currently being scheduled for late Spring and early Summer 2020. Online curriculums have no capacity limitations.
- Ceres Policy Research has partnered with three counties in Ohio, three counties in New York, and the state of Connecticut to use the collection of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) data within court and probation department case management systems as an opportunity to affirm all aspects of youth identity. Their new practice guide details methods for collecting SOGIE data, training staff, and developing new written policies.
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