Juvenile Justice Project

Posts & Announcements

#SchoolsNotPrisons Tour Travels California

#SchoolsNotPrisons Tour Travels California

Throughout California this summer and fall, the #SchoolsNotPrisons tour is combining arts and community engagement to raise awareness around criminal justice, school discipline reform, and public safety issues.

Georgia Juvenile Justice Task Force Shows Commitment to Parental Engagement

Georgia Juvenile Justice Task Force Shows Commitment to Parental Engagement

In 2011, Georgia resident Jennifer DeWeese knew very little about the juvenile justice system in her state. She had never heard of a Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC), nor did she have reason to believe that she would one day end up being an influential voice of personal experience in Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice. But then her teenage son stole their neighbor’s car and served more than a month in an RYDC.

The last two decades have produced remarkable changes in state and local juvenile justice systems. An overwhelming body of research has emerged, demonstrating that using secure facilities as a primary response to youth’s delinquent behavior generally produces poor outcomes at high costs. Drawing on this evidence, the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative have provided the field with models for reform, research-based guidance, and technical assistance that has transformed many state and local juvenile justice systems. In part due to these efforts, between 1997 and 2011, youth confinement rates declined by almost 50 percent. During the same time period, arrests of juveniles for violent crimes also fell by approximately 50 percent, to their lowest level in over 30 years.

The importance and value of these achievements can’t be overstated. At the same time, these trends alone are not sufficient for policymakers to assess the effectiveness of their state and local governments’ juvenile justice systems. They must also know whether youth diverted from confinement, as well as youth who return to their communities after confinement, have subsequent contact with the justice system. In addition to recidivism data, policymakers should have information about what services, supports, and opportunities young people under system supervision need, whether these needs are being met, and to what extent these young people are succeeding as a result.

The Justice Center’s Juvenile Justice Project was developed to provide guidance and support to state and local officials and other key stakeholders on what works to promote successful reentry for those youth who are under juvenile justice system supervision. The project website provides access to the latest research and recommendations for reducing recidivism and improving outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system:

  • Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: This white paper distills and synthesizes the research on what works to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system into four core principles; details lessons learned from research and practice on how to implement the principles effectively; and provides examples of how state and local juvenile justice systems have operationalized the principles in practice.
  • Measuring and Using Juvenile Recidivism Data to Inform Policy, Practice, and Resource Allocation: This issue brief highlights findings from a recent survey of the recidivism data collection practices of all 50 state juvenile correctional agencies and provides state and local policymakers with five recommendations for improving their approaches to the measurement, analysis, collection, reporting, and use of recidivism data for youth involved with the juvenile justice system.
  • The Juvenile Justice Project also encompasses the Justice Center’s ongoing delivery of training and technical assistance—through the National Reentry Resource Center—to state and local juvenile justice systems that receive grant funding through the Second Chance Act (SCA). The Justice Center is also the technical assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP). To support SCA grantees, the Justice Center runs the the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC). For more information and resources related to “what works” to improve youth reentry and overall juvenile justice outcomes, please visit the Juvenile Justice Reentry page. To learn more about youth mental health issues, please visit the Mental Health page. To learn more about youth substance use issues, please visit the Substance Abuse page.

The Juvenile Justice Project: Looking Ahead

With the support of the MacArthur Foundation, the Justice Center is engaged in two pilot projects to apply the research and recommendations offered in the white paper and issue brief to help five state correctional agencies reduce recidivism and improve other outcomes for youth:

  • The “Positioning Juvenile Justice Systems to Track Youth Outcomes Pilot Project” will help position policymakers and state juvenile correctional agencies to track and better measure, analyze, share, and use data on a priority set of recidivism and other youth outcomes to inform system policy, practice, and funding.
  • The “Improving Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Pilot Project” will engage state juvenile justice agencies in a comprehensive assessment of to what extent they have adopted and are effectively implementing the core principles needed to reduce recidivism and improve other youth outcomes, and help them to develop and begin to advance an action plan to address priority reform needs.

The Justice Center’s work in the area of juvenile justice builds upon research pioneered and supported by key partners, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative, Georgetown University’s Center on Juvenile Justice Reform, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and others. This Project is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice and the MacArthur Foundation.

Webinars

Addressing the Housing Needs of Youth and Young Adults in Contact with the Justice System

Addressing the Housing Needs of Youth and Young Adults in Contact with the Justice System

In this webinar, participants learn about current data and trends on youth and young adult homelessness; how homelessness intersects with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems; and lessons learned and promising strategies to connect youth and young adults in contact with the justice system to safe, stable, and affordable housing.

Improving Outcomes for Young Adults in the Justice System

Improving Outcomes for Young Adults in the Justice System

This webinar focuses on how juvenile and criminal justice policymakers and agency leaders can work to reduce recidivism and improve other outcomes for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who are involved in these systems. Presenters discuss young adults’ distinct needs, as well as the limited research available on what works to address these needs, and recommend potential steps that policymakers, juvenile and adult criminal justice agency leaders, researchers, and the field can take to improve outcomes for this group of young people.

Publications

Education and Interagency Collaboration: A Lifeline for Justice-Involved Youth

Education and Interagency Collaboration: A Lifeline for Justice-Involved Youth

This brief reviews research on education for youth involved in the system, details recent efforts to improve education outcomes for the population, and highlights a school-based transition program that focuses on bridging the education achievement gap for youth involved in the juvenile justice system in the state of Washington.

It Takes a Village: Diversion Resources for Police and Families

It Takes a Village: Diversion Resources for Police and Families

This brief explores juvenile assessment resource centers, crisis response centers, and crisis intervention teams across the country that address the needs of youth and connect families to resources and services without the need for juvenile justice involvement.

Recent Headlines

House Passes Bill to Improve Juvenile Justice System, Help Vulnerable Youth Find a Better Way

U.S. Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) praised the U.S. House passage of H.R. 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act. Introduced by Rep. Curbelo and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), the legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to help state and local leaders better serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders.

U.S. House Committee Advances Bill to Support Youth Opportunity, Improve Juvenile Justice System

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce recently approved H.R. 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act. Introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), the bipartisan legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to help state and local leaders better serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders. The bill passed unanimously by voice vote.