This program provides funding for research and program evaluation projects that inform efforts to prevent and reduce gang activity, violence, and victimization in the United States.
Juvenile Justice Project
Posts & Announcements
The program aims to provide support to organizations as they strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities with active chapters, subawardees, and/or other mentoring organizations. Mentoring activities include direct one-on-one, group, peer, or a combination of these types of mentoring services for at-risk and high-risk youth populations.
The purpose of this grant program is to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance addiction and its related problems while strengthening prevention capacity and infrastructure at the community level for people aged 9 to 20.
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.
The presenters of this webinar discuss overcoming the challenges to effective community engagement and explore ways to increase the number of juvenile record clearances.
This webinar explores ways that juvenile defenders and civil legal aid attorneys can partner to share expertise and provide essential legal representation for youth facing the collateral consequences of having criminal records.
In 2017, states around the country saw changes to their juvenile record clearance laws. This webinar explores the various state reforms that took place during the year. Attendees hear directly from state advocates who discuss what it took for their state to expand its juvenile record clearance laws.
This publication sets forth ten steps needed to transform the current juvenile justice system into one that both protects public safety and improves outcomes for the young people it serves.
These recommendations for the 116th Congress highlight six main areas where action can be taken to promote safe communities, ensure the welfare of children, and guarantee a fair and equitable justice system.
This report examines the links between mass incarceration and health equity by pairing data with examples of successful approaches, showing how mass incarceration negatively impacts health and well-being and suggesting solutions for reducing both incarceration and crime rates.
Prisoners report past abuse at rates up to twice that of the general population. Youth who get caught up in the criminal justice system have experienced chronic trauma at rates triple those of youth in the general population. A study of people who spent time in prison, conducted by sociologist Bruce Western, found that 42 percent had witnessed a violent death as children.
Years after serving time as a youth offender, the photographer Brian L. Frank has devoted himself to documenting young men’s experiences with the criminal justice system. In “Out of Bounds: Coming of Age in Gang Territory,” he takes an intimate look at the effect of targeted policing on minority youth in the Central Valley of California, where the children of agricultural workers and former factory workers have few opportunities.
“We used to send 3,800 kids to the state system. Now we send none,” said Vincent Schiraldi, senior research scientist and co-director of the Columbia University Justice Lab. Schiraldi said crime also went down.