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Research & Policy

Save Money, Save Kids: Why the JJDPA Matters

Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

Just this month, the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released a brief entitled Juveniles in Residential Placement, 2011, which includes data from a one-day census of the number of youth incarcerated in youth prisons or in private residential institutions in the United States.

According to this report, on any given day, 2,239 of the youth counted in residential placement are there for status offenses—which the report defines as “behaviors that are not law violations for adults, such as running away, truancy and incorrigibility.”

Newly Released Report "Safely Home" Finds That Community-based Programs are More Effective, Less Expensive Than Youth Incarceration

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

Youth Advocate Program (YAP) released new report today that shows community based programs are more effective and less expensive that locking up youth. As states continue to grapple with the fiscal impact of incarceration there seems to be smarter, more effective and less costly way of doing business. The Safely Home report highlights how youth have been safely and successfully supported in their homes and with their families in many jurisdictions around the country.

Today Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency Releases New Report on Youth in Adult System

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

Thousands of children have been funneled into Michigan’s adult prison system due to a series of harsh “tough on crime” laws on perceived youth violence, according to a new report by the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency (MCCD).

NEW REPORT - Capital City Correction: Reforming DC’s Use of Adult Incarceration Against Youth

Monday, 19 May 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

In 2012, youth in the District of Columbia spent more than 10,000 days - the equivalent of 27 years - in adult jail under a statute that enables federal prosecutors to send DC youth accused of certain crimes to adult court without judicial review, according to a new report released today by DC Lawyers for Youth and the Campaign for Youth Justice. The report cites the inadequate facilities, high risk of victimization, use of solitary confinement, long-term consequences of adult felony convictions, and failure to deter future crime as reasons to reform DC's approach to the prosecution of youth as adults by promoting the rehabilitation of young offenders and improving public safety.

Impact of PREA: Advocates Pushing For Implementation, Reform, and Transparency

Friday, 16 May 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

As we wrap up our PREA "There's No Excuse"  Week of Action, we wanted to highlight efforts across the country and give everyone one more chance to support PREA implementation this week.

Report Shows Florida Prosecutors Abuse Direct File Power

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 Posted in Research & Policy


In a recent report titled “Branded for Life,” the Human Rights Watch condemned the state of Florida’s outdated policies of allowing juveniles to be moved to the adult court through “direct file.” This policy allows a prosecutor to have unfettered discretion to move any juvenile offender under 18 into the adult court. “Florida transfers more children out of the juvenile system and into adult court than any other state. In the last five years alone, more than 12,000 juvenile crime suspects in Florida were transferred to the adult court system.” Roughly 98% of Florida youth in adult courts are there because of the arbitrary decisions of prosecutors stemming from this “direct file” process.

New Research Confirms 30-Year Trend of Poor Outcomes and Nearly Exclusive Impact on Minority Youth from Automatic Transfer to Adult Court

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 Posted in Research & Policy


Today the Juvenile Justice Initiative released a new report, "Automatic Adult Prosecution of Children in Cook County, Illinois, 2010-2012". The report finds that only one white youth was among the 257 Cook County children charged with crimes requiring an automatic transfer to adult court in a recent three-year study period, and most of those children live in predominantly minority communities in the south and west sides of Chicago.

JJDPA Matters: A Look at the Latest Data on Race and Juvenile Justice

Josh Rovner Friday, 18 April 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

Josh Rovner is the State Advocacy Associate for the Sentencing Project, where he focuses on juvenile justice issues.

This post is part of the JJDPA Matters blog, a project of the Act4JJ Campaign with help from SparkAction. The JJDPA, the nation's landmark juvenile justice law, turns 40 this September. Each month leading up to this anniversary, Act4JJ member organizations and allies will post blogs on issues related to the JJDPA.  To learn more and take action in support of JJDPA, visit the Act4JJ JJDPA Matters Action Center, powered by SparkAction.
 The remarkable drop in juvenile arrest rates since the mid-1990s has done little to mitigate the gap between how frequently black and white teenagers encounter the juvenile justice system. These racial disparities threaten the credibility of a justice system that purports to treat everyone equitably.
 
Across the country, juvenile justice systems are marked by disparate racial outcomes at every stage of the process, starting with more frequent arrests for youth of color and ending with more frequent secure placement.

Status Offenses Don't Deserve Detention

Monday, 24 March 2014 Posted in Research & Policy

This post is part of the JJDPA Matters blog, a project of the Act4JJ Campaign with help from SparkAction. The JJDPA, the nation's landmark juvenile justice law, turns 40 this September. Each month leading up to this anniversary, Act4JJ member organizations and allies will post blogs on issues related to the JJDPA. To learn more and take action in support of JJDPA, visit the Act4JJ JJDPA Matters Action Center, powered by SparkAction.

This piece originally appeared on The Hill and is reprinted here with permission.
The event highlighted the need to both reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA), and to have an educated judiciary.

On March 12th, I had the chance to speak at a Capitol Hill Roundtable hosted by the National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges, in conjunction with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

The JJDPA provides core protections for children who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, Congress has not acted to reauthorize this legislation in more than a decade.

Among the JJDPA’s key provisions is an assurance that children who commit so-called “status offenses” are not placed in secure detention. Status offenses include behaviors such as coming home after curfew, skipping school, and running away from home. They are behaviors that constitute a crime only because the person committing them is younger than 18.

From Courts to Communities: The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses

Monday, 23 December 2013 Posted in Research & Policy

 

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“Status offenses” can sound like a scary concept, but in reality, status offenses are simply behaviors that are prohibited because of an individual’s legal standing as a minor. They can be things like running away or skipping school, or under-age drinking. While these youth need help, the problem is that the court system is often not the most appropriate place for these cases to be handled.

 

Like most aspects of juvenile justice, it can be difficult to even know where to begin to stem the tide of these types of cases. Fortunately, a new paper from the released by the Status Offense Reform Center at the Vera Institute of Justice called “From Courts to Communities:  The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses” aims to increase understanding about what status offenses are and what possible solutions look like in the real world.
 

 

The good news is that there are alternatives that work – states like Florida, New York, Louisiana, and Washington have taken incredible steps forward. And they aren’t alone. Across the country, communities are implementing alternatives that involve diverting youth from courts, immediate responses to families in crisis, and other hallmarks of effective systems. 
 

 

Want to learn more? Check out “From Courts to Communities” today to learn more about status offenses and the strategies that are working around the country today to achieve better outcomes for youth!


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