Posts Tagged by juvenile justice system
|October 2, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research, Youth Development||
The Pathways to Desistance study is a large-scale, longitudinal study that followed a cohort of juvenile offenders (all found guilty of a felony or serious criminal offense) from the Phoenix, Arizona and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas into young adulthood (up to seven years post adjudication). The principal researcher, Edward P. Mulvey, of the University of Pittsburgh, recently published a brief discussing some of the updated findings from the study. Highlights include:
- The trajectory of a youth’s future criminal activity cannot be predicted by the type of offense that brought him or her to the attention of the court.
- Institutional placement of an adjudicated juvenile does not decrease recidivism and in some cases may increase the risk of re-arrest.
- Substance abuse treatment is linked to better outcomes for youth offenders, but it may not be available or of the intensity and/or duration required.
The policy implications of these, and other, findings are discussed in the National Juvenile Justice Network’s September 2012 brief, Emerging Findings and Policy Implications from the Pathways to Desistance Study.
What (if any) impact will these findings have on justice system policies? Given the school-to-prison pipeline investigation(s), will the data on recidivism and incarceration influence a slightly less legalistic approach to maintaining order in public schools? What is it about quality substance abuse treatment that has a stronger impact on juvenile re-offending than the fear returning to a correctional institution?
|June 17, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, News||
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has awarded organizations in Luzerne County $2.16 million in grants to fund programming for area youth. The monies come from restitution payment from a defendant in the in the case fixing or “kids for cash scandal” that drew the attention of the FBI, shook public confidence in court system officials and led to additonal procedural protections for youth in the juvenile justice system.
Seventeen programs were chosen out of a pool of over 50 proposals, including projects from Luzerne County Head Start, the Domestic Violence Service Center, Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the creation of a new Luzerne County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. Individual award amounts and project details are included in a press release from PCCD, also available on their website.
|March 22, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research||
This week the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the constitutionality of sentencing juveniles as young as 14 years old to life imprisonment without parole. As of 2009, 2,589 inmates serving life without parole sentences in the United States were less than 18 years of age when they committed their crime, 17 percent of them in Pennsylvania.
An infographic from Amnesty International displays additional descriptive data on juveniles sentenced to life without parole, including the fact that for nearly 60 percent of the sample, the sentence was given for their first criminal conviction.
If you are interested in learning more about this subset of the prison population, The Lives of Juvenile Lifers: Findings from a National Survey by Dr. Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project is an excellent examination of the environment, history and nature of the crimes committed by youth currently serving sentences of life without parole. Findings include, histories of exposure to violence, physical and sexual abuse, racial disparities in sentencing, and the inability to attend prison programming due to lifer status. A complete copy of the report is available at The Sentencing Project website.
This report, in addition to the headlines around the current Supreme Court case and the memory of the travesty in Luzerne County, have only crystallized for me the complete transformation of the juvenile justice system from one created to reform a system characterized by harsh punishments and little distinction between youth and adult offenders, to the punitive one operating today.
|December 7, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research||
Not too long ago the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania came under severe scrutiny after a shocking scandal involving the violation of the rights of juveniles in Luzerne County (including monetary kickbacks to judges from private detention centers). More recently, the issue of maltreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender juveniles in juvenile detention have drawn media attention as reports of such abuse increase.
The report No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration by Richard A. Mendel from the Annie E. Casey Foundation illustrates the high cost but low return of the current juvenile justice system in the United States. Researchers found little evidence of increased public safety or reduced recidivism among juveniles after release detention, although the cost of incarceration to taxpayers was just under $90,000 per youth, per year.
Highlights from the report include,
- within 3 years of release, approximately ¾ of juveniles were rearrested;
- few juveniles are confined for serious offenses – in 2007, 12 percent of the nearly 150,000 youth adjudicated to residential programs by courts had committed aggravated assault, robbery, rape, or homicide;
- while there was a 24 percent reduction in juveniles sent to residential facilities or secure institutions between 1997 and 2007, this did not result in an increase in the juvenile crime rate during that same period (it decreased);
- recurring abuse or maltreatment was identified and documented by state and/or federal government or media investigation in 20 states since the year 2000.
According to report data, the number of youth in juvenile detention in Pennsylvania increased 15 percent, from 3,120 in 1997 to 3,618 in 2007, while the national total decreased by 25 percent from 75,406 to 60,426 during the same time period. Information about the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania may be found at the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission website.
|October 19, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Program Model, Research||
Findings from the Pathways to Desistance Study out of the University of Pittsburgh, one of the largest current collaborative longitudinal studies in the United States to follow juveniles post-adjudication, indicate that youth offenders tend to decrease their level of criminal behavior over time, no matter the intervention applied. In the brief, Highlights from Pathways to Desistance: A Longitudinal Study of Serious Adolescent Offenders, principle researcher Edward P. Mulvey discusses other key findings of the study including,
- less drug and alcohol use and a higher level of stability in daily life are factors that differentiate serious juvenile offenders who have stopped offending from those who continue criminal behavior;
- recidivism is not reduced by sentencing juveniles to longer terms in institutions;
- in the short term, drug and alcohol treatment does reduce substance abuse and criminal activity.
|July 13, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Juvenile Delinquency, Program Model, Youth Development||
It is not uncommon for school-age children to experience temporary lulls in their enthusiasm toward school or schoolwork. However, if such disengagement from school continues, parents and teachers should not hesitate to explore the reasons behind such a shift in attitude. The issue of truancy, or a student’s absence from school without an approved excuse, is of growing concern to juvenile justice professionals as it potentially leads to more serious risk-taking behaviors. Habitual truancy may have a severe impact on the trajectory of a youth’s life.
An article from Education.com by the National Center for School Engagement (NCSE) reports on the most promising efforts to address and prevent truancy among school-age youth. The piece, Effective Strategies for Working with Truant Youth, provides a meta-analysis of sorts from evaluations of numerous truancy programs nationwide, arriving at the conclusion that meaningful alternative interventions with truant youth are more effective and cheaper than the detention option. The authors also discuss the need for court, agency and community partnerships, and include a list of court-ordered activities (sanctions/rewards) related to truancy reduction goals.
If you work with youth and are interested in additional resources for best practices in addressing truancy, visit the National Center for Criminal Justice Resources web site for the latest research, including a report on truancy reduction demonstration programs.