Youth Crime Rates Drop, But Progress is Still Needed

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_149652378Over the last twenty years, the United States has seen a steady drop in crime rates, including in juvenile crime. From the peak offense era of the 1990s to today, juvenile crime arrests have dropped across the board in leaps and bounds. Robbery and aggravated assault rates have both dropped by 70% since the 1990s, simple assaults are down by 49%, and murder rates have fallen a staggering 82%. The continuously falling crime rates are not necessarily attributable to any one particular action or policy, however, which leads to some debate among activists and lawmakers over which policies are making the biggest differences to help with this issue. There are a few contributing factors, however, that do show significant impact upon juvenile crime rate reduction.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Shortages Affect a Juvenile's Right to Counsel

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_112275718At a Georgia Walmart in the fall of 2013, 17-year-old W.M. did something not entirely unusual for someone his age: he shoplifted a $2.97 set of Halloween vampire fangs. Unlike most shoplifters, however, W.M. was caught and arrested. He appeared in juvenile court just a few weeks later, but at the time no public defenders were available to represent him. The judge gave W.M. a choice: he could waive his right to counsel and move forward to finish the case, or he could come back at a later date when a public defender might be available.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Trends in Juvenile Crime

Posted by MST Services

active-activity-board-1246961In the early 1990s, rising national crime rates provoked a change in the general public’s opinion of the people committing the crimes. Juvenile offenders in particular were represented as “vicious superpredators”, fueling the perception of juveniles as increasingly unpredictable, and of the juvenile penal system as being inadequate.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

What's the Average Juvenile Offender Like?

Posted by MST Services

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Over the course of the last twenty or so years, there has been much discussion focused on the causes of juvenile crime. Studies have been conducted, people have been surveyed, facilities have been inspected, and it has all lead to at least one solid conclusion: there is no one condition that leads a juvenile to committing a crime. Instead, researchers have found that a myriad risk factors increase a juvenile’s likelihood of offending. When a juvenile possesses several of these risk factors, they interact to multiply the chances of a juvenile committing a crime. The risk factors identified by years of research can all fall under the umbrella of a few generalized labels: individual characteristics, family characteristics, school influences, peer influences and neighborhood environments.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Do We Know The Full Extent of Juvenile Recidivism?

Posted by MST Services

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Imagine spending thousands of dollars to lock up a juvenile, only to have them end up in the same position in the future. Recidivism - the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend - is a worrying statistic for justice advocates. Unlike adult recidivism, however, there are no national figures for juvenile recidivism rates.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

How Can Juvenile Probation Help At-Risk Youth?

Posted by MST Services

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Juvenile probation is a form of sentencing that allows young offenders to remain in their communities while under the supervision of the court. During the probationary period, a juvenile may be required to follow certain terms or conditions.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

The Impact of Status Offenses

Posted by MST Services

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Violating curfew, running away from home, or skipping school may not be good choices, but are they actions that should land a minor in the justice system? Perspectives tend to differ.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

How Can We Stop The School-To-Prison Pipeline?

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_41512058Suspending and expelling students from school and taking them through the juvenile and criminal justice system for minor infractions has created the school-to-prison pipeline. According to a U.S. Department of Justice complaint, officials in some schools give armed police the authority to stop, question, search, frisk, detain, and arrest students both on and off the school grounds.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Poverty Impacts Children in a Multitude of Ways

Posted by MST Services

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It’s hard to imagine that in a country like America there are children who suffer from the stress of not having enough to eat, a place to rest their heads at night, or how they will get to school. Even with all the programs developed by the federal government, poverty still takes a toll on a child’s quality of life. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

State Success Guide: MST in North Carolina

Posted by MST Services

North Carolina

How MST Came to North Carolina

In 2009, North Carolina’s juvenile justice system needed a new answer. The state had been experiencing high rates of juvenile incarceration, which started to cause significant budgetary stress on the system. Soon, budget cuts were necessary and the state began to close group homes for delinquent youth. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform