Raising the Bar: State Trends in Keeping Youth out of Adult Court

Posted by Staci Sottile, MST Project Director, Adelphoi Village

This report documents legislative victories as well as what is left to be done in keeping youth out of adult court

Twelve years ago, the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) set out to get young people removed from the adult justice system. In an effort to achieve that goal, since 2011, it has issued periodically a State Trends Report documenting legislative victories and what’s left to be done.

In that time, a lot has changed. Although, too much has stayed the same. The CFYJ laid out its findings in the recently released “Raising the Bar: State Trends in Keeping Youth Out of Adult Courts (2015-2017).

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

Georgia Juvenile Justice Reform Wins Award

Posted by Dan Edwards, President, Evidence-Based Associates

Georgia juvenile justice reform, led by Gov. Nathan Deal, wins award 

A year after taking office, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recognized that he had an opportunity, and a responsibility, to fix the state’s criminal justice system. A year later, in 2013, he expanded his focus to include the state’s juvenile justice system. Shortly thereafter, the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) partnered with the Pew Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, among others, to explore ways to reduce the unnecessary, ineffective, and expensive overuse of out of home placement of youth who ran into trouble with the law as adolescents.

Much to CJCCs surprise, many of the juveniles placed out of home had committed misdemeanor or status offenses.

governor nathan deal juvenile justice reform

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

How Judges Can Lead Juvenile Justice Reform

Posted by Honorable John Sumner, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court Cherokee County

A Georgia judge reflects on his states juvenile justice reform, and how judges can lead the effort

Our society finds itself asking why do we sentence, probate and incarcerate so many young people while forgetting the frailties of adolescents? Juvenile justice reform is occurring in many states. Often judges are the leaders or at the center of these efforts. Why are judges taking on this new role, and why are communities looking to them for leadership? It is always helpful to look back to see how we got here. We can then better answer those questions.

judges lead juvenile justice reform

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

Can Drug Courts Partner with Evidence-Based Programs?

Posted by Liz Buchanan, MST Expert, Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority

Louisiana is adding MST to drug courts. This is why

More than 30 percent of high-school students reported drinking alcohol and nearly 40 percent said they used marijuana in 2015. Using and abusing drugs as a minor has been shown to contribute to academic difficulties, mental-health problems, negative peer relationships and involvement in the juvenile-justice system. We know that adolescents and teens are hard-wired to take risks. Thus, many teens will experiment with drugs and alcohol, and will not grow to abuse these substances. But what can be done to help those who escalate from experimentation to misuse, abuse or a substance misuse disorder?

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

The Long Road to Closing Youth Prisons

Posted by Dan Edwards, President, Evidence-Based Associates

Fight for alternatives to locking kids up. Fight for evidence-based programs.

It’s often said that if a young person ends up in prison, it’s a sign that the “system” failed somewhere along the way. Early warning signs were missed, help was not available or it came too late. Often, good people and good programs were simply not available due to lack of funds.

Is there really a lack of funds, or are available funds just being spent the wrong way?

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

Pittsburgh’s Call for Juvenile Justice Reform

Posted by Melissa Golba, MST Expert

“Kids in juvenile probation are no different.” -Anonymous youth, The 100 Percent Juvenile Justice Pilot

To understand the Pittsburgh of today, you must look at the Pittsburgh of yesterday. Located at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers, it was perfectly situated to transport steel and coal from the area. Taking advantage of that, Andrew Carnegie started U.S. Steel at the beginning of the 20th century. It wasn’t long before the area was producing up to half of American steel. Working in the mines and mills was arduous work, but brought in a steady paycheck. 

Demands of business don’t always coincide with the needs of a community.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

Are Americans for Juvenile Justice Reform?

Posted by Molly Brunk

A recent survey says, yes, rehabilitate youth instead of incarcerate

So, just what do Americans think about reforming the country’s juvenile justice system? Do they think it important to switch the focus from incarceration to rehabilitation? Should something be done about the racial disparities? Should young offenders get more help for self-improvement? Is there a great divide politically over the issues?

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

Proposition 57 Is a Victory for Juvenile Justice

Posted by Keller Strother, Director, MST Services

California votes yes for juvenile justice reform  

Jerry Brown is a man on a mission. The California governor is set on shrinking the state’s prison population, including the number of juveniles caught up in the system.

That was why he threw his support behind Prop 57, one element of which would throw out a 2000 law that shunted more young defendants into adult courts. In 2014 alone, the number was 395.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

Burning Down the House at Book Club

Posted by Jamie Bunch-Sanfilippo

Not your typical summer read

When it was my month to select the book for the book club I attend, I knew immediately the one I wanted to choose. It was a summer month, however, when families schedule beach vacations, schools are out, and parents are using their saved time off from work to sit poolside, enjoy summer night cocktails, to frequent local fairs...and I pick a book about juvenile incarceration in America. 


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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

New Kansas Law Bodes Well for Juvenile Offenders

Posted by Joseph Boggs

Kansas governor signs overhaul of juvenile justice system into law

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been hounded by naysayers over his fiscal policies.

Now, with a simple swoosh of his pen, Brownback is being praised for being both fiscally-responsible and improving outcomes for the youth involved in the state’s juvenile justice system. On April 11, he signed into law a bill that puts more emphasis on treatment rather than detention.

“Being smart on crime promotes public safety and the rehabilitation of youthful offenders so that they can become law-abiding citizens,” the governor said. “This bill does just that. The legislation aligns our juvenile-justice system with what the research shows works best to reduce victimization, keep families strong and guide youth towards a better path.”

Backers say the law will lower the number of kids locked up or placed out of the home. Low-level offenders will be afforded educational, vocational and therapy programs. And juveniles with drug and alcohol problems will get treatment. kansas_no_place_like_home.jpg

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform,

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