Why MST is a Restorative Alternative for At-Risk Youth

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_257175288Over the past few decades, the United States’ primary solution for juvenile offenders has been incarceration, or in other words, placement in juvenile correction facilities. However, after many studies, this way of holding troubled youth accountable for their actions may not be the best option for all. The National Conference of State Legislatures states, “Detention that follows arrest of a young person and pending disposition of the case has not only been shown to have negative consequences for some youths, it often is costly and unwarranted for public safety.” Although incarceration is necessary for some juveniles, alternative options can be just as effective, if not more.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, Multisystemic Therapy

How Covid-19 is Affecting Mental Health in Juvenile Facilities

Posted by MST Services

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With October being the month of Mental Health Awareness Day, it is important to know the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on juveniles’ mental health. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that between April through June, younger adults reported disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation, than the same time period in 2019. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, Mental Health, COVID-19

Multisystemic Therapy in NYC During COVID-19

Posted by MST Services

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Today we are sharing the story of a Multisystemic Therapy Supervisor, Melissa McGreal, in New York City during the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, MST Success Stories, Troubled Youth, Mental Health, COVID-19

Multisystemic Therapy: It Truly Works

Posted by MST Services

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Today we are sharing the story of a mother who was skeptical of Multisystemic Therapy (MST), but is now thankful for the tools she has received because of the program. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, MST Success Stories, Troubled Youth

How Judges Can Lead Juvenile Justice Reform

Posted by Honorable John Sumner

judgeOur 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.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Multisystemic Therapy Gave Me My Son Back

Posted by MST Services

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Today we are sharing the story of a mother who felt as though she was losing her sonuntil Multisystemic Therapy (MST) came into the picture. 

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, MST Success Stories, Troubled Youth

Gang Presence in Juvenile Detention Centers

Posted by MST Services

juveniles-orange-01For at-risk youth in the United States, life is often full of obstacles that make growing up a difficult road to navigate. From poverty and physical abuse to drug and alcohol use, youth often experience issues that they are still mentally ill-equipped to handle. These experiences can leave them feeling isolated. Inevitably, these juveniles end up trying to find acceptance anywhere they can they find it, and it is in these situations that they can fall prey to the influence of gangs.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Vaping: The New Gateway Drug for Teens?

Posted by MST Services

vapeOriginally created with the intention of aiding adults in quitting traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes have been finding their way into the hands of teenagers in recent years with an ever-increasing frequency. In 2011, less than five percent of teenagers reported using e-cigarettes; by 2018, that number had jumped to more than 37 percent. Despite being touted as a “safe” and even “healthy” alternative to traditional tar-and-chemical-laden cigarettes, most e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which has long been known as an addictive substance. And that’s at the heart of the issue of teen e-cigarette use, says Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “It is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health, the development of the teen brain and the potential for addiction.”

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, Substance Abuse

Imprisonment Still Legal for Under-13s in Many States

Posted by MST Services

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Campaigning for the passing of “Raise the Age Laws” in juvenile justice systems across the U.S. has become a very popular crusade for advocates in recent years, with the aim of keeping children under the age of 18 from being sent to adult prisons when they commit a crime. What has managed to fly under the radar of many of these advocates, however, is the fact that, in many states, children under 13 can still be legally sent to a juvenile detention facility for a crime. In fact, about two thirds of U.S. states have absolutely no minimum age at which a child can be found guilty of a delinquent act. This fact runs contrary to years of research that has shown young people’s brains continue to grow and change well in to their 20s, making them less competent than adults when it comes to making decisions and controlling their actions.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Youth in Solitary Confinement

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_245216204Solitary confinement is defined as the isolation of an incarcerated person for 22 to 24 hours per day; often the only interactions a prisoner can expect during solitary are brief encounters with prison guards. Evidence found in the International Journal of Offender Therapy & Comparative Criminology points to the historical Quakers as being the originators of solitary confinement, and it was initially intended to be used as a way to make prisoners take a few days to reflect on their wrongdoings. It wasn’t long, however, before solitary confinement instead came to be used in prisons as a form of punishment, sometimes lasting for weeks, months, and in some cases, even years. The first research into the effects of solitary confinement dates back to the 1830s, after the practice had been introduced to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Many visitors reported seeing a high rate of mental breakdown among prisoners in solitary, one of the most famous being Charles Dickens, who toured the facility while visiting the United States. Dickens described solitary confinement as a “slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain,” that was “immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.”

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform