Informative Studies and Useful Documents from around the Country

Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2011-2015

The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that juvenile justice reform has advanced at a remarkable pace over the past five years.  It has prepared a report, Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2011-2015, on actions taken by the 50 states.

Reforming Juvenile Justice in Michigan

The Michigan Catholic Conference has produced a new document, Reforming Juvenile Justice in Michigan.  The issue brief analyzes Michigan's juvenile justice system and calls for actions to ensure that laws recognize the difference between juveniles and adults.  Its recommendations include raising the age for automatic adjudication in the adult prison system from 17 to 18.

Youth Behind Bars

The Michigan Council on Crime & Delinquency has released a new report, Youth Behind Bars: the High Cost of Kids in the Adult Criminal Justice System. The council analyzed the outcomes of policies that send Michigan juveniles into the adult criminal justice system, usually for non-violent offenses. It concludes that these policies are bad for youth and bad for public safety.

Juvenile Diversion Guidebook

The Models for Change Juvenile Diversion Workgroup has produced a Juvenile Diversion Guidebook to assist policymakers and program leaders in creating and improving programs that provide support to youth while keeping them out of the juvenile justice system.

Juvenile Justice Reforms across the U.S.

The National Conference of State Legislatures analyzed the juvenile justice reform activities in every state in Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2001-2011.

Recommendations of the New York Governor's Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice

In New York, a commission created by the governor has recommended raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 in recognition that youth are at a different developmental stage than adults, and that they are more likely to reoffend if they are placed in adult prisons.  Here are the recommendations.

Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag of Youth Incarceration

The Justice Policy Institute analyzed the costs of juvenile incarceration and found it to be the most expensive and least effective approach.  In its report, Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag of Youth Incarceration, the institute estimates the cost of incarceration and its consequences to be between $8 billion and $21 billion annually.

Closer to Home: An Analysis of the State and Local Impact of the Texas Juvenile Justice Reforms

Texas youth involved in the juvenile justice system are far less likely to reoffend if they are under community-based supervision rather than confined in state correctional facilities, according to Closer to Home: An Analysis of the State and Local Impact of the Texas Juvenile Justice Reforms. The report, which studied eight years of data, was produced by the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

State Trends: Legislative Victories from 2011-2013 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System

Nearly half of the states have enacted laws and policies reducing the prosecution of youth in adult criminal courts and ending the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons, the Campaign for Youth Justice reported in State Trends: Legislative Victories from 2011-2013 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System.

Community Solutions Toolkit and Resource Guide

The Michigan Council on Crime & Delinqency has published the Community Solutions Toolkit and Resource Guide to help Michigan counties, service providers, and juvenile justice stakeholders develop and improve their programs. The toolkit includes an interactive website and summarizes proven evidence-based practices and tools for implementing risk assessments, community-based programs, and evaluations. The resource guide compiles state and national resources to assist with implementation of evidence-based practices.

Nature and Risk of Victimization

The Nature and Risk of Victimization bulletin from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) covers key findings from the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement on youth’s victimization in placement, including their experiences of theft, robbery, physical assault, and sexual assault. It presents the details of youth’s reports about these victimization experiences,

Best Practices for Family Drug Courts

Children and Family Futures has partnered with leading drug court organizations and practitioners to develop Guidance to States: Recommendations for Developing Family Drug Court GuidelinesThe publication, supported by the OJJDP,  will help states and local jurisdictions implement evidence-based practices in family drug courts. The authors synthesized the results of a national review of family drug court policies and practices and the relevant research literature.

National Juvenile Justice Defense Standards

The National Juvenile Defender Center released the new National Juvenile Defense Standards in February 2013. The standards recognize the role and duties of the juvenile defender in the juvenile court system.  They seek to strengthen and guide the ethical and professional performance of the juvenile defense attorney. The standards represent a national approach to systematizing high-quality defense practice in juvenile court.

Effects and Consequences of Underage Drinking

Effects and Consequences of Underage Drinking, a bulletin from the OJJDP, provides findings from a literature review on the effects of underage drinking on youths' physical, emotional, and neurological health. It also discusses the personal, legal, and economic consequences of underage drinking.

AMBER Best Practices

The AMBER Best Practices guide from the collects the most effective and efficient strategies provided by AMBER Alert partners and practitioners for recovering missing or abducted children.

Trends in Juvenile Justice Legislation 2001-2011

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, states moved away from the traditional emphasis on rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system toward tougher, more punitive treatment of youth, including adult han­dling. During the past decade, juvenile crime rates have declined, and state legislatures are rebalancing approaches to juvenile crime and delinquency in order to identify methods that pro­duce better results for kids at lower cost. Trends in Juvenile Justice Legislation 2001-2011, a report by the National Conference of  State Legislatures, summarizes 2001-2011 juvenile justice legislation in all 50 states and describes the direction of state juvenile justice policy.

Statistical Briefing Book

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Statistical Briefing Book provides access to detailed statistics on a variety of juvenile justice topics and allows users to create customized tables on juvenile populations, arrests, court cases, and custody populations.

Juvenile Arrests 2009 

The OJJDP released the Juvenile Arrests 2009 bulletin summarizing 2009 juvenile crime and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies in the FBI report Crime in the United States 2009. Juvenile arrests for violent offenses declined 10% between 2008 and 2009, and overall juvenile arrests fell 9% during that same period. Here is the Juvenile Arrests 2009 bulletin. For a brief OJJDP description, click here.

No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration

Locking up juvenile offenders costs states about $88,000 per youth annually and doesn't pay off from a public safety or rehabilitation perspective, according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The report found that states that lowered juvenile confinement rates the most saw greater declines in juvenile crime. Here is a state-by-state comparison of juveniles in custody in 1997 and 2007.  Here is a comparison of juvenile incarceration budgets by state in 2008. Here is a comparison of state juvenile incarceration rate changes between 1997 and 2007.  Here is the Issue Brief.

Bullying in Schools: An Overview

This study by the National Center for School Engagement focuses on the connection between bullying, and truancy and low academic achievement and assesses whether engaging students in academics or extracurricular activities mediates these factors.  Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the study recommends strategies for schools.

Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice

This policy brief from the National Education Policy Center reports that children of color are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school that white students.  It finds that removing children from school for minor disciplinary issues results in students missing important instructional time and does not improve the other students' education. An accompanying brief recommends statutory code changes to improve data collection and advance discipline alternatives.

2011 Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has identified the challenges and training needs of law enforcement when working with juvenile crime, delinquency, and victimization.  The report, "Juvenile Justice Training Needs Assessment: A Survey of Law Enforcement," includes data on department training budgets and needs, juvenile justice operations, and important juvenile justice issues.

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011

This new report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics compiles and analyzes the latest data on issues related to children and families from 22 federal agencies.  it includes statistics on such things as family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment, behavior, and education. This year's report also includes a special feature on adoption.

Breaking Schools' Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement

A groundbreaking study of nearly 1 million public secondary students in Texas found that the majority of them were suspended or expelled at least once between seventh and twelfth grade. The study, by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M, also found that students who are suspended or expelled are more likely to repeat a grade and are less likely to graduate. It also showed that African-American students and children with particular educational disabilities who qualify for special education were suspended and expelled at especially high rates.

Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders Facts and Resources

Some states have recently started shifting away from those policies in an effort to address underlying personal, family, and community issues.  This document from the Coalition for Juvenile Justice lays out shifting policies for deciding when to confine status offenders and when to refer them to services.   Status offenses are acts that would not be criminal when taken by adults but  are subject to juvenile court sanctions for minors. They include truancy, running away and curfew violations.

Michigan Guide to Compliance with Laws Governing the Placement of Juveniles in Secure Facilities

The Michigan Guide to Compliance with Laws Governing the Placement of Juveniles in Secure Facilities is a handy reference guide for those making decisions about juvenile detentions.  This document was supported by a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, through the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice and the Bureau of Juvenile Justice Federal Grants Unit within the Michigan Department of Human Services.

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