Juvenile justice reform is an
important issue for counties across the country. Research shows that
youth incarceration decreases kids’ future success in education and employment
and increases the likelihood of arrest in adulthood. Counties can reduce costs
associated with juvenile incarceration and improve outcomes – for kids and for
the community – by providing appropriate treatment and support to youth.
Through support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this one-and-a-half-day forum brought together county
leaders, staff and experts from across the country to discuss juvenile justice
reforms that are working, how these reforms have made juvenile justice more fair,
effective and developmentally appropriate, and how the Models for Change
juvenile justice reform initiative can help counties improve public safety and
support kids, even when faced with tight budgets.
Through presentations, panel discussions and roundtable
exercises, participants learned about research that explains why youth benefit
from different treatment than adults, coordinating local and state systems for
improved outcomes, meeting the needs of youth with behavioral disorders,
reducing racial and ethnic disparities, and more.
+Click here to see the full agenda.
Opportunities for Collaboration in Juvenile Justice Reform
A representative from the federal level discussed juvenile justice
priorities and how local jurisdictions can collaborate with the federal
government to initiate reform, and a youth activist who spent 13 years in
detention discussed his experiences in the system.
Xavier McElrath-Bey, Youth Justice Advocate,
The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Jones, Deputy Administrator for Progress, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs/U.S. Department of Justice
Development and Neuroscience: Why Kids are Different
Recent research provides a scientific explanation to something
everyone knows: Kids are different than adults. This session provided an
overview of the juvenile justice population, an introduction to the latest
adolescent brain science research and a discussion of how this knowledge can
and should shape juvenile justice policy.
Forensic Clinical Psychologist
Frazier, Clinical Assistant Professor and Staff Attorney, Children and
Family Justice Center, Bluhm Legal Clinic,
Northwestern University School of Law
Systems Integration for Improved Outcomes
A growing body of research shows very strong connections between the
child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This session explained how
coordinating these systems to appropriately share data and information, both
locally within your county and with state-run programs, can improve your
county’s results with this population.
Tuell, (Executive Director, Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for
Mertens, Manager, Youth and Family Services Division at Outagamie County
(WI) Health & Human Services Dept.
Meetingthe Needs of Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Disorders
More than 1.5 million youth are arrested each year and as many as 70
percent of these youth have mental illness and/or substance use disorders. This session explored the use of community
collaboration to effectively provide behavioral health services to youth
throughout the judicial process.
to Effectively Divert Youth and Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Many youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system can be
more effectively treated in programs based in the community, rather than being
formally processed or held in custody. This is especially true for those youth
who are charged with status offenses. Additionally, a disproportionate number of
young people who come into contact with the juvenile justice system are youth
of color. Participants heard about successes and
challenges in the use of diversion programs.
Ananthakrishnan, Project Director, Center on Youth Justice, Vera Institute
Ken Burn, Probation Director, Ogle County (IL)
Tiana Davis, DMC Policy Director,
Center for Children’s Law and Policy
Working with Elected Officials to Effect Change in Your County
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle discussed her role as an
elected official and policymaker, how she uses this role to effect change and
why she is an advocate for juvenile justice reform.
Justice-Involved Youth for the Future
Quality post-release supervision, services and supports are crucial to
ensuring that young people make safe and successful transitions out of
residential placement facilities and back to their home communities.
Schwartz, Executive Director, Juvenile Law Center
Kimberly Booth, Assistant Chief of Probation, Allegheny County (PA)
These are handouts that were included in attendees’ packets, plus
additional useful resources identified by presenters.