Highlights from the week’s juvenile justice and justice related articles, reports, videos and more that are worth your time.
Leaders in the Field Weigh in on the Effectiveness of Diversion Programming
Day and evening reporting centers are gaining traction as a viable alternative to detention for certain offenders in many states. Steering away from the philosophy of punishment, “they frequently zero-in on the roots of delinquent behavior, addressing issues like negative peer interaction, family problems and other pro-social bond deficits.” While this is not the solution for every offender, the results are a not only cost-efficient, but productive method of diverting youth from confinement.
Justice Department Pushes New Thinking on Kids and Crime
There is hope, and it’s coming from the federal level. Robert Listenbee, appointed to the top position in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention this past February, is striving to move the JJ system further away from punishment, and even simply behavioral correction. Having spent many years as a public defender, he has seen firsthand the need for a system that contextualizes kids’ behavior with past trauma—and is pushing to get states on the same page.
7 States Slashing Education Spending
Absolutely atrocious…Since the recession hit, seven states have cut their school spending by 15% or more. The worst offender? Oklahoma, which will spend $2,737 per student next year. That’s 1/20 of the amount spent to incarcerate a youth for a year in the same state.
Reversing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Building College Pathways From Rikers Island
Investing in education pays off—even for those who have already been sent to jail. The new College Pathways program at Rikers Island (one of the nation’s most notorious jails) is the result of finding that “lack of information and self-confidence are frequent barriers to college success for young men of color in the criminal justice system.” Inmates did not choose crime over college somewhere along the way; they just never had access to the information and support to get into higher ed.