Home News Center Youth Justice Reform Roundup | January, 2014

Youth Justice Reform Roundup | January, 2014

January 9, 2014
Zoe Schein


  • This week, the U.S. Department of Education released guidelines for safe, effective, and nondiscriminatory school discipline practices. The guidelines provide recommendations for the role of school resource officers or school safety officers in schools. The guidelines are intended to curb the disturbing trend of students -- especially students of color and students with disabilities -- being pushed out of school by overly punitive disciplinary measures. Read the new federal guidelines here. (See also this interview with Deborah Fowler (at right), of NJJN member Texas Appleseed, who was interviewed about the new guidelines on NPR's All Things Considered.)
  • The Vera Institute of Justice recently released a policy brief on zero-tolerance policies in schools titled, "A Generation Later: What We've Learned About Zero Tolerance in Schools." The brief summarizes research that indicates that not only do zero-tolerance policies not make schools safer, they may in fact have the opposite effect, not to mention the long-term negative consequences for students pushed out of schools and into the justice system.
  • The New York Times criticized zero-tolerance school discipline policies last week. The paper's editorial gives an overview of the harmful consequences of these policies and highlights recent efforts at school discipline reform in Texas, California, and Florida. 
  • A coalition of advocates and organizations in New York -- including our member, the Correctional Association of New York, have put together an awareness campaign to help raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in New York State. Currently, New York is one of only two states that prosecutes all 16-year-olds as adults. Learn more about the Raise the Age NY campaign, and check out this video, which describes the just how harmful the existing policies can be. 
  • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released a bulletin titled, "Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth," which examines the findings of a study that tracked youth for three years after their release from a Chicago-area youth detention facility. The bulletin examines the degree to which youth in trouble with the law -- especially male youth of color -- struggle in the school, work, home, and community settings, long after release. The findings underscore the fact that failure to provide effective rehabilitation services during detention and after release creates ongoing costs for society, and for the youth themselves.
  • On Jan. 22, at 2 pm - 3:30 pm EST, OJJDP and the National Center for Youth in Custody (NCYC) will present “Isolation Practices With Vulnerable Populations: Impact and Alternatives,” the first webinar in the series “Improving Conditions of Con"nement for Vulnerable Populations.” While isolation is harmful and traumatic for any youth, it can be particularly traumatic for youth with disabilities and for youth who have experienced physical, sexual, or other forms of abuse. This Webinar will look at the impact of isolation practices on these vulnerable populations and identify appropriate alternatives. Register here.
  • On February 6, at 2 pm EST, OJJDP, in collaboration with the National Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center, will present "Drilling Down: An Analytical Look at EBP Resources." This 90-minute webinar will focus on evidence-based practice (EBP) resources available to juvenile justice and youth service professionals. Panelists will discuss ways to apply EBP to daily work in the field and how to be critical consumers of research evidence. Register here

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