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Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform: Alternatives to Detention and Youth Prisons

Alternatives to Detention and Youth Prisons:  2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009


  • Colorado Pilot Program Allows Youth to Request Restorative Justice Programs: Colorado took steps to expand restorative justice programs by creating a pilot project for in four judicial districts. Prior to the passage of this bill, restorative justice programs were used only at the request of the victim. Now, people convicted of a crime, youth who are adjudicated delinquent, or district attorneys may initiate restorative justice programs in certain circumstances. Youth may request restorative justice programs prior to the filing of a petition or in delinquency court. The law also established a restorative justice coordinating council to collect information regarding current programs and practices and develop a uniform restorative justice satisfaction evaluation. The council surveyed 20 restorative justice programs and found that 88 percent of restorative justice participants are under 18 years of age and the average success rate of all participants is 90 percent. H.B. 1254/Act No. 341, signed into law May 28, 2013, effective August 7, 2013.
  • Colorado Reduces Juvenile Detention Bed Cap: Colorado passed legislation to reduce youth incarceration by reducing the juvenile detention bed cap from 422 to 382 beds. A local committee decides which youth to release when the bed cap for a juvenile detention facility is exceeded. The bed cap number is reviewed regularly by the Joint Budget Committee of the Legislature and was designed to limit the number of youth in detention. S.B. 177/Act No. 88, signed into law and effective March 29, 2013.
  • Connecticut Encourages Use of Community-Based Programs to Prevent Justice System Involvement: The Connecticut General Assembly passed a law establishing a pilot program in Hartford aimed at preventing youth delinquency and violence. The program requires the Court Support Services Division to collaborate with community-based services aimed at promoting positive youth development and reducing contact with the juvenile justice system. The law also establishes a bond program to provide grants to subsidize youth employment through the newly established Connecticut Young Adult Conservation Corps. S.B. 1163/Act No. 13-268, signed into law July 11, 2013; Hartford pilot program effective July 11, 2013, bond program effective July 1, 2013, and Connecticut Young Adult Conservation Corps effective January 1, 2014.
  • D.C. Working Group Aims to Reduce Arrests and Detention: The Washington, D.C. City Council passed a law to establish the “Alternatives to Juvenile Arrest and Secured Detention Working Group.” The city-wide working group is charged with studying all youth arrests starting with 2011, including data on the number and type of school-based arrests. The legislation mandates that the working group include representatives from community-based non-profit organizations, as well as educational institutions that represent court-involved youth or conduct research on local juvenile justice issues. The group is required to submit a report to the Mayor that “develops and proposes a differential response policy, program, and budget for juvenile arrests with the goal of diverting more youth from arrest, prosecution, overnight detention, or pre-trial detention.” After the formation of the working group was delayed, a privately convened group of advocates addressed the issues raised in the legislation and submitted a report to the City Council that calls for a comprehensive diversion pilot program in the city and a centralized mayoral strategy to reduce formal youth system involvement. B20-0199/A20-0157, passed September 6, 2013; effective December 24, 2013.
  • Indiana Becomes Statewide Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Site: In 2012, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in Indiana grew from its county-based efforts to a full statewide initiative supported by an executive steering committee led by the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana Department of Corrections, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, and Indiana Department of Child Services. Eight Indiana counties began to implement JDAI in 2012 and by the end of 2013, 11 more counties were in line to join JDAI. The program received more than $5 million in state funds from the legislature, allowing the Indiana Supreme Court Administration and Judicial Center to assume responsibility for the initiative as it expanded to counties throughout the state. Indiana is one of the first states to implement JDAI on a statewide basis.
  • Hawaii — More Youth Become Eligible for Restorative Justice: Some youth in Hawaii are eligible for “informal adjustment,” a non-judicial termination of a referral to court that is allowed when a youth admits responsibility for an alleged offense and, with his or her parents, agrees to forgo a hearing and conclude the matter administratively. Now, thanks to new legislation, youth undergoing informal adjustment may partake in restorative justice programs. Restorative justice programs—which are not available to youth who are processed formally in the juvenile justice system—may be used in concert with other treatment options or services, such as drug treatment, anger management, or counseling. S.B. 61/Act No. 2013-62, signed into law and effective April 30, 2013.
  • Hawaii — Juvenile Justice Reform Project Recommends Reducing Incarceration of Youth: In August 2013, Hawaii created the Hawaii Juvenile Justice Reform Project, a new bi-partisan inter-branch working group to analyze the juvenile justice system and use data and research findings to develop specific policy recommendations for the 2014 legislative session. The group’s final report was released December 13, 2013 and recommends reducing the population at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility by 60 percent by 2019, confining only youth who have committed the most serious offenses. The report recommends that the resulting savings—estimated to be $11 million over five years—be reinvested in local jurisdictions to fund community-based alternatives, such as mental health, substance abuse, and social services. The report also calls for strengthening of reentry, parole, diversion, informal adjustment, and monitoring practices.
  • Illinois Doubles Funding for Redeploy Illinois: The Illinois General Assembly and governor doubled the funding for Redeploy Illinois, a program established by statute in 2004 to reduce the number of youth incarcerated by the state. Counties participating in Redeploy agree to reduce the numbers of youth they send to state facilities by 25 percent of the average of the previous three years. In return, counties receive fiscal support for serving youth in the community. Redeploy sites have reduced the number of youth commitments by 51 percent since 2006 and the program has saved the state $40 million by diverting over 800 youth from commitment.
  • Illinois — Alternatives to Incarceration Increase in Cook County: Illinois passed legislation to allow for targeted implementation of Redeploy Illinois in Cook County (Chicago). Redeploy Illinois offers counties fiscal incentives to provide alternatives to incarceration for youth. In the 2011 fiscal year, 40 percent of the youth committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice were from Cook County; the majority of these youth could have been eligible for the alternatives provided through Redeploy Illinois. H.B. 2401/Public Act No. 98-0060, signed into law July 8, 2013; effective January 1, 2014.
  • Illinois Increases Options for Youth to Be Served in the Community: Illinois passed legislation that gives juvenile court judges discretion to “continue a case under supervision” following a finding of delinquency. A continuance under supervision allows a youth to be served in the community and have his or her record expunged after successful completion of the continuance. Such a continuance was previously only allowed if the youth admitted to the charges against him or her prior to a finding of delinquency. Now, after considering the nature of the offense and the youth’s history, character, and condition, the judge may enter an order of continuance under supervision if he or she believes the youth is not likely to commit future crimes, the youth and the public would be better served if the youth did not have a criminal record, and continuance under supervision is more appropriate than a harsher sentence. Certain serious crimes are ineligible for continuance under supervision. H.B. 3172/ Act No. 98-0062, signed into law July 8, 2013; effective January 1, 2014.
  • Kentucky — Legislative Task Force Recommends Increased Community-Based Programming: Building on the work of a task force created in 2012 to study the Unified Juvenile Code (H.C.R. 129/Act No. 37), a 2013 task force in Kentucky studied issues related to youth who commit status offenses, alternatives to detention, reinvestment of savings from reduced use of facilities to create community-based treatment programs, and the feasibility of establishing an age of criminal responsibility, among other issues. The task force’s report, released December 19, 2013, found that Kentucky spends over half of its budget on secure and non-secure residential facilities; significant resources are spent on out-of-home placements for youth who commit status offenses; there is a lack of funding for community-based services and alternatives; and the majority of cases in the juvenile justice system are for lower-level offenses. The task force recommended expanding community-based services; focusing out-of-home placements on youth who commit more serious offenses, and reinvesting resulting savings in prevention and early intervention efforts; increasing the effectiveness of juvenile justice programs and services and improving oversight of reform implementation; and tracking performance measures. S.C.R. 35, signed into law March 14, 2013.
  • Michigan Legislature Creates Community-Based Juvenile Justice Grants for Rural Counties: The Michigan Legislature provided funding within the Department of Human Services to implement the In-Home Community Care Grant, a $1 million grant fund to help rural counties create or enhance existing community-based juvenile programming. In its first year, six rural counties were awarded funding to create evidence-based services, including trauma-informed evaluations and assessments, regional Multi-Systemic Therapy units, and wraparound and intensive probation staff. H.B 4328/Act No. 59, signed into law and effective June 13, 2013.
  • Missouri Authorizes Funding for Alternatives to Detention: After the closure of six detention centers in Missouri in 2011, the Judiciary’s Family Court Committee authorized $300,000 for use by the juvenile courts for alternatives to detention prior to adjudication. The funding was authorized in both 2012 and 2013.
  • Nebraska Expands Use of Community-Based Programs and Limits Secure Confinement: The Nebraska Legislature passed a broad juvenile justice reform bill that emphasizes treatment rather than punishment through expansion of local, community-based alternatives to incarceration and research-based prevention programs, and limitations on the use of secure confinement. The law prohibits commitment of youth to the state Office of Juvenile Services for status offenses; requires exhaustion of all available community-based services before a youth is committed; limits confinement of youth only to cases where it is immediately necessary for protection of the youth or public safety, or if a youth is at high risk for fleeing the jurisdiction of the court; requires therapeutic services and reentry planning for committed youth; and establishes a grant program for funding of community-based services. The law also converts the Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project of 2012 (L.B. 985, see above) from a pilot program into a permanent statewide initiative, giving the Office of Probation Administration more funding to provide services to youth, and leaving the Office of Juvenile Services responsible only for managing two state facilities for youth. L.B. 561, signed into law May 29, 2013; effective September 6, 2013.
  • Nevada — Loitering and Curfew Violations May No Longer Be Treated as Delinquency Offenses in Nevada: Nevada youth who violate curfew or loitering ordinances may no longer be adjudicated as delinquent, but must instead be treated as children in need of supervision. The law also reduces the number of days that youth may be held in detention or shelter care pending the filing of a petition alleging delinquency or need of supervision, decreasing the term from eight days to four. S.B. 108/Act No. 191, signed into law May 27, 2013; effective October 1, 2013.
  • Utah Increases Oversight of Youth Courts: Utah modified provisions relating to Utah Youth Courts, adding a requirement that youth courts must be certified in order to accept referrals, and allowing records of youth court proceedings to be shared only with the referring agency, the victim and the juvenile court. The law is a result of efforts to standardize the practices and program requirements of youth courts across the state. S.B. 119/Act No. 27, signed into law March 21, 2013; effective May 14, 2013.
  • Washington Encourages Diversion and Treatment for Youth with Mental Health Issues: Acknowledging the high number of youth entering the juvenile justice system with mental health problems and the importance of diverting such youth into mental health treatment, the Washington State Legislature increased diversion opportunities for youth suspected of suffering from mental disorders. The law authorizes police to take youth who have committed non-serious offenses and are suspected of having mental disorders to an evaluation and treatment facility. Youth must be examined within three hours of arrival at these facilities and may be held for up to 12 hours. The legislation also specifically authorizes courts to assess diverted youth or youth who are granted deferred dispositions for substance abuse and mental health problems, and to order outpatient treatment if such assessments indicate it is warranted, but has not been identified as net-widening. H.B. 1524/Act No. 179, signed into law May 8, 2013; effective July 28, 2013.

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  • Florida Establishes Respite Beds for Youth Accused of Domestic Violence: The Florida Legislature expanded the definition of secure detention to include “respite” beds, temporary residential placements for youth accused of domestic violence. As respite beds are less costly than secure detention, this change reduced the overall cost of detention and allowed savings to be shifted in order to provide or contract for respite beds across the state, helping youth accused of domestic violence avoid the trauma of secure detention. H.B. 5401/Act No. 2012-137, signed into law April 20, 2012; effective July 1, 2012.
  • Maryland — Legislature Mandates Examination of Detention Practices: Maryland passed legislation requiring the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) to report on how it will work to ensure that youth charged as adults can be detained within juvenile facilities and how it will reduce the overall number of youth held in detention. DJS’ report, submitted in December 2012, discussed its work with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to reduce reliance on detention, use of prevention and diversion services, use of an objective risk assessment instrument to guide detention decisions, and efforts to reduce the numbers of youth held in detention while pending placement. H.B. 1122/Act No. 416, signed into law May 2, 2012; effective July 1, 2012.
  • Mississippi Passes Juvenile Detention Reform Act: The Mississippi Legislature passed a comprehensive juvenile detention reform law, a collaborative initiative with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). The legislation addresses both placement of youth in detention (e.g., youth court judges are now required to issue a written order before a child may be taken into custody) and conditions (e.g., facilities must develop policies that limit the circumstances when a youth can be confined to a cell). Additionally, the legislation established the Juvenile Detention and Alternatives Task Force to support the expansion of detention alternatives and recommend licensing standards for detention facilities throughout Mississippi. S.B. 2598/Act No. 564, signed into law May 23, 2012; effective July 1, 2012.
  • Nebraska Expands Community-Based Services for Youth on Probation: Through the Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project, Nebraska expanded a pilot program to provide community-based services for youth on probation. Legislation expanded the program to three sites and allocated over $8 million for it from the state’s general fund. The legislation’s stated goals include preventing unnecessary commitment of youth, eliminating barriers to services, preventing unnecessary penetration of youth deeper into the juvenile justice system, using the least intrusive and restrictive means of meeting youth’s needs and maintaining public safety, and improving outcomes for youth by using evidence-based practices and responsive case management. L.B. 985 and L.B. 985A, signed into law and effective April 5, 2012.
  • Nebraska Establishes Commission to Study Juvenile Justice Facilities and Services: The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Children’s Commission as a permanent forum for collaboration among state, local, community, public, and private stakeholders in child welfare and juvenile justice programs and services. The Juvenile Services (OJS) Committee was also established as a subcommittee of the Nebraska Children’s Commission, with the mandate to review the role and effectiveness of Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers (YRTCs), including what populations should be served, what treatment services should be provided at YRTCs, how mental and behavioral health services are provided to youth in secure residential placements, and the need for such services in Nebraska’s juvenile justice system. The committee’s December 2013 report includes recommendations related to foundational system principles and a core framework for the system, legal system changes, YRTC facilities and services, and behavioral and mental health systems of care. L.B. 821, signed into law April 11, 2012; effective April 12, 2012 and L.B. 561 signed into law May 29, 2013; effective September 6, 2013.
  • New York Approves Close to Home Initiative: New York State lawmakers approved a package of major juvenile justice reforms called the “Juvenile Justice Services Close to Home” initiative for inclusion in Governor Cuomo’s 2012 budget. Close to Home aims to place most New York City youth who are adjudicated delinquent in residential facilities near their home communities, reserving secure state confinement facilities for youth who have committed the most serious offenses. Under the law, New York City is to develop a comprehensive system that ensures the least restrictive and most appropriate level of care for all youth. The initiative’s stated goals are to: create a continuum of diversion, supervision, treatment, and confinement; minimize the dislocation of youth from their families and community supports; promote family and community involvement; ensure system accountability; be data-driven and based on “evidence-informed” practices; and provide effective reintegration services, especially with regard to education and treatment services. A. 9057/Act No. 57, signed into law March 30, 2012; effective September 1, 2012.
  • Pennsylvania — Legislature Encourages Use of Evidence-Based Practice and Least Restrictive Interventions: In another move to address the Luzerne County “kids for cash” scandal, the Pennsylvania General Assembly amended the purpose clause of the Juvenile Act. The new clause states that the juvenile justice system must use evidence-based practices whenever possible. Additionally, courts must impose the “least restrictive intervention that is consistent with the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for the offenses committed and the rehabilitation, supervision and treatment needs of the child,” imposing confinement only if necessary and for the minimum amount of time to achieve the purposes of the act. S.B. 850/Act No. 204, signed into law and effective October 25, 2012.
  • Pennsylvania Establishes Justice Reinvestment Fund: The Pennsylvania General Assembly established the Justice Reinvestment Fund, funded by savings accrued to the Department of Corrections from reductions in the state’s prison population, increased diversion of adults convicted of low-level offenses, and improved efficiencies in the parole system. For the 2013-14 fiscal year, 75 percent of the total calculated savings from the prior fiscal year were allocated to the fund. A portion of the fund must be spent on programs for youth in the justice system. The legislation authorizes continued funding, at a lower percentage, through fiscal year 2017-18. H.B. 135, signed into law October 25, 2012; effective December 24, 2012.
  • Washington Encourages Use of Restorative Justice Programs for Diverted Youth: In order to encourage better utilization of restorative justice alternatives, which had not been commonly used by diversion boards, Washington State added the term “restorative justice programs” to the list of programs to which youth can be referred when they are diverted from prosecution. H.B. 1775/Act No. 201, signed into law March 30, 2012; effective June 7, 2012.

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  • Arkansas —One-Cent Sales Tax Provides an Additional $3 Million for Community-Based Youth Programming in Little Rock: On September 6, 2011, the city of Little Rock passed a one-cent sales tax increase that included, in the public safety section of the proposal, $3 million in additional revenue for prevention, intervention and treatment (PIT) programs to reduce juvenile crime. This brings the city’s annual investment in after-school and summer programs, gang intervention, youth development programs, and other treatment programs to $6 million a year. The funded programs are targeted to areas of the city with the highest concentration of at-risk youth and families. Many are operated under the auspices of local churches or non-profits with a long history of service to those neighborhoods. Funds are set aside to help build organizational capacity, program quality, and accountability. These programs have been part of the city’s annual budget for over 17 years, and have widespread support among voters because of their success at reducing youth crime. Special attention was given during the recent tax campaign to providing more job training and support for those coming out of correctional programs.
  • Florida —Legislature Expands Juvenile Civil Citation Program: Based on the success of Miami-Dade’s civil citation program for youth, the Florida Legislature required that other jurisdictions in the state create juvenile civil citation programs or similar diversion programs. The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) must “encourage and assist in the implementation and improvement of civil citation or similar diversion programs around the state.” Miami-Dade’s model civil citation program offers diversion services for hundreds of youth each year who have committed nonviolent misdemeanors. The program encourages police not to arrest such youth, but instead refer them for appropriate assessments, evidence-based services, and/or sanctions. H.B. 997/Ch. 124, signed into law July 2, 2011; effective July 1, 2011.
  • Illinois —Legislation Requires Consideration of Community Alternatives to Incarceration in All Juvenile Cases: Legislation now requires juvenile court judges in Illinois to review additional factors before sentencing youth, with the goal of ensuring incarceration is the last resort. The law states that the court may commit a youth to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) only if such commitment is the least restrictive alternative appropriate for the youth. Before finding that secure confinement is necessary, judges must review the youth’s criminal record; any results of behavioral assessments using a standardized assessment tool; the youth’s educational background, including any assessment of learning disabilities; the physical, mental and emotional health of the youth; and other factors, including whether services in DJJ will meet the individualized needs of the youth. H.B. 83/Public Act 97-362, signed into law August 15, 2011; effective January 1, 2012.
  • Mississipi — State Creates Intensive Supervision Program as Alternative to Incarceration: Mississippi’s new intensive supervision program creates community-based alternatives to imprisonment for youth throughout the state. The legislation creates slots for 75 youth in each county to participate in the program. Any youth ordered into the intensive home-based supervision program will receive a comprehensive strength-based needs assessment. Based on the assessment, a multi-disciplinary team—to include the youth’s family whenever possible—will develop an individualized treatment plan defining the supervision and programming. H.B. 420/Ch. 459, signed into law March 20, 2011; effective July 1, 2011.
  • National — Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Leads to Nationwide Progress in Reducing Use of Detention: Since its launch in the 1990s, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) of the Annie E. Casey Foundation has grown to become the most widely replicated juvenile justice system reform in the nation: by the end of 2012, JDAI will be operating in more than 200 local jurisdictions in 39 states and the District of Columbia. As of 2010, 86 JDAI sites had collectively reduced their average daily population of youth in secure detention by 42 percent. These reductions were notably broad-based, with over 60 percent of sites achieving reductions of one third or more. Much of the reduction in detention has been among youth of color: JDAI sites detained 1,489 fewer youth of color on an average day in 2010 than they did prior to JDAI, a decrease of 39 percent. Sites have achieved these reductions while improving public safety, reporting decreases in indicators of delinquency that average more than 29 percent. JDAI sites also placed 37 percent fewer adjudicated youth into state custody in 2010 than they did prior to implementing JDAI. JDAI sites have achieved significant cost savings by closing detention facilities and avoiding the construction of new or expanded facilities.
  • Nebraska — Legislature Funds Diversion Programming: The Nebraska Legislature ordered the transfer of $100,000 to the Supreme Court Education Fund to assist the juvenile justice system in providing pre-filing and diversion programming designed to reduce excessive absenteeism from school and unnecessary involvement with the juvenile justice system. L.B. 463, signed into law and effective May 11, 2011.
  • New York — State Funds Detention Alternatives and Requires Use of Pre-Trial Risk Assessment Instrument: Through the 2011-12 adopted state budget, New York lawmakers agreed to allow local jurisdictions the option to use state detention funds for detention alternatives, such as community-based supervision and treatment programs. In the past, the state has not reimbursed for such programs, although it reimbursed counties for detention use; now the state will reimburse the community-based supervision programs at a higher rate than for detention. These funds will be available in addition to approximately $8.3 million specifically set aside for counties for community-based programs. The adopted budget invests an additional $20 million in staffing enhancements in state facilities in order to improve the delivery of health, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and educational services for incarcerated youth. The budget also requires all local jurisdictions to begin using a pre-trial detention risk assessment instrument to make better decisions about whom to detain pre-trial, and to report to the state on who is being detained.
  • Utah State Agencies, Courts Create Alternative to Detention for Runaway Foster Youth: Stakeholders in Utah undertook a collaborative effort to prevent youth who leave their child welfare placement without authorization from being placed in detention. A joint effort between child welfare agencies, juvenile justice agencies, and the courts resulted in the creation of a mechanism that allows judges and law enforcement to make use of an alternative to detention called Youth Services. The mechanism—available statewide—is currently in use in Salt Lake County and has resulted in a decline in the use of valid court orders to detain status offenders. Juvenile court judges may now sign an order for law enforcement to take the youth to a Youth Service Center instead of signing a warrant for detention. Youth Service Centers provide services such as counseling in a non-locked, non-punitive environment.

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  • Louisiana — Jefferson Parish Increases Reliance on Evidence-Based Programs: As part of their work with the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, Jefferson Parish Department of Juvenile Services officials committed to developing a wide array of evidence-based programs in their jurisdiction. Because of that effort, 95 percent of juvenile justice-involved youth were referred for evidencebased programs in 2010, compared with just seven percent in 2007. Additionally, the parish devoted 95 percent of its treatment budget in 2010 to evidence-based programs, compared with just nine percent in 2007.

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  • Alabama — State Establishes New Grant Program for Community-Based Alternatives to Incarceration: In 2009, the Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) set aside more than $1 million to fund a new competitive grant program that encourages Alabama courts to develop non-residential alternatives to incarceration that are tailored to local needs. The grant program is funded by savings realized by recent reductions in the number of youth committed to DYS. The grants are expected to fuel further reductions, creating additional cost savings that will be used to increase funding for grants in future years. Applicants must clearly define outcome measures that will determine effectiveness and they must prove that the program they propose addresses children’s most pressing needs.
  • District of Columbia — D.C. Launches Lead Entities Services Coalition: During the fall of 2009, D.C.’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) launched the Lead Entities Services Coalition to provide wraparound positive youth development services to DYRS youth placed in the community. The purpose of the initiative is to provide and coordinate a wide range of services, supports, and opportunities identified for each youth through team meetings that actively involve all of the stakeholders in a young person’s life. During the first quarter after the launch of the service coalition, only 19 percent of youth placed in the community received services through the service coalition. As of the last quarter of FY 2011, over 85 percent of youth were receiving two or more services in the community. The coalition is now called D.C. Youthlink.
  • Illinois —  Redeploy Illinois Becomes Permanent Initiative and Expands Across State: In April 2009, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law to convert Redeploy Illinois from a pilot program to a permanent initiative that will be accessible to approximately 70 counties that were previously excluded because of their low numbers of delinquent youth. Redeploy Illinois reallocates state funds from juvenile correctional confinement to local jurisdictions in order to establish a continuum of local, community-based sanctions and treatment alternatives for youth offenders. Redeploy Illinois provides funding to counties to deliver individualized services such as therapy, substance abuse treatment, and life skills education. The legislation also encourages the use of restorative measures such as victim offender panels, teen courts, competency building, and community service. The law promotes the belief that youth should be treated in the least restrictive manner possible while maintaining the safety of the public. During the first three years of the pilot program, the four pilot sites sent approximately 400 fewer youth to the Department of Juvenile Justice, a reduction of 51 percent in these sites. On average, the eight Redeploy sites in Illinois reduced their commitments in 2010 by 53 percent from their baseline levels. According to the per capita cost of incarcerating one youth in the Department of Juvenile Justice, this decrease in commitments translates to a cost avoidance of over $9 million for the state of Illinois. S.B. 1013/Public Act 95-1050, signed into law April 7, 2009; effective January 1, 2010.
  • Kansas — Sedgwick County Allows Non-Custodial Bench Warrants: Sedgwick County implemented a two-tier warrant procedure to reduce bench warrants resulting in admissions to secure detention. The procedure permits judges to issue non-custodial orders in addition to custodial orders.
  • Louisiana — Legislation Encourages Establishment of Evidence-Based Programs: New legislation in Louisiana specifically authorizes commissioners of juvenile justice districts to enter into agreements to establish and maintain evidence-based programs for youth. This marks the first time in Louisiana’s history that the state has included the terminology and vision of evidence-based services for youth in legislation. The law, which was informed by the research and policies of the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, additionally authorizes spending for the programs. H.B. 701/Act 100, signed into law June 18, 2009; effective August 15, 2009.
  • Mississippi — Legislation Authorizes Community-Based Services: A Mississippi law now specifically authorizes the Department of Human Services to develop regional and community-based juvenile residential facilities and specialized therapeutic programs and facilities. Before the law was passed, there were very few community-based services for youth. Instead, youth were sent to juvenile facilities and specialized therapeutic facilities regardless of how far the facilities were from the youths’ home communities. H.B. 471/Ch. 408, signed into law March 18, 2009; effective July 1, 2009.
  • North Dakota — North Dakota Improves Services for Transition-Aged Youth: Legislation now requires the North Dakota Department of Human Services to use a wraparound planning process to develop a program for services to transition-aged youth at risk. The legislation applies to youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice or foster care systems, youth with serious mental illness or serious disability, and youth with suicidal tendencies. Services under the program must include an individualized assessment, a single plan of care for each youth, enhanced or extended vocational training, in-home support, and a statewide independent living skills curriculum for youth and families. While no money was appropriated for the program in 2009, in 2011, officials established a statewide Transition to Independence Program at North Dakota’s eight regional human service centers. Each regional center has a designated staff person assigned to provide case management services to those individuals who do not meet criteria for participation in other programs. These staff people also serve as the regional experts in transition-related issues and resources, and facilitate regional subcommittees. Each center has established a transition flex fund to be used for services no other resource can fund. H.B. 1044/Ch. 415, signed into law April 21, 2009; effective July 1, 2009.
  • Oregon — Oregon Develops Wraparound Initiative to Provide Youth Services: New legislation requires the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Youth Authority, Department of Human Services, State Commission on Children and Families, and other agencies to participate in a wraparound initiative to support the family and youth they serve. Agencies are expected to implement the initiative by 2015 through local governance structures and systems of care, support of the expansion of community-based services, and provision of strengths-based services for individual youth and families. Agencies must also ensure cultural competence in the services they provide. H.B. 2144/Ch. 540, signed into law June 25, 2009; effective January 1, 2010.
  • Texas — Legislature Creates Task Force for Children with Special Needs in Order to Address Service Delivery in Juvenile Justice System: The Texas Legislature created the Interagency Task Force for Children with Special Needs in order to improve the coordination and quality of services for children and youth with special needs. The task force submitted a report in 2011 that included a five-year plan (2011-2016) focused on collaboration among youth service providers to enhance services for children and their families. The report includes several objectives related to juvenile justice, including diversion and minimization of youth involvement in the juvenile justice system; improved assessment of youth entering the system; and improved services for youth with special needs, both within the system and upon reentry to their communities. S.B. 1824, signed into law June 19, 2009; effective September 1, 2009.
  • Washington — State Uses Data to Inform Practice: Working with the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR) constructed an Assessments Research Database, which compiles detailed information on all youth adjudicated delinquent who are screened as medium- to high-risk for future offending. The purpose of the assessment is to assign youth to appropriate evidence-based treatment, and to track the effects of treatment on attitudes and behavior. The center will develop a series of reports analyzing responsiveness to treatment and recidivism that will assist with the day-to-day management of juvenile probation, inform treatment provision, and help evaluate the effectiveness of program modifications and promising practices. Also in partnership with Models for Change, WSCCR developed the Court Contact and Recidivism Database to track recidivism outcomes and examine overlap between types of court contact, as well as the Education Research Database to evaluate Washington’s truancy process.

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