Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by Cecilia Bianco

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Events

Jobs

New Common Justice Issue Brief Examines Need for Victim Services

by Cecilia Bianco

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 4.30.05 PMAmong all of the discussions regarding inequities in our legal system, there is one impacted group that is continually left out—survivors of violence and trauma. Common Justice—a Vera Institute of Justice victim service and alternative-to-incarceration program—recently released an issue brief to spark efforts to change this: Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in Our Response to Violence.

Common Justice released this brief to raise awareness of this “often overlooked” group of victims, who are often young men of color, and to inspire further local and nationwide efforts to provide the support and services this group needs.

The brief provides background and history of this group and the issues surrounding them, why this matters for juvenile justice, the barriers to support for victims, and suggestions for future improvements. Highlights of the brief include the following:

  • Data from 1996 through 2007 revealed that young black men were the most likely to be robbed every year, most likely to be victimized by violence overall in six of the 11 years, and second most likely to be victimized in four of the 11 years.
  • Victims of violence experience negative, lasting impacts in regard to health, education, employment, finances, and future safety.
  • Stark misperceptions about what a “victim of crime” is among this group contributes to the lack of support. A 2008 Vera study: “When asked broadly if they had been “victims of crime,” they all responded no. However, when asked whether they had “had something taken from them by force or been robbed,” nine of the 10 [study participants] said yes.”
  • Current victim services lack access to services for primary needs (as determined by victims), which include “help securing employment, getting back to school or into GED programs, and developing tools to end the gang involvement or resolve the neighborhood-based conflicts that put them in harm’s way.”
  • Negative experiences with law enforcement significantly reduce likelihood that a victim will report the crime; the most recent study revealed that unreported violent crimes increased by 130 percent from 2011-2012.

Efforts to improve services and support provided to victims of crime and trauma are growing—especially for young men of color. In the last few years, a number of programs and platforms have surfaced that are dedicated to this issue, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise initiative, the National Network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs, the Institute for Black Male Achievement, and the White House’s recently launched My Brother’s Keeper.

Common Justice is also developing a learning collaborative for people and organizations who are or could be working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence.

For more information, read the nine-page brief and visit the Common Justice website.

No More Solitary Confinement for Adolescent Inmates in NYC; News Roundup

by Cecilia Bianco

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Expert: Juvenile Justice Report Will Spur Reform at Rikers Island (The Forum News Group)
    “This reform will promote better behavior, psychological health and emotional well-being among our youngest inmates while lessening violence,” Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said. “It represents best practices and the least restrictive environment, allowing us to respond more appropriately to the special needs of this troubled population, and help them re-integrate into the community when they leave our care and custody.”
  • MacArthur Lauds Juvenile Justice Reformers (JJIE)
    In a written letter to the award recipients, MacArthur Foundation interim President Julia Stasch said: “No movement proceeds on the strength of research alone. Reform is animated by the passion and tenacity of the people who make a cause their cause.”

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awards $1.35 million grant to Legal Action Center (Globe NewsWire)
    Through a $1.35 million grant over three years from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, LAC and its partners will evaluate how the full range of adolescent prevention and early intervention services are being offered and to what extent insurers are implementing these services. They also will educate service providers about federal confidentiality requirements crucial to encouraging youth to seek services.
  • LifeWise panel sheds light on youth alcohol abuse (Salt Lake City Weekly)
    Nebraska may offer the good life, but depending on which survey one is reading, its youth now rank from second to the fifth highest in the nation for binge drinking, higher than its surrounding Midwest states.

 

El Paso Teens Build Thanksgiving Float that Earns Community Recognition

by Susan Richardson

More than 250,000 people watched and cheered from the sidelines at the annual Thanksgivingangrybirds Sun Bowl Parade in El Paso, Texas, where more than 100 “gaming mania” themed parade floats, marching bands, giant helium balloons, equestrian units and more glided down the street. Among them, the Challenge Explorers Float, whose Angry Birds themed float took home the Governor’s Award for Best Presentation of the Parade’s Theme.

The teens who constructed the Challenge Explorers Float from the ground up are part of El Paso County’s Challenge Academy, a residential Reclaiming Futures program that is part of its continuum of care and an extension of El Paso’s pro-social activities for youth. These young men and women have been through the juvenile justice system, and oftentimes do community service as part of the Academy’s activities. Building a parade float—from concept development to construction to walking in the parade—offered participants the opportunity to get involved in their local community, and collaborate with staff and family.

“Oftentimes these kids have been outcasts most of their lives, and don’t know what it’s like to be a part of something bigger and be successful at it. To start a project from nothing, come together as a unit and produce a product that wins awards is instrumental in building self-confidence,” says Director of the Challenge Academy, Sam Heredia.

angrybirds2

El Paso’s Juvenile Probation Department was extremely involved and committed to fundraising, coordinating activities throughout the year like selling popcorn, candy gram sales and ice cream float gatherings to raise money for materials and construction. Families of the teens also got involved as part of the Academy’s family reintegration program, donating supplies and working alongside them to build the award-winning float. The collaborated effort meant that not a dime of taxpayer or county money was spent.

Roger Martinez, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, explains: “This initiative is an example of our response to the A&E show Beyond Scared Straight. We’re learning more and more through programs like the El Paso County Challenge Academy that positive reinforcement actually has a longer lasting impact. In this case, these teens were acknowledged in a positive way by their community, which has the potential to change their mindsets and lead them to become active community members once more.”

Since its inception in 2008, El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center has embraced Reclaiming Futures’ systems change approach through community collaborations and partnerships, which have served juvenile justice youth and families through continued services beyond treatment. These collaborations have expanded to include collaboration with the local FBI Office, Homeland Security and the Sheriff’s Department, in which members of these agencies volunteer their time to act as mentors to youth in the El Paso County Drug Court Program. Members also volunteer their own time to accompany juvenile justice youth to a local gym to teach alternatives to substance use and promote healthier drug free lifestyles.

Tapping into the creative side of juvenile justice involved youth, El Paso County partners with local artists and businesses for contributions, incorporating art into to the educational curriculum utilized by Delta Academy (El Paso Independent School District) or as a catalyst for these youth to express themselves without the need to engage in substance use.

El Paso County is a great example of strong community collaborations and systems change. We are proud to share their accomplishments and look forward to seeing what they strive for next.

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by Cecilia Bianco

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Events

Jobs

Study Demonstrates that Summer Jobs Reduce Violent Crime Among Teens

by Cecilia Bianco

onesummerA recent study from the University of Chicago Crime Lab revealed that summer jobs programs for high school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods have a significant impact on reducing crime among teens.

The study focused on Chicago’s One Summer Plus program, which offers eight weeks of part-time summer employment to young people and an adult job mentor to help manage barriers to employment.

The study included 1,634 teens from 13 high-violence high schools who were almost all C students and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Twenty percent of the group had already been arrested, and 20 percent had already been victims of crime.

Compared the control group, this group experienced a 43 percent reduction in violent-crime arrests over 16 months, emphasizing the importance of pro-social activities for young people—something Reclaiming Futures believes is key to success.

A Washington Post article covering the study discussed why the results are so important: “That number is striking for a couple of reasons: It implies that a relatively short (and inexpensive) intervention like an eight-week summer jobs program can have a lasting effect on teenage behavior. And it lends empirical support to a popular refrain by advocates: ‘Nothing stops a bullet like a job.’”

Researcher Sara Heller, who conducted a randomized control trial with the program, said of the outcomes:

“The results echo a common conclusion in education and health research: that public programs might do more with less by shifting from remediation to prevention. The findings make clear that such programs need not be hugely costly to improve outcomes for disadvantaged youth; well-targeted, low-cost employment policies can make a substantial difference, even for a problem as destructive and complex as youth violence.”

The decline occurred mainly after the eight-week program ended, demonstrating that the summer of employment did more than keep the teens busy—it changed their behavior after the job, as well.

For our past reporting on the impact of pro-social activities, visit:

Addressing Youth Crime by Teaching Social Skills through Sports

Stop Bullying by Promoting Pro-Social Skills on the Playground

Image from One Summer Chicago website

Report: North Carolina Spends $160,000 a Year to Lock Up a Juvenile; News Roundup

by Cecilia Bianco

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Report: State Spends $160,000 a Year to Lock Up a Juvenile (Winston-Salem Journal)
    North Carolina is spending almost $160,000 a year to incarcerate a young person, according to a new report released Tuesday. But the state has made significant strides in reducing the number of juveniles it locks up, said Marc Schindler, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute, which released the report “Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration.”
  • How the NYPD is Using Social Media to Put Harlem Teens Behind Bars (The Verge)
    The story of the Henry brothers highlights a new reality for teenagers growing up at the intersection of social media, street gangs, and mounting law enforcement surveillance. For those coming of age in gang-saturated areas, the mountains of digital media posted online are a tangled web of connections that can be used to lock up violent perpetrators—but can also ensnare the innocent along with them.
  • Nine-Year-Old’s Arrest Prompts Call for Change by Federal Judge (The Wall Street Journal)
    “It is time for a change in our jurisprudence that would deal with petty crimes by minors in a more enlightened fashion,” wrote Judge Carlos F. Lucero of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion Friday. “The criminal punishment of young schoolchildren leaves permanent scars and unresolved anger, and its far-reaching impact on the abilities of these children to lead future prosperous and productive lives should be a matter of grave concern for us all.”

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Teens Share How Alcohol, Drugs Present Obstacles to Adulthood (Los Altos Town Crier)
    This is the first in a two-part series exploring adolescent substance abuse in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Part 1 examines the causes and circumstances of substance abuse from the teenage perspective. Part 2 will delve into resources available to youth in the community.
  • Making Good Decisions (Burlington Free Press)
    Listening to the presentation by Vermont Adult and Teen Challenge was a sobering experience for many students after seeing video clips about the traumatic and sometimes fatal consequences of using drugs and alcohol, and hearing from former addicts and alcoholics.

 

Two Reclaiming Futures Sites Come Together to Celebrate Natural Helpers

by LaTonya Harris

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A few members of the Lucas County Reclaiming Futures team attended the 11th Natural Helper Recognition Program in Montgomery County, Ohio, last month. The Recognition Program was held at the Presidential Banquet Center and highlighted volunteers in Montgomery County who are working with the court to help teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime. It was very beneficial for our Lucas County team to see and hear the testimonials of how the Montgomery County team has engaged the faith-based community, as well as other volunteers in the community, by recruiting and training them to become Natural Helpers. The recognition acknowledged that it takes a village, meaning everyone—the court and community—to work towards the common goal of supporting youth to make positive changes.

The keynote speaker, LaShea Smith, spoke powerfully about how Natural Helpers fit into the Reclaiming Futures mantra of “More Treatment, Better Treatment, and Beyond Treatment.” She spoke to how Natural Helpers in the community learn to recognize that there is an “opportunity in every obstacle”.

I joined the Juvenile Justice Fellow, Mike Brennan, the Juvenile Treatment Court Case Manager, Andrea Hill, the Parent Partner, Victoria Kamm, and the Lucas County Youth Advocate Program Director, Sherri Munn, in a trip from Lucas County to Montgomery County to both support the Reclaiming Futures programming and to learn how Lucas County can better engage their local faith based community, as well as others to provide mentoring services to court involved youth.

The Honorable Nick Kuntz and the Honorable Anthony Capizzi, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, and the Montgomery County Reclaiming Futures team did an outstanding job with putting together the Recognition Program, welcoming our Lucas County team, and promoting fellowship with other attendees. There were more than 200 people in attendance. We look forward to visiting other Reclaiming Futures sites in the future.

 

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by Cecilia Bianco

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Events

Jobs

New Funding Opportunity to Help Eliminate Solitary Confinement

by Cecilia Bianco

veraVera Institute of Justice has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for corrections departments in search of safe alternatives to segregation, also referred to as solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement is a controversial and often debated topic in the realm of juvenile justice as teens that are segregated often experience mental health and behavioral problems—as well as a higher rate of recidivism upon release.

In the spotlight this year regarding its practices of solitary confinement was Rikers Island. Conditions at Rikers have been described as “horrific” and were condemned by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York this August, who stated that the use of solitary confinement for youths was “excessive and inappropriate.”

There is growing nation-wide support to eliminate solitary confinement entirely as evidence suggests it is an expensive and counterproductive policy for facilities and public safety.

Vera Institute of Justice, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, is now offering five state or local corrections systems a chance to explore and implement an alternative to solitary confinement as part of its new Safe Alternatives to Segregation (SAS) Initiative.

The goals of the initiative include the following:

  • Assist states and counties in reducing their use of segregation;
  • Develop, demonstrate, and evaluate alternatives to disciplinary, administrative, and protective custody segregation;
  • Raise awareness across all correctional institutions nationwide—prisons and jails—of alternatives to segregation;
  • Conduct evaluations and impact studies and make their findings known across the corrections field; and
  • Produce practitioner-focused guides to implementing alternative practices.

The SAS initiative expands on Vera’s Segregation Reduction Project, which has worked with corrections departments since 2010 in states including Washington, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania to reduce reliance on segregation.

Applications will be accepted through Jan. 30, 2015. To learn more about the SAS initiative, including the full RFP and guidelines to submitting an application, visit Vera’s website.