Juvenile Justice

CSG Midwest
Wisconsin remains on a path to dramatically overhaul its juvenile justice system, but to get to the finish line, the state may need to find more money than originally expected.
AB 953, a bipartisan bill passed in 2018, aims to keep most young offenders in smaller, regional facilities, rather than locked up in a larger, faraway youth prison in northern Wisconsin. That goal aligns with research on how to best rehabilitate young people, says Mary Jo Meyers, director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services.
CSG Midwest
Three years ago, with their passage of SB 367, Kansas legislators remade the state's juvenile justice system.
correctional facility for juveniles would soon close, the state would rely much less on “group homes” to house low-level offenders, and several alternatives to incarceration would be introduced into the system.
The result: Between 2015 and 2018, the monthly average of Kansas’ juvenile custody population dropped by 63 percent.
CSG Midwest
Big changes are coming to Wisconsin’s juvenile justice system in the years ahead, with a $80 million infrastructure investment that will shift how young offenders are housed and treated.
“We are no longer going to have to rely on a huge, one-size-fits-all system,” says Evan Goyke, one of the legislators who led the work ahead of this year’s passage of the transformative AB 953. (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker supported the bipartisan, bicameral effort.) “We are adapting our system and taking a smaller, regional approach to juvenile facilities.”
CSG Midwest

Since 2015, a big change has occurred in how South Dakota handles young people in its juvenile justice system. “Some of these kids didn’t need to go to a juvenile detention center,” Rep. Julie Bartling says about the thinking behind the legislation passed that year (SB 73). “They just needed a little more support.”

Three years later, the state is starting to see results from this shift.
According to Kristi Bunkers, director of juvenile services for the Department of Corrections, the greatest advance has been the statewide expansion of three evidence-based programs that allow young people to receive treatment in the community rather than being detained at a residential facility or correctional center. For example, through a three- to five-month-long intervention program known as Functional Family Therapy, a young person and his or her family work through family conflicts while addressing problems of drug abuse or a range of antisocial behaviors. Of the South Dakota families who completed the program last year, 92 percent demonstrated positive behavioral change.
Like South Dakota, many states have been re-examining and, in some cases, overhauling their juvenile justice systems in recent years.
CSG Midwest
A year after a report showed the extent to which the state’s expungement policies have failed juveniles with criminal records, Illinois lawmakers simplified the process for young people and also strengthened confidentiality protections.
Dos and Don’ts for Reducing Recidivism Among Young Adults in the Justice System

This resource presents a concrete list of dos and don’ts that policymakers and justice system leaders can use to guide policy and practice changes focused on young adults in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Nevada’s Statewide Approach to Reducing Recidivism and Improving Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

As a result of participating in Improving Outcomes for Youth: A Statewide Juvenile Justice Initiative (IOYouth), Nevada passed legislation that supports the adoption and implementation of key policy and practice changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. This report summarizes the IOYouth process in Nevada, key findings from the CSG Justice Center’s comprehensive assessment of Nevada’s juvenile justice system, and AB472, the bill that Nevada’s legislature passed to address the challenges identified in the assessment.

This report draws on the experience of five states to present strategies that all states can use to achieve significant reductions in their use of suspensions. The report also offers recommendations for applying a data-driven approach to ensure that school discipline reforms not only reduce suspensions, but also foster supportive learning environments and ultimately improve outcomes for all students.

With the advancement of research showing how young adults are developmentally different from youth and older adults, state leaders are introducing policies and practices intended to tailor approaches that can improve outcomes for this population and increase public safety.

Justice Nancy Saitta was elected in 2006 to the Nevada Supreme Court, where she served as chief justice from September 2011 to May 2012. A former prosecutor and municipal and state district court judge, Saitta has been a tireless advocate for children, youth and juvenile justice reform. Saitta retired her seat on the Nevada Supreme Court in August, but remains a senior justice and will continue to fight for the state’s children and youth as chair of the state Blue Ribbon for Kids Commission, the Coalition to Combat Criminal Sexual Exploitation of Children and the Juvenile Justice Reform Commission. Saitta serves as co-chair of the CSG Interbranch Affairs Committee and is a 2009 CSG Toll Fellow.

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