Juvenile Justice

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Strict adherence to the American principle of separation of powers should not stop members of the three branches of state government from coming together to improve child welfare and juvenile justice services to vulnerable children. That was the feeling at a panel discussion Aug. 13 at the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference moderated by Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, or JJDPA, contains provisions that limit detention, mandate service provision and provide guidelines for status offenders who violate a valid court order, or VCO. And over the past several years, many states have passed additional legislation to decriminalize status offenses—crimes that are only illegal because of the offender’s age. A wide range of behaviors may be considered status offenses (laws related to status offenses vary by state), including truancy, running away from home, curfew violations, being beyond a parent or guardian’s control, and underage consumption of alcohol or tobacco. Some states have integrated status offender changes into larger juvenile justice reform legislation.

Each year, millions of students are removed from their classrooms for disciplinary reasons, mostly for minor discretionary offenses. Disciplinary removals may be appropriate in situations in which a student poses an immediate safety risk to himself/herself or others on a school campus. But when such removals are administered for minor misconduct, they are often detrimental to students’ academic and behavioral progress. Research, including the groundbreaking Breaking Schools’ Rules study conducted by The Council of State Governments’ Justice Center, demonstrates that exclusionary disciplinary actions increase a student’s likelihood of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and coming into contact with the juvenile justice system. A disproportionately large percentage of disciplined students are youth of color, students with disabilities, and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. In response, states across the country are passing legislation that limits the number of students who are removed from school for disciplinary reasons and provides more supportive responses to misbehavior. In 2014, the CSG Justice Center also released the School Discipline Consensus Report, which provides state and local government officials with a comprehensive roadmap for overhauling their approach to school discipline.

A report released this week by The Council of State Governments Justice Center details more than 60 evidence-based recommendations on how states and communities can make their schools safer and help students succeed. "The School Discipline Consensus Report" is the result of a three-year effort involving a 100-member working group comprised of experts in the field of school safety, behavioral health, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement and child welfare.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released a comprehensive report providing school leaders and state and local government officials more than 60 recommendations for overhauling their approach to school discipline. The recommendations focus on improving conditions for learning for all students and staff, strengthening responses to student’s behavioral health needs, tailoring school-police partnerships, and minimizing students’ involvement with the juvenile justice system.

CSG Midwest logo
When 11-year-old Henry Campbell and his parents appeared before Judge Richard Tuthill in a crowded Chicago courtroom on July 3, 1899, the course of juvenile justice in America took a historic turn. Held just two days after the effective date of a landmark Illinois law, the Campbell hearing was the first to be held in the nation’s first juvenile court.

Washington, like many states in the 1990s, was grappling with juvenile crime.A new program known as Functional Family Therapy reduced recidivism among those juveniles by 22 percent and cost the state about $3,200 for every juvenile served. 

Each spring break and summer, Jean Hall and her staff in the juvenile compact office in Florida stay very busy.  The lure of beaches, sunshine and Disney attract a lot of runaways. To return these youth to their home state, Florida—like all other states—must follow certain rules under the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, or ICJ. But when a state is not a member of that national compact, no legal means exist for that safe return. That’s especially problematic for Florida, which neighbors Georgia, the only state that isn’t a member of the compact.
 

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of Aug. 14-20 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

CSG Research & Expertise in the News: 7/17-23, 2011

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of July 17-23 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

Pages