2009 Juvenile Justice Symposium Series
A series of forums on cost-effective juvenile justice reforms
This symposium series showcased practitioners and policy makers from a range of localities who responded to juvenile justice crises by instituting creative reforms. The changes have reduced juvenile arrest and recidivism rates, led to better outcomes for youth at all stages of the juvenile justice system and enhanced public safety – and in each case resulted in cost savings!
Videos from each of the symposiums and the accompanying materials can be accessed through the links below. In addition, staff from the Juvenile Justice Unit at DCJS would be happy to work with individual localities to explore the potential of implementing cost-effective juvenile justice reforms. Inquiries can be directed to Jacquelyn Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (518) 485-9609.
Each year, thousands of youth are inappropriately or unnecessarily sent to juvenile detention facilities. Detention is very costly and is associated with increased rates of recidivism, as well as higher rates of suicide, school dropout and unemployment for youth. In this session:
- Bart Lubow outlines the structure of Annie E. Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) and highlights successful JDAI efforts throughout the country;
- Annie Salsich of the Vera Institute explains how risk assessment instruments can guide decision-making so that the use of detention is reserved for youth who pose a substantial risk of re-offending or failing to appear in court during the pendency of a case (as per state statute), and describes risk assessment work that has begun in a handful of New York State jurisdictions; and
- Hon. David L. Bell, Chief Judge of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, details the reforms initiated in New Orleans as the juvenile justice system was remade in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
Issues of racial and ethnic equity are significant for children in New York’s juvenile justice system. Minority youth are arrested over one and a half times more often than white youth, detained before trial over six times more often than white youth, and placed out of their home as a result of a finding of juvenile delinquency over five times more often than white youth. This session focuses on national and local trends in disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system, along with promising strategies for reducing that disproportionality. Speakers include:
- NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Commissioner Gladys Carrión, who discusses racial and ethnic distribution among youth in New York’s juvenile justice systems;
- Barry Krisberg of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), who presents national data showing how youth of color are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system; and
- Laura John Ridolfi, from the W. Haywood Burns Institute, who discusses promising strategies to reduce disproportionality in the juvenile justice system
The vast majority of delinquent boys and girls leaving New York State’s costly residential care facilities enter the adult criminal justice system by the age of 28: 89% of boys and 81% of girls are re-arrested, and 52% of the young men end up in New York State prisons. In this session:
- Mark Steward, Director of the Missouri Youth Services Institute, discusses the “Missouri Model” of residential placement and its positive impact on public safety and outcomes for youth;
- Peter Leone, from the University of Maryland, talks about the relationships between school deficits, learning disabilities and juvenile justice system involvement and offers key points for policymakers; and
- Eric Trupin, from the University of Washington, discusses mental health needs of youth in residential care and offers strategies for addressing those needs
Significant state and local funding is used to confine children who are both awaiting trial and children who have been found to be delinquent. National reforms have shown that juvenile justice systems that appropriately meet the cross systems needs of youth who do not pose a risk to public safety in community-based settings can be both less costly and more effective at reducing recidivism. Presenters include:
- Wansley Walters, Director of the Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Department, who explains how creative reforms – including the establishment of a centralized assessment center for all juvenile arrests and civil citation – transformed the county’s approach to juvenile arrest and helped cut recidivism by 78% over a decade;
- Terri Odom, Director of Court Social Services, Superior Court of D.C., who talks about CSS’ neighborhood-based approach to probation and their innovative Balanced and Restorative Justice Center; and
- Larry Busching, from the New York City Law Department, who discusses how prosecutors can make use of community-based alternatives while at the same time maintaining public safety.
- WAMC's David Guistina with Wansley Walters [1:07:39]
MP3 Download: WAMC's David Guistina with Wansley Walters [ 31MB ] (transcript)
- Wansley Walters, Terry Odom & Larry Bushing
(Full Symposium) [1:32:36] *IE Only*
This session focuses on strategies for implementing change within local and state level juvenile justice systems. Methods that have been successful in implementing fundamental juvenile justice reform in other states and localities are presented by:
- Shay Bilchik, Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, who introduces the Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model – a strategy for advancing change through the use of small, rapid, highly focused tests; and
- Vincent Schiraldi, Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), who discusses how the principles of positive youth development informed the transformation of D.C.’s continuum of care, starting with their adaptation of the Missouri model of secure placement and extending into the creation of service coalitions to improve services for youth in the community.
- WAMC's Alan Chartok with Vincent Schiraldi and Shay Bilchick [1:06:01]
- Vincent Schiraldi & Shay Bilchick
(Full Symposium) [1:42:03] *IE Only*