During the past two decades, major reform efforts in juvenile justice have focused on reducing the use of detention and secure confinement; improving conditions of confinement; closing large institutions and reinvesting in community-based programs; providing high-quality, evidence-based services for youth in the juvenile justice system; reducing racial/ethnic disparities; retaining most offending juveniles in the juvenile justice system rather than transferring them to the criminal justice system; improving delivery of defense services; and developing system-wide juvenile justice planning and collaboration (see Box 9-1).
These reform efforts have been frequently driven by the need to remediate harmful conditions of confinement, improve poor quality programs and services, and reduce costs—problems that are not mutually exclusive. More often than not, they exist simultaneously in a jurisdiction. Sometimes we found that innovations were initially focused on one particular aspect of the juvenile justice system, such as reduction in the use of detention, but in the process of addressing a particular problem, the initiative took on a larger focus and was scaled up geographically or was broadened to address other issues (e.g., reducing racial/ethnic disparities) and components of the system. Sometimes the reform was intended to address a fiscal crisis or some specific element of unfairness or program quality. And for some, the effort was targeted from the beginning at system-wide reform changes to the juvenile justice system.
The changes in public policy that have occurred are the result of a complicated interaction among government agencies, policy makers, and the particular characteristics of the policy itself. With this complicated
Typology of Reform Activities
Developing system-wide juvenile justice planning and collaboration—Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Reducing detention—By the end of 2012, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative will be active in 40 states plus the District of Columbia and 150 jurisdictions.
Improving conditions of confinement—Over the past four decades, as a result of 57 lawsuits in 33 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, states have initiated court-sanctioned remedies in response to alleged abuse or otherwise unconstitutional conditions in juvenile facilities (Mendel, 2011); 198 facilities in 27 states subscribe to the performance-based standards process (PbS Learning Institute, 2011).
Closing large institutions and reinvesting in community-based programs—These kinds of efforts may involve a shift to a network of small regional facilities (Massachusetts, Missouri, Utah) or a transfer of responsibility from the state to the counties (California, Illinois, Ohio).
Retaining juveniles in the juvenile justice system—Some states have raised the age of exclusive juvenile court jurisdiction (Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi); 10 states have made changes to their transfer laws that keep more youth in the juvenile justice system (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington) (Campaign for Youth Justice, 2011).
Utilizing evidence-based programs that reduce recidivism—Several states have passed legislation or promoted state policies that require funded programs for youth be assessed for effectiveness (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington) and/or that programs be evidence based (North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington).
Improving access to and quality of mental health services—Reforms include statewide mental health screening for all youth (Minnesota) and for all youth on probation (Texas); special mental health courts (Washington); omnibus mental health legislation (Washington); and statewide multijurisdictional crisis intervention teams (Colorado). Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington are pursuing mental health reforms as members of the MacArthur Mental Health Action Network.
Providing quality defense services—Reforms to improve access to and quality of defense services are under way in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington—model sites in the MacArthur Indigent Defense Action Network. The National Juvenile Defender Center is working to promote a variety of reforms, such as standardizing indigence determination and statewide resource center (Pennsylvania), creation of a statewide system of defender offices (Massachusetts), and development of competency protocols and draft legislation (California).
Providing access to educational programs in detention and post release—Colorado requires local school districts to provide educational services during the school year to juveniles held in adult jails and to comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for all jailed juveniles with disabilities.
Reducing racial disparities—More than 40 jurisdictions have worked directly with the W. Haywood Burns Institute to undertake community-wide planning around reducing racial disparities. Specific initiatives have included reducing detention by developing alternatives to secure detention, reducing failure-to-appear rates, developing disciplinary policies that reduce referrals to law enforcement, and focusing on Latino youth initially detained by probation, available: http://www.burnsinstitute.org/article.php?id=56 [May 2013].
Modifying harsh sentencing laws for youth—Four states (Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Washington) have modified their sentencing laws. Colorado adjusted maximum sentences without parole that youth could receive; Georgia posed exceptions to mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenders; Texas abolished juvenile life without parole; and Washington eliminated mandatory minimum sentences for juveniles tried as adults (Arya and Ward, 2011).
Building multisystem approaches in child welfare and juvenile justice—Approximately 40 counties across the country are advancing the Crossover Youth Practice Model, developed by Casey Family Programs and the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. The model is designed to reduce the flow of youth between the child welfare system and the juvenile justice system, the number of youth entering and reentering care, and the length of stay in out-of-home care (Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, available: http://cjrr.georgetow.edu/pm/practicemodel.htm [August 2012]).
interaction in mind, the committee was interested in identifying juvenile justice reforms that reflect a developmentally appropriate approach and in ascertaining how they had come about and what they had accomplished. We were interested in the lessons one might draw from these reforms— lessons that could be applied to future efforts to promote and sustain a developmental approach by the juvenile justice system.
We have focused on innovations that have been described in the literature or have made some effort to document their progress in moving the juvenile justice system from a punitive corrections model to a developmentally appropriate services model. See Box 9-1 for a broad typology of reform activities identified by the committee.
DRIVERS OF REFORM
A variety of organizations have provided the impetus for reform. We have organized the sequence of reform initiatives in a roughly chronological fashion. In identifying them and describing the changes they influenced, we are not suggesting that any driver by itself was the sole force for the particular change being described. Usually an innovation is affected by multiple forces, sometimes occurring concurrently and at other times sequentially. However, we think important lessons can be derived from this account.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
The federal government’s interest in preventing and addressing juvenile crime and juvenile offenders is vested in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Its mandate is to provide the resources, leadership, and coordination to improve the quality of juvenile justice (Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, P.L. 93-415). OJJDP dollars have provided a strong incentive for communities to undertake several far-reaching juvenile justice reforms on a national scale. Primary among them are certain core requirements that states must fulfill if they are to receive funding. But as federal expenditures for domestic programs decline in the coming years, OJJDP’s approach for promoting juvenile justice reforms is likely to be weakened and may disappear altogether. Organizations and stakeholders supporting the re-authorization of OJJDP strongly advocate for its continued role in promoting reform and an increase in grant support to the states to carry out OJJDP’s mandated reform activities (Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 2008; National Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Coalition, 2011a, 2011b). These issues are described in detail in Chapter 10.
OJJDP also offers a different financial incentive through its sponsorship of community-wide initiatives. During the 1990s, it sponsored several large
multisite demonstration programs that provided resources to communities willing to tackle large problems, such as school safety, exposure of children to violence, gang prevention and intervention, and delinquency prevention. Along with programmatic support, the agency offered communities extensive training and technical assistance (TTA). In return for federal dollars, communities were required to develop a matrix of services and to match youth to those services through the use of risk/need assessments. Some current state reform efforts (Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) and local ones (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and San Diego, California) also trace their beginnings to the partnerships established to implement this comprehensive strategy (Wilson and Howell, 1993; Howell, 1995a, 2003b).
OJJDP’s capacity to impact the juvenile justice field through support of large-scale demonstrations has dramatically declined. With this decline, state and local governments, foundations, and other youth-serving and advocacy organizations have taken on the challenge of reform.
Transformational State Models
Some statewide innovations originate and are propelled by state policy makers rather than by outside change agents. In two widely touted examples of major statewide innovations, in Massachusetts and Missouri, the impetus for change came from elected officials and state administrators with juvenile justice oversight.
The Massachusetts Experiment
During the early 1970s, Jerome Miller, director of youth services in Massachusetts, conceived and led an effort to close the state’s correctional training schools1 and replace them with a network of decentralized community-based services and several small, secure units for violent juvenile offenders. His accomplishment has been described as “the most sweeping reform in youth corrections in the United States since the establishment of juvenile reformatories in the 19th century and juvenile courts in the 20th century” (Howell, 2003b, p. 200).
In a retrospective account of his experiences in Massachusetts, Miller freely admits that at first he had only hazy ideas about how to improve the harsh conditions (Miller, 1991). His effort to close the training schools grew out of the realization that his veteran staff, many of whom had received
1 The term “training school” is one of several used to refer to facilities that house youthful offenders, usually those adjudicated for serious crimes. Originally these facilities were conceived of as places where youth would be educated or trained to be model citizens, hence the name “training” school.
their jobs through a patronage system, would vehemently oppose any steps to change the status quo. But as the notion of closing the schools began to take hold, he began to work in a more systematic way to bring a “therapeutic community” philosophy to one institution at a time, expanding training, structuring new kinds of programs, and setting up community-based alternatives. He gained the support of influential people and groups, including the League of Women Voters and the Massachusetts Council on Crime and Delinquency, gradually finding allies among the staff. Within a two-year period, he succeeded in closing all seven training schools, which housed approximately 1,000 youth, and replaced them with two 30-bed facilities, in-home services, group homes, and residential placements (Krisberg and Austin, 1998).
The Missouri Model
The Missouri model is a therapeutic treatment model for all youth in institutional placement. Its key elements include
- continuous case management, from postarrest processing to aftercare;
- small, decentralized residential facilities (no more than 50 youth with an average population of 20) within 50-75 miles of their homes;
- peer-led services for small groups of 10-12 youth who remain together for all activities, meals, and treatment throughout their stay; and
- a rehabilitative treatment approach in which no specific treatment model is used but each youth has his or her own treatment plan that stresses group processes.
The Missouri model has had a long history of acceptance and support by the Missouri legislature. Small-group staffing of residential facilities was piloted during the late 1950s and early 1960s. After the Department of Youth Services, a free-standing agency within the Department of Social Services, was established, the idea of regional treatment was expanded and two large training schools were closed during the 1970s and 1980s. A major milestone occurred in 1987, when the legislature created a bipartisan Youth Services Advisory Board composed of local and state lawmakers and experts with responsibility for planning the state’s juvenile treatment and placement services. Credit for refining and sustaining the Missouri model also goes to its unusually stable leadership. Mark Steward led the Department of Youth Services from 1988 to 2005, and its current director, Tim
Decker, worked under Steward for nine years prior to returning to the agency to assume the directorship in 2007.
More than two dozen states have visited Missouri to learn about the model, and Louisiana, New Mexico, two counties in California, New York, and the District of Columbia, are actively engaged in adopting the model to their jurisdictions. Despite the public attention given to the Missouri model and many replication efforts, the committee found little scientific evidence supporting the model’s effectiveness. Recidivism data, on which many claims are based, are purely descriptive and correlational in nature. An outside assessment of the Missouri model (Mendel, 2010), which compared Missouri’s recidivism rates to those of other states, was also flawed methodologically. (See Appendix B for a detailed description of the methodological issues.) Similarly, there has been no systematic process evaluation to determine which aspects of the model contribute to its success.
Key elements of the Missouri model reflect a developmental perspective. Its strong and stable leadership, as well as legislative and stakeholder support, appear to be important strategic conditions for transformative changes. In the absence of better documented models, it has been embraced by the juvenile justice field.2 But the case for its adoption would be strengthened if the model and its elements were systematically and rigorously evaluated.
Civil Rights Litigation
Traditionally, litigation has been a major tool for ameliorating unfair and harmful conditions of confinement. As the first step in what later may become a broader systemic effort, litigation or even the threat of litigation often serves as a powerful incentive for states and local jurisdictions to make significant changes in their juvenile justice systems. During the early 1970s and 1980s, litigation was primarily brought by juvenile law centers supported by private foundations, such as the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. From 1979 to 1981, OJJDP also provided start-up funding to juvenile law centers. Two current legal centers funded during this period
2 The committee acknowledges that there may be other statewide juvenile justice reform efforts that are more extensive or have had a greater impact than that of the Missouri model. We chose to highlight this reform because of the amount of documentation that exists, the favorable support it has received from the juvenile justice field and the efforts to widely replicate it. We note, however, that the model has not been objectively and independently supported with empirical research. Appendix B provides a review of the research to date and describes the requisites of a rigorous process and outcome evaluation.
are the Youth Law Center in San Francisco and the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.3
The Youth Law Center
Established in 1978, the Youth Law Center has brought more than a dozen lawsuits aimed at removing youth from jails and improving conditions of confinement. The lawsuits are based on constitutional requirements relating to provision of health, mental health, and education services to youth in confinement. They were also aimed at excessive use of force, restraining devices, and other safety issues. Through the early 1990s, the Youth Law Center worked in close conjunction with OJJDP. After the center filed a suit, OJJDP would provide technical assistance and guidance as to how the defendant facilities and agencies could improve conditions and meet the demands of any settlement eventually negotiated. This partnership resulted in removing youth from jails and in several cases closing public training schools that had abusive practices (Soler, personal communication, South Dakota case).4 Its work also has impacted private training schools (Milonas v. Williams, 1982), with the court ruling that even private facilities require state oversight and involvement.
Two recent cases involving the Youth Law Center demonstrate the broad impact a case can have on a state’s juvenile justice system. L.H. v. Schwarzenegger (2007) was brought against the California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) for its practice of routinely imposing, without proper or timely notice, lengthy parole periods when juveniles violated their initial paroles. The suit also alleged that juveniles were not allowed to have witnesses testify on their behalf, to present evidence, or to have an attorney. As a result of the settlement, DJJ was required to hold timely parole hearings, to desist from holding youth in “temporary detention” if they were continued on parole, to provide accommodations for mental and physical disabilities, to allow youth to present evidence and witnesses at their prob-
3 There are numerous organizations throughout the country that litigate on behalf of youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. Some, like the National Youth Law Center in Oakland, California, receive support from their state bars; others are funded privately and work primarily within their own states. The Prison Law Office in San Francisco was responsible for bringing the Margaret Farrell v. Mathew Cate lawsuit, which resulted in a far-reaching consent decree requiring the state to implement six different remedial plans. The work of the Juvenile Law Center and the Youth Law Center is highlighted in this report because of their longevity and the scope of their activities.
4 Telephone interview with Mark Soler, former executive director of the Youth Law Center and now current executive director, Center for Children’s Law and Policy, June 13, 2011. Information on the Youth Law Center’s legal activities is available from http://www.ylc.org [April 2013].
able cause and revocation hearings, and to provide a prompt administrative appeal process.5
The second case, S.H. v. Reed (2011) (formerly S.H. v. Taft), against the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) charged the department with abusive, inhuman, and illegal conditions, policies, and practices. According to the Youth Law Center’s website, the settlement
creates a long term investment in Ohio youth by infusing new resources into DYS operations, overseeing reform in the process for determining when youth should be released from DYS custody, and supporting evidence-based community programs for low-risk offenders. Changes included hiring up to 115 juvenile correctional officers. The agreement also supports improved mental health services, enhanced educational, medical and dental services and a capacity goal on the youth population.6,7
Juvenile Law Center
The Juvenile Law Center was established in 1975 to deal with issues affecting juveniles and dependent children.8 Originally a walk-in clinic for any youth up to age 21 needing a lawyer, over the years it has broadened its scope to include not only on the juvenile justice system but also on the dependency and foster care systems, with a particular emphasis on youth aging out of foster care. Like the Youth Law Center, its litigation has addressed detention of youth (Youth Study Center, 1976; A.M. v. Luzerne County Detention Center, 2001); conditions of confinement (D.B. v. Casey, 1991); loss of liberty (Coleman v. Stanziana, 1981; T.B. v. City of Philadelphia, 1988); and access to such services as education (D.C. v. School District of Philadelphia, 2004) and health and mental health services (Scott v. Snider, 1991). Several cases have set important precedents regarding the use of isolation and lack of access to counsel and other postdispositional due process issues for incarcerated youth (Troy D. and O’Neill S. v. Mickens et al., 2010). Most recently, its strong advocacy paid off in a class action suit brought on behalf of children and families of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (H.T. et al. v. Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. et al., 2009) who were involved in the “kids-for-cash” corruption scheme. Judge Ciavarela was one of two judges who sentenced about 2,500 children during 2003-2008. Many were sent
7 Ohio is an interesting example of a state that has been sued for poor conditions of con finement while at the same time it has been engaged in statewide efforts to lower the number of youth in state facilities and to provide quality community-based alternatives for them. See Box 9-4.
to a privately run juvenile facility in return for cash kickbacks. More than half of the youth lacked counsel, and 60 percent of them were removed from their homes. In December 2011, the plaintiffs were awarded partial settlement of more than $17 million subject to the court’s approval.9 The Juvenile Law Center regards its most importance contribution to be the attention it has brought to the need for systemic change.10
Prison Litigation Reform Act
Since the mid-1990s, privately funded juvenile law centers have found it more difficult to sue on behalf of their youthful clients (Mendel, 2011). In 1996, the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 was passed. This law amends and supplements the U.S. Code in a number of ways that restrict and discourage litigation by prisoners. Detained and adjudicated delinquents held in both public and private juvenile facilities are considered prisoners under the act (42 U.S.C. § 1997e(h); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c)) (Boston, 2004). According to Mark Soler, the 1995 act makes it more difficult to sue and to negotiate agreements.11 Parties must have exhausted all administrative remedies before bringing the suit and must agree to the least restrictive measures that can be used to resolve the problems. The act also sets very low limits on fees for attorneys and expert witnesses, thus discouraging attorneys from taking on cases.
Starting in the mid-1990s, the special litigation division in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began stepping up its investigations of juvenile facilities. Its authority to litigate is derived from the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 (CRIPA), Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control Act of 1994, and Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.12 Advocates point to U.S. v. Georgia (1998) as a particularly significant investigation that reflected a more activist role for the Department of Justice. It addressed systemic practices as well as specific conditions of confinement. A total of 16 remedial measures were proposed to address the lack of health, dental, mental health, suicide prevention, and
9 Available: http://www.jlc.org/current-initiatives/promoting-fairness-courts/luzerne-kids-cash-scandal [April 2013].
10 Telephone interview on June 12, 2011, with Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Juvenile Law Center. Information on the Juvenile Law Center’s activities is available from http://www.jlc.org [April 2013].
11 Telephone interview with Mark Soler, former executive director of the Youth Law Center and now current executive director, Center for Children’s Law and Policy, June 13, 2011.
education services; harsh disciplinary practices; poor access to recreation and visitation; and lack of training and supervision of staff.
According to a recent analysis of monitoring or enforcement actions pending as of September 1, 2010, juvenile facilities in 35 states have been investigated or sued by the Department of Justice since 1971. Eight distinct categories reflect the kinds of problems that the responsible states or facilities have agreed (or been ordered) to improve. In addition, these categories include problems documented in a federal CRIPA investigation whether or not a case settlement has been reached:
- abuse or excessive use of force;
- excessive use of restraint and/or isolation;
- failure to protect youth from harm;
- failure to provide therapeutic environment and rehabilitative treatment;
- failure to provide required services (education, mental health, health);
- inadequate staffing or staff training;
- environmental safety issues (fire safety, crowding); and
- failure to provide opportunity for communication (mail, attorney, telephone).
Of these categories, failure to provide required services and excessive use of restraint and use of force were the most common problems. Although some lawsuits deal with specific facilities, others target the statewide juvenile justice system (e.g., Georgia, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and Puerto Rico).13
Impact of Litigation
Depending on the timing, litigation can spark system reform or lend additional support to changes that are already under way. A DOJ investigation of two training schools in Louisiana in 1996 sparked the beginning of an effort to address the high rates of confinement of juveniles in Louisiana and the violent conditions under which they were held (U.S. v. Louisiana, 1998). Through several settlement agreements, the state addressed numerous safety, education, and medical remedial measures.14 Of great
13 From information compiled by the Youth Law Center in May 2011 and made available to the committee in July 2011. Similar information is contained in Mendel (2011, p. 7)
14 Settlement agreement (education) filed November 1, 1999; U.S. Jena Agreement filed April 1, 2000; settlement agreement for medical, dental, mental health, rehabilitation, and juvenile justice issues filed August 8, 2000; settlement agreement filed December 31, 2003; settlement agreement filed January 1, 2004. (Information provided to the committee by the Youth Law Center, May 2011.)
significance was the closing of the Tallulah Youth Correctional Center for Youth in 2004, a facility that had received national attention for being “an institution out of control” because of rampant violence and staff brutality (JI-LA-0001-0009 June 18, 1997). The DOJ consultants encouraged the state to seek major foundation support to improve its operations, and it subsequently became a MacArthur Foundation Model for Change site. Louisiana officials have also worked closely with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (A fuller description of the foundations’ initiatives is provided in the next section.) As a result of numerous changes in law and juvenile detention and corrections policies, the number of juveniles in secure care has been reduced to 350 from approximately 1,900 youth when the investigation first began in 1997.15
DOJ also initiated legal action against New York (U.S. v. New York, 2010), in the midst of efforts by the state’s Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services (OCYFS) to carry out a reform agenda that included (among other things) closing numerous large residential facilities located in upstate New York and relocating juveniles to smaller community-based facilities. According to committee member Gladys Carrión, the commissioner of OCYFS:
In New York State, the DOJ lawsuit served to buttress our transformation efforts that were already underway. In many ways, it gave legitimacy and confirmed what we were saying about the system’s shortcomings and the approach to remedy the conditions. DOJ affirmatively lauded our efforts to reform the system and their intervention heightened the awareness and sense of urgency to implement change. It helped to widen the universe of interested parties and prompted Legal Aid to sue. To an extent, it muted the opposition that now had to address the DOJ findings and forced them to find other objections to the changes we were pursuing…. It required the investment of additional state resources in targeted areas for multiple years. Without DOJ, given the state’s dire fiscal situation, it is doubtful the system would receive additional dollars and in fact would have faced substantial cuts…. Overall DOJ has given us political cover to make fundamental change that probably would have been much harder to undertake, freed up money to support the reforms and made it difficult for people to continue to support the status quo.16
DOJ’s action did not aim to effect change across the entire system (e.g., pretrial) because the investigation involved only four facilities. It also focused narrowly on mental health and conditions of confinement and did not address inadequate educational programs or lack of compli-
15 Telephone interview with Judy Preston, staff attorney, special litigation unit, civil rights division, U.S. Department of Justice, June 29, 2011.
16 E-mail exchange with Gladys Carrión, commissioner, New York State Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services, September 6, 2011.
ance with federal law regarding special education and special needs youth. Often when a lawsuit focuses on one institution, DOJ’s involvement ends once the institution is closed, and ongoing DOJ review and oversight are limited.17 In the case of New York, however, DOJ continued to monitor youth after their facility was closed and they were moved to a different one. Furthermore, DOJ is requiring New York City to carry out the settlement and policies developed prior to it, after the city assumes responsibility for city youth in state custody.18
In conclusion, litigation provides an incentive to reform policies and practices of juvenile justice systems. As one might imagine, state juvenile justice agencies want to avoid unfavorable media attention and protracted litigation. According to Judy Preston, an experienced staff attorney in the special litigation unit at the DOJ, states are typically responsive to the threat of litigation, and it is seldom necessary for DOJ to go to trial.19 However, reaching agreement or being ordered to do something is often the first step in a larger reform process. Cases can remain active for years afterward. Of the 57 federal CRIPA investigations over conditions of confinement in state-funded juvenile correctional facilities, 6 cases have remained active for as long as 11 years following the initial case disposition (e.g., a settlement, consent decree, order, or decision).20
DOJ is now in the process of expanding its investigative activities from a traditional focus on conditions of confinement and the postdispositional stage to the moment a youth enters the system. To do so, it is relying on Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which gives the attorney general authority to file lawsuits to seek judicial remedies when administrators of juvenile justice systems engage in a pattern or practice of violating incarcerated juveniles’ federal rights.21
Interestingly, the court’s involvement can be a double-edged sword. While improving and moderating institutional conditions and reducing harsh discipline, it can also reinforce the reliance on an institutional model. Because there is the threat of ongoing litigation, legislators may use the
17 E-mail exchange with Cheri Townsend, executive director, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, September 6, 2011.
18 E-mail exchange with Gladys Carrión, commissioner, New York State Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services, April 23, 2012.
19 Telephone interview with Judy Preston, staff attorney, special litigation unit, civil rights division, U.S. Department of Justice, June 29, 2011.
20 Rhode Island has the distinction of having the longest open case. In 1971, the Department of Justice initiated an investigation of conditions in the Rhode Island Boys Training School, and, since 2000, a court-appointed master has monitored compliance with the court order (Inmates of the Boys Training School v. Lindgren [D.R.I. filed 1971]) (Mendel, 2011).
21 Telephone interview with Judy Preston, staff attorney, special litigation unit, civil rights division, U.S. Department of Justice, June 29, 2011.
litigation as a reason to justify higher budgets and more staff and buildings (Miller, 1991).
Influential Foundation Initiatives
Beginning in the early 1990s, foundations became increasingly aware of and involved in activities aimed at addressing the harsh treatment of youth by the juvenile justice system. Their interest in juvenile justice was a natural extension of their interest in promoting the healthy development of children and their increasing concern about poor institutional conditions, unfairness, and ineffective practices. In particular, the Annie E. Casey Foundation (Annie E. Casey) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MacArthur) have invested millions of dollars in research, demonstrations, and TTA to support jurisdictions willing to change the way they currently handle juvenile offenders. Employing different strategies and slightly different but overlapping objectives, these foundations have assumed the mantle of leadership during a time in which it appears that OJJDP’s leadership role has waned.
Annie E. Casey Foundation and Detention Reform
Alarmed by the number of youth being detained, the deplorable conditions and the troubling effects of detention on youth (e.g., isolation, increased levels of violence, suicides, lack of services), the Annie E. Casey Foundation initiated in 1992 the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)—perhaps the most widely replicated reform initiative since the passage of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. From an initial demonstration program involving five sites, the initiative has been implemented in approximately 150 jurisdictions in 39 states plus the District of Columbia (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012). Four of them serve as model sites: Bernalillo, California; Cook County, Illinois; Multnomah County, Oregon; and Santa Cruz, California (Mendel, 2009; Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012).
The chief goals of the initiative are to reduce detention and to use the detention process as a lever for broader system-wide reforms. It is characterized by collaboration between juvenile justice agencies and other community and governmental organizations; use of data to diagnose problems; objective admissions criteria and instruments to replace subjective decision making; new or enhanced nonsecure alternatives to detention; case processing reforms to expedite the flow of cases through the system; minimizing special detention cases; additional specific strategies aimed at reducing racial disparities; and improve the conditions of confinement (Mendel, 2009).
Assessing Effectiveness. JDAI places a great emphasis on the collection and analysis of data for the purpose of understanding the characteristics of youth going through the system and what is happening to them. In addition to quarterly submission of data (specified by race, ethnicity, and gender) on admissions, average length of stay, and average daily population, JDAI requires each site to collect information on current charge, prior adjudications, prior failures to appear in court, and aggravating and mitigating factors. Furthermore, sites report when a youth is detained despite being at low risk for failing to appear in court or for committing another offense prior to adjudication (Soler, 2010).
Annual Results Report. In fall 2011, JDAI released its first annual results report (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2011).22 Although JDAI sites had been submitting annual reports since 2004, many data-related problems needed to be overcome (Mendel, 2009). The JDAI Annual Report 2009 covered 102 local sites, with data from individual sites within a state being aggregated, for a total number of data from 34 grantees. Three core areas were measured:
- impact—quantifiable change in detention utilization, postdisposition commitments and placements, public safety (reoffending and failure to appear), and racial/ethnic disparities;
- influence—specific changes in policies, practices, and programs implemented by the sites; and
- leverage dollars invested in the reporting year to support detention reform activities, whether local, state, federal, or private.
JDAI sites reported a one-third decrease in the average daily population of detention facilities, a 30 percent decrease in detention admissions, and a 5 percent decrease in average length of stay across all JDAI jurisdictions in comparison to the baseline year. JDAI reported that annual commitments to state youth corrections by the JDAI sites decreased by one-third and out-of-home placements decreased by 16 percent across all sites in comparison to the baseline year. Finally, results with respect to the racial/ethnic disparities showed a 28 percent reduction in average daily population in detention among youth of color and a 12 percent average reduction in youth of color placed out of home at disposition. Interestingly, the findings reported that reductions for youth of color in average daily population in detention and in detention admissions were lower than reductions for the overall youth population for these indicators. Reductions in average length of stay in detention and in commitments to state corrections for youth of color were
22 Despite its release date, the report is entitled JDAI Annual Report 2009.
higher than reductions reported for the overall population for these same indicators (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2011).
Although the JDAI report represents a real advance in the foundation’s effort to assess the impact of its path-breaking national reform effort, the evaluation has significant weaknesses. A great deal of attention is given to “reductions,” but comparison periods are not clearly defined. Sites have different baseline years and have been allowed to determine whether the 12-month period is a calendar or a fiscal year (FY) as long as they remain consistent. The comparison of youth of color with all youth rather than with white youth reflects an inaccurate picture of the size of the effect. In a place like Chicago or the District of Columbia, youth of color may constitute half (or much more) of the total, so the comparison may miss the contrast between youth of color and white youth. Finally, the report does not deal with other changes in the jurisdictions that might account for changes in detention or commitment—for example, whether the overall use of commitment has dropped, regardless of whether the youth had pretrial detention, and whether new laws have been enacted that increase the transfer of youth to adult court, making it more likely that a youth who is eventually incarcerated will not be handled through the juvenile system and therefore will not be reflected in the statistics that JDAI uses. The committee also notes that, in the absence of raw data, it was difficult to understand the calculations.23
Despite these shortcomings, what makes the report particularly noteworthy is the honesty with which it describes the data deficiencies. These include underreported or inaccurate data regarding failure-to-appear rates, preadjudication rearrest rates, out-of-home placements, and commitments and out-of home placement of youth of color. More than two-thirds of all local JDAI sites failed to report baseline and recent-period data for the failure-to-appear and rearrest indicators—the greatest single failing in the annual results reports. Defining admissions, out-of-home placements, and general indicators of public safety also proved to be problematic. Although the report explains some of the deficiencies, it concedes the importance of addressing these problems if the sites “are to credibly claim that their detention reforms do not undermine the integrity of the court process or jeopardize public safety” (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2011, p. 5).
Future of JDAI. Since 2003, JDAI has been increasingly focused on state-level replication efforts. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has increasingly partnered with states enlisting cohorts of counties and then expanding as other counties come on board once they see progress being made. In 2009,
23 E-mail from William Feyerherm, vice-provost for research and dean of graduate studies, Portland State University, September 8, 2011.
New Jersey became the first statewide model jurisdiction and has closed three detention facilities, saving an estimated $16.5 million a year (Mendel, 2009). Florida, Maine, New York, and Pennsylvania are the most recent state partners (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012).
While the Annie E. Casey Foundation remains firmly committed to expanding and sustaining JDAI, it concedes that its commitment is, in the long run, insufficient either to maintain fidelity or achieve scale. Although OJJDP has provided $1 million in discretionary funds over two years to support the strategic expansion of JDAI,24 whether a long-term federal role will emerge remains uncertain. (See Chapter 10.)
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change
In the period 1996-2011, the MacArthur Foundation has expended more than $140 million to improve the treatment of youth who come to the attention of the juvenile justice system. This investment in juvenile justice grew out of the foundation’s interest in promoting adolescent development as a pillar of juvenile justice practice. It was informed by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (1996-2005), an interdisciplinary group of scholars, policy experts, and practitioners. The network’s research efforts focused on understanding the capabilities and limitations of adolescents, their risk for public safety, and their potential for change.25
Among the important findings of the network’s research was that a significant proportion of adolescents age 15 or younger are probably incompetent to stand trial, as judged by adult measures of competency; that there are significant age-related changes in a youth’s ability to consider the consequences of his or her actions and susceptibility to peer pressure; that unconscious racial stereotyping causes African American adolescents to be seen as more “adult-like” and thus more blameworthy; and that the huge variability among serious offenders makes it difficult to predict future offending based on the presenting offense (MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, 2006).
MacArthur launched Models for Change in 2004 and selected Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington to develop “more rational, fair, effective and developmentally sound” juvenile justice systems that could then serve as models of successful system-wide reform elsewhere (John D.
24 Presentation by Bart Lubow, director, juvenile justice strategy group, Annie E. Casey Foundation, to the committee, January 19, 2011.
25 Presentation by Laurie Garduque, director of juvenile justice, program on human and community development, John D. and Catherine A. MacArthur Foundation, to the committee, October 11, 2010.
and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 2010). Each state was provided with a total of $10 million for five years. Rather than propose a single model, MacArthur identified eight principles that constituted the framework of an ideal juvenile justice system (see Box 9-2). The strategy has been to fund different promising models in several states, to learn from those experiences, and then to come up with several models that could then be offered to other states for adoption (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 2010).
Models for Change Principles
The Models for Change framework is grounded in eight principles that reflect widely shared and firmly held values related to juvenile justice:
- Fundamental fairness: All system participants—including youthful offenders, their victims, and their families—deserve bias-free treatment.
- Recognition of juvenile-adult differences: The system must take into account that juveniles are fundamentally and developmentally different from adults.
- Recognition of individual differences: Juvenile justice decision makers must acknowledge and respond to individual differences in terms of young people’s development, culture, gender, needs, and strengths.
- Recognition of potential: Young offenders have strengths and are capable of positive growth. Giving up on them is costly for society. Investing in them makes sense.
- Safety: Communities and individuals deserve to be and to feel safe.
- Personal responsibility: Young people must be encouraged to accept responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions.
- Community responsibility: Communities have an obligation to safeguard the welfare of children and young people, to support them when in need, and to help them to grow into adults.
- System responsibility: The juvenile justice system is a vital part of society’s collective exercise of its responsibility toward young people. It must do its job effectively.
SOURCE: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (2010).
MacArthur also provided support to jurisdictions in another 12 states through its Action Networks. Funded during 2007-2008, the networks focused on three separate issues: reducing disproportionate minority contact (DMC), improving access to mental health services for juvenile justice youth, and improving indigent defense services.26 A National Resource Bank provides training, technical assistance, and consultation to the MacArthur sites.27 To date, approximately 204 Models for Change grants have been made to 92 separate agencies and organizations. In all, MacArthur has spent almost $41 million of its Models for Change funding to support TTA for state and local governments (Griffin, 2011).
The MacArthur Foundation’s reach and influence in the juvenile justice field extend beyond its Models for Change initiative. MacArthur also supports several activities related to the handling of “dually involved” or “crossover” youth who are involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, often with adverse effects. (See Chapter 3 for a discussion of crossover youth.) One of these related activities is the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Integration Initiative, an ongoing activity in the Model for Change states. Begun in 2000, this initiative focuses on cross-system coordination and integration of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems (Herz et al., 2012). A partnership between the Casey Family Program (a separate program from the Annie E. Casey Foundation) and Georgetown’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform is implementing and testing the Crossover Youth Practice Model, specific practices aimed at reducing the number of youth who cross over between the two systems, the number of youth entering and reentering care, and the length of stay in out-of-home care (Herz et al., 2012).
Assessing the Impact of Models for Change. To date, a formal cross-site evaluation of the impact of the Models for Change program has not been conducted.28 The Models for Change initiative is a sprawling, complex set of activities involving more than 35 jurisdictions in 16 states (Griffin, 2011). Its four key states were funded at different times and are at different stages of development. Each state determined its own starting point in the
26 Available: http://www.modelsforchange.net/aboutAction-networks.html[April 2012].
27 Available: http://www.modelsforchange.net/about/National-Resource-Bank.html [April 2012].
28 In 2009, MacArthur hired Bennett Midland LLC to design a database to be used for reporting on the totality of its investments, activities, and accomplishments of Models for Change. The first report, produced in December 2011, provides a broad description of the grants (size, goals, activities) and what it calls “progress events,” such as publications, activities associated with community-based programs, training, data infrastructure/use/sharing, establishment of collaborative infrastructure, screening and assessment, and fiscal commitment (Griffin, 2011).
juvenile justice system and targeted areas of improvement. Consequently, each site conducts different kinds of evaluation activities, usually reporting qualitative information as to what was achieved. There has been some attempt to collect information on five key outcomes from the four key states on a quarterly basis (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 2010). These key outcomes include
- impartial and unbiased decision making (reduced racial disparities);
- retention of youth in the juvenile justice system (reduced transfer and waiver to adult criminal court);
- prosocial development and engagement (increased participation in education and rehabilitation and treatment programs);
- public safety (reduced recidivism); and
- informal local handling of delinquency (reduced reliance on incarceration and increased use of community-based alternative sanctions).
To date, however, this information has not been made publicly available on a cross-site basis or in a comprehensive way.
Within the Action Networks, data are also being collected on impact (Soler, 2010). For example, 20 sites in the 4 core Models for Change states and the 4 DMC states (Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, and Wisconsin) collect data on 35 indicators developed by the W. Haywood Burns Institute in San Francisco.29 This information is used by the sites and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, the technical assistance provider, to monitor the sites’ policies and practices (Soler, 2010).
In 2008, MacArthur also funded a study of system change strategies of its four key states to identify what strategies had been implemented, their outcomes and consequences, and the identifiable facilitators and barriers for the reform initiatives (Wiig et al., 2010). According to the lead researcher on the study, it was not possible to assess outcomes because of lack of data.30 Recently, MacArthur released a report presenting composite information on grant characteristics, grantees, grant aims, and focus areas (Griffin, 2011). It is based on data taken from the foundation’s grant files and grantees’ annual and final reports as well as data entered retroactively online. Although helpful in categorizing the range and scope of activities supported under the mantle of Models for Change, the report concedes that
29 Examples of indicators include admissions to detention, average length of stay, and average daily population on a quarterly basis. Data are broken down by race, ethnicity, and gender.
30 Telephone conversation with Kimberly Isett, associate professor, school of public policy, Georgia Tech, November 14, 2011.
the summarized results “should be regarded as preliminary impressions, not facts” (Griffin, 2011, p. 11).
Future of Models for Change. MacArthur is now working with state and local jurisdictions to ensure that the foundation-funded reforms can be sustained and replicated (Wiig et al., 2010). More recently, it announced that it is creating a funding partnership with OJJDP in four areas: mental health screening and risk/need assessment, mental health training for juvenile justice staff, DMC reduction, and juvenile justice and child welfare system integration (U.S. Department of Justice, 2012). It also signaled that its focus will shift to promoting statewide legislative reforms and promoting state policy changes on a national scale.31
Changing the way youth are handled by the juvenile justice system depends heavily on public support and acceptance. Public support can influence juvenile justice policy (Cullen et al., 1998; Roberts, 2004), and sometimes previously adopted policies reflected in statutes become out of touch with developing public opinion (Mears et al., 2007). Community-based organizations also act as drivers of reform legislation. California, Connecticut, Louisiana, and New York are four states where community advocates have been pivotal in moving the reform agenda along.
Connecticut’s Raise the Age Campaign
In the past six years, a combination of litigation activities, legislative action, and community organizing has been under way in Connecticut to improve services for youth in detention, reduce detention of status offenders who have violated court orders, increase community-based services, and develop regional family support centers. The issue most closely identified with community advocates, however, is the raising of the maximum age of juvenile jurisdiction from 15 to 18.32
During the 1990s, Connecticut was one of only three states that had lowered the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction to age 15. The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance composed of various groups concerned with the treatment of youth in the juvenile justice system conducted
31 Presentation by Laurie Garduque, director of juvenile justice, program on human and community development, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to the commit tee, October 11, 2010.
32 Abby Anderson, executive director, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Children’s Law Center webinar, July 11, 2011. Available http://www.childrenslawky.org/webcasts/2011/5/9/trends-and-challenges-in-juvenile-justice-reform-experiences.html [November 2011].
a “Raise the Age” campaign in which it undertook intensive efforts to inform the public, the media, and legislators of the need to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction.33 In July 2007, legislation was passed that raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from age 15 to age 16 effective January 2010 and to age 17 effective January 2012. However, it was not until October 2009, after some hard-fought battles in the legislature over cost projections and the concerns of law enforcement, that the final timetable was established and the budget was approved. Community advocates are credited with keeping the issue on course through monthly statewide advocacy meetings, working closely with state legislators to lobby for the necessary funding, and providing continuous information on the positive effects of the changes as well as the failure of various concerns to materialize.34 The activism has paid off. On July 1, 2012, the age of juvenile court jurisdiction was raised to age 18.35
California’s Closure of State Facilities
In the 1960s and 1970s, California had an excellent reputation for its progressive handling of juvenile offenders, but by the late 1990s its reputation had become badly tarnished by evidence of harsh treatment in unsafe, overcrowded facilities (Skonovd, 2003). As in many other jurisdictions, the drop in juvenile crime rates and the concurrent escalation in costs ($252,000/year/bed) provided the impetus for change (McCracken and Teji, 2010).
Since the 1980s, community and advocacy groups had been feeding information to the media and the legislative staff on the abuses and identifying better options.36 They testified before the legislature, educated juvenile justice professionals (including every presiding judge and every chief probation officer), and created a public record of abuses and failure to reform. Similar to Connecticut’s experience, federal litigation and a resulting court decree (Farrell v. Cate, 2003; formerly Farrell v. Harper) played a critical role in challenging all aspects of conditions in California’s facilities.37 In
34 Abby Anderson, executive director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Children’s Law Center webinar, July 11, 2011 (Children’s Law Center, Inc., 2011).
36 Sue Burrell, staff attorney, Youth Law Center, Children’s Law Center webinar, July 11, 2011 (Children’s Law Center, Inc., 2011).
37 As a result of the Farrell litigation, the California Division of Juvenile Justice is required to implement remedial plans to correct problems associated with education, disabilities, medical care, sexual behavior treatment, safety and welfare, and mental health. Since April 2006, a special master has monitored implementation of these plans. Available: http://www.prisonlaw.com/cases.php#juvi [November 2011].
addition, ongoing evidence of the abuse compiled in joint expert reports and special master reports received huge media attention. The result was pressure on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to focus his attention on reorganizing and reforming the system.38 Legislation was passed imposing sliding scale fees on localities for commitments to state facilities (SB 681, 1996) and providing program funds for counties (Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Standards Act, AB 913, 2000), increasing the discretion of judges to reduce confinement time and to bring youth back to the community, restricting parole board powers, and increasing reporting requirements (SB 459, 2003). As the state struggled to make changes in line with the Farrell agreement, the legislature narrowed eligibility for commitment to state facilities (SB 81, 2007), and money was allocated to the counties to serve youth locally. SB 81 banned all future commitments of nonviolent youth to the state system, allowing state commitment only if the youth was found to have committed an offense on the statutory list of crimes for which juveniles could be tried as adults. The result has been a rapid decline in the training school population (see Box 9-3). Currently, the state is deciding whether to shut down the entire state system and to have all youth handled by the counties. It is unclear at this writing what the final outcome will be (Schiraldi, Schindler, and Goliday, 2011).39,40
Louisiana’s Transformative Initiatives
The Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), a public interest law firm and youth advocacy group, was formed in late 1997 on the heels of the U.S. DOJ’s investigation of the inhumane and harsh treatment of juvenile offenders. Its stated goals include reducing the use of incarceration and investing in community-based alternatives while alleviating the unconstitutional conditions of confinement (Celeste et al., 2005). Although many claims arising out of the DOJ investigation were settled in 1999 and 2000, the notoriously dangerous Tallulah Youth Corrections Center remained open through the support of numerous powerful legislators, including a former head of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. JJPL teamed with Family and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), an organization formed in 2001 to serve as the collective voice of parents
38 Sue Burrell, staff attorney, Youth Law Center, Children’s Law Center webinar, July 11, 2011 (Children’s Law Center, Inc., 2011).
40 In the January 2012 California state budget appropriation, the state declared it would not accept serious and violent youthful offenders from the counties. In May 2012, Governor Jerry Brown inserted language into the revised budget appropriation that reversed the earlier language and required that young offenders (up to age 23) would continue to be sentenced to the California Department of Youth Services (de Sá, 2012).
Closing State Juvenile Institutions
Declining numbers of juveniles being sentenced to secure state institutions, coupled with the need to respond to budget shortfalls, is resulting in the closing of state juvenile facilities and the shifting of youth to local community-based programs. This trend has been particularly dramatic in five states:
California: The California Youth Authority originally operated 11 facilities and 4 youth forestry camps. Currently, the Division of Juvenile Justice operates 4 institutions and 1 camp. In April 2011, 1,232 youth were under the Division of Juvenile Justice, which includes more than 200 youth housed in adult prisons. In 1996, the population peaked at 10,122. At the end of 2010, the population was 1,254, a nearly 88 percent decline.
Illinois: Commitment of youth to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice 1996-2010 declined from 902 to 400.
Ohio: Since 2002, the state has reduced its commitments to state facilities by more than 70 percent.
New York: During 2007-2012, the state closed 18 facilities and allocated $5 million from the cost savings to support local alternatives to detention.
Texas: In 2011, 3 of 10 youth prisons closed, and money was shifted to local rehabilitation programs. Texas has cut its 5,000 youth population by half within two years. The end-of-year secure population in fiscal year (FY) 2000 was 5,646; in December 2011 it was 1,267. A cautionary note when comparing states: some states, like Texas, have a determinate sentence option, which means that some youth who are committed to state youth facilities might be sent straight to prison in another state. There is also the issue of age of juvenile and adult jurisdiction. Still, since 2007, Texas has closed 2,232 secure beds.
SOURCES: Moore (2009); McCracken and Teji (2010); California Department of the Youth Authority (n.d., p. 4); California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice; National Campaign to Reform Juvenile Justice Systems, Report on the 2011 States (fact sheet distributed at Models for Change meeting in December 2011); Felony Commitments and Revocations of Parole for FY2002-2011 spreadsheet provided in an e-mail from Ryan Gies, deputy director, Courts and Community Services, Ohio Department of Youth Services, August 24, 2012; e-mail from Cherie Townsend, former executive director, Texas Department of Juvenile Justice (December 14, 2011).
whose children were at that time (or formerly) incarcerated at Tallulah. FFLIC efforts were at first unsuccessful. It took another two years before a full-fledged legislative and public media campaign known as “Close Tallulah Now!” was begun in force. The campaign was undertaken by JJPL, FFLIC, and the Coalition for Effective Juvenile Justice Reform, with strong support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Youth Law Center, the Justice Policy Institute, and the Grassroots Initiative. Two years of intense advocacy work resulted in the passage of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003 (known as Act 1225), calling for Tallulah’s closing (Celeste et al., 2005). In 2004, the legislature passed a bill creating Youth and Children Services Planning Boards, composed of all stakeholders at the local level (Bervera, 2003). In 2006, Louisiana became a MacArthur Foundation Models for Change site, and five local sites (encompassing seven parishes) have been engaged since then in building an infrastructure of local alternatives to formal processing and secure confinement, promoting access to evidence-based services, and addressing the problem of DMC (Griffin, 2009). Today, FFLIC continues to monitor conditions of confinement and to advocate for numerous reforms, including an increased role for the family in several facilities in Louisiana.
New York’s Transformative Initiatives
In September 2008, a Task Force on Transforming the Juvenile Justice System was convened by New York’s governor, David Paterson. Chaired by Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College, the task force was composed of 32 juvenile justice experts drawn from around the state. It is noteworthy that 20 of them represented private organizations—universities, TTA organizations, advocacy groups, and community service organizations. The focus of the task force was the treatment of adjudicated juveniles found guilty of committing a delinquent act (a crime committed by someone between ages 7 and 15) and subject to a dispositional order. The task force’s recommendations called for reducing the use of institutional placement, reinvesting resources in community-based alternatives, eliminating racial disparities, improving services during custody and after release, and ensuring system accountability (Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice, 2009).
The New York task force came on the heels of a major effort already under way to reform juvenile justice services. With the support of Governor Paterson, Gladys Carrión, the commissioner of the state’s Office of Children and Family Services, had begun the process of closing unneeded facilities and implementing a comprehensive system reform agenda. She was able to amass considerable support by working closely with community organizations to develop necessary programs, securing foundation money for programs, collaborating with the juvenile justice network (an organiza-
tion of advocacy groups), producing data regarding the costs of operating facilities, and conducting a well-organized media campaign. The task force also played an important role in supporting and sustaining the momentum. According to Carrión:
The Task Force was instrumental in moving the process along. Its report became the blueprint for reform and the effort was given credibility. The Governor viewed the Task Force as an antidote to anticipated backlash. Here was an independent prestigious body to counter the opposition. People were respectful of such a deliberative body that was also inclusive. Its report was embraced and was responsible for pushing forward the work. It was also reassuring to the advocates who tend to want quick results. It assured them that there would be no turning back.41
The task force disbanded after the release of its report, but its recommendations have continued to influence juvenile justice budget decisions, according to Carrión. By March 2012, New York had closed 18 facilities, eliminating 969 beds and 1,035 full-time positions (see Box 9-3). The secure population has been reduced by 23 percent, the limited secure population by 55 percent, and the nonsecure population by 56 percent. The numbers of youth in direct care have continued to decline. Expanded mental health services for youth in facilities, as well as those being maintained in communities, have been developed. New York City Mayor Bloomberg decided not to send New York City youth to upstate facilities (Bosman, 2010). Brooklyn to Brooklyn, a newly established program located in the community, offers a continuum of nonresidential and residential services based on the pillars of the Missouri model. Incentives have been offered to jurisdictions with the highest placement rates to divert youth from detention, and reinvestment funds have been targeted to community-based services in those jurisdictions that are home to the greatest number of youth placed in state custody.42
PROMOTING AND SUSTAINING REFORM
Previously reviewed evidence shows convincingly that reforming juvenile justice in accord with well-established principles of adolescent development can reduce offending and promote accountability while treating juvenile offenders fairly and serving their individual needs. There is no need to trade public safety for due process and individualized treatment.
Despite the momentum for developmentally grounded juvenile justice reform, it is disappointing, though perhaps not surprising, that the changes
41 Telephone conversation with Gladys Carrión, commissioner, New York Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services, July 12, 2011.
42 E-mail correspondence from Gladys Carrión, commissioner, New York Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services, March 16, 2012.
already put in place have not been evaluated in a sufficiently rigorous and systematic manner. This lack of evaluation impedes other reform-minded jurisdictions to undertake similar initiatives with the confidence that they can be implemented successfully and will achieve the desired effects. However, the committee is impressed with the reformers’ ability to generate and consolidate stakeholder coalitions, build a consensus regarding the necessary changes, create the infrastructure needed to maintain momentum, and sustain the effort over the long run. This accumulated experience inspires optimism that juvenile justice reform can be achieved successfully on a national scale.
On the basis of this perspective, the reader is asked to assume that policy makers in a state are committed to transforming their juvenile justice system so that it is grounded in a developmental perspective. The following section aims to summarize what has been learned from efforts to implement policy change, what are the obstacles to successful innovation, and what can be done to address them.
Assembling and Using Data
The issue of data quality and inadequacy has been discussed throughout this report. In Chapter 3, we note the inadequacy of the juvenile arrest data, the incompleteness of court data and the lack of available juvenile justice data due to privacy restrictions. In Chapter 6, we attribute a failure to identify effective programs to the inadequate data for tracking youth outcomes. In Chapter 8, we note the lack of racial/ethnic data on youth at various processing stages.
An essential prerequisite to designing, implementing, and sustaining reform is the compilation of critical data and analytical tools. Many agencies lack data needed for their internal operations (individual, process, and outcome data) and across systems data (education, mental health, education, child welfare).43 Without these data, it is difficult to see the true picture of who is detained, how the system operates, what the impact is on minority youth, whether the youth is receiving the designated services, and what the impact is of the treatment he or she does receive. Agencies need to distinguish between data required for routine monitoring of processes (i.e., outputs and outcomes, such as numbers served, services delivered, costs, and quality of services) and data that are required for empirically based research evaluations (i.e., treatment outcome data, comparison data for different youth samples). A common measure of performance for many
43 Presentation by Laurie Garduque, director of juvenile justice, program on human and community development, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to the committee, October 11, 2010.
juvenile justice systems is recidivism data. Yet 12 states still do not track recidivism outcomes of youth released from juvenile facilities statewide in any fashion; 6 states track only the share of youth who return to juvenile custody; and another 8 measure youth’s success only for 12 months or less following release (Mendel, 2011). Data are also often not available on other measures of effectiveness that indicate whether progress has been made toward successful maturation, such as academic progress, enrollment in school, job placement and retention, and health and mental well-being (Mendel, 2011). Efforts are being made to improve data and to create integrated data systems, but the impact of these efforts has been very limited thus far (see Appendix B) (Mankey et al., 2006; Wiig and Tuell, 2008). Data tools are also needed to identify problems, develop responses, and then monitor and assess the impact of policies and programs.
Both Models for Change and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative acknowledge the importance of data and describe themselves as “data-run programs” that aim to use data to inform policy and practice at the organizational and system levels. Data are also a crucial element in demonstrating a program’s effect on youth and their families, the juvenile justice and other child-serving systems, and the community. Data can be used to make the case for why reform activities are needed and then can be used to support the need to sustain them (Wiig et al., 2010). (For a useful discussion of evaluation methods and challenges for anticrime programs, see National Research Council, 2005.) In both cases, automated management information systems are urgently needed (Howell, 2003a). Data collection, aggregating data, and accessing data across systems have been identified as factors impeding an organization’s ability to implement change (Isett, 2011).
In summary, resolving data issues and having good data systems appear to be paramount to launching reform activities. Yet this is a challenge that often goes beyond the capacity or capability of individual juvenile justice systems or even entire jurisdictions to address adequately. One need only look at state efforts to develop and implement Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (SACWIS), mandated by the federal government in 1993, to understand how expensive and difficult a challenge it is.44 The committee repeatedly heard from national juvenile justice leaders that an appropriate role for the federal government is to help develop accurate and timely data systems and to provide TTA in their use. The committee strongly agrees.
44 Since 1993, the federal government has expended $2.3 billion getting SACWIS up and running, and some states are still in the planning and development stage. See http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/systems/sacwis/about.htm [April 2013].
Clarity of Mission
There are 51 different juvenile justice systems in the country. As observed in Chapter 3, policies and practices based on a correctional model in which youthful offenders are detained in facilities with varying degrees of security may exist side by side with policies rooted in a rehabilitative approach focused on serving the needs of young offenders. The committee doubts that reform based on a developmental model can be achieved and sustained without resolving this tension explicitly. Papering over the problem may allow a legislative victory to be achieved, but it will not establish the necessary foundation for enduring change. The fundamental case for reform is that public safety can be well-served—indeed, better served—by abandoning a confinement-oriented correctional approach in favor of community-based services for the majority of juveniles who can be safely supervised in the community.
Leadership and Organizational Culture
Strong leadership is required to articulate and build consensus concerning the goals of reform as well as its essential elements. Accommodations on specific issues will be needed, such as satisfying prosecutorial concerns about the jurisdictional borders between juvenile courts and criminal courts, but prosecutors are not institutionally or professionally opposed to the juvenile justice reforms described in this report if they are presented with the evidence and are convinced that interventions will be undertaken to ensure public safety and satisfy legitimate public expectations about accountability.
The organizational culture of juvenile justice agencies may impede innovation. Some state juvenile justice agencies fall under state-run criminal justice facilities (e.g., California), and in other states juvenile justice responsibilities are part of the broader child-serving agency (e.g., New York). It is likely that one reason for the sustainability of the Missouri system is the fact that the Division of Youth Services is under the Department of Social Services and separate from the adult correction system (see Appendix B). Even within juvenile justice agencies, it is sometimes difficult for managers and line staff to think about the long-term benefits and not be enticed by a piecemeal approach (Howell, 2003b). In places where reform is thriving, leaders with vision are working closely with multiple groups—including the legislature, other executive agencies, community stakeholders, and the media—to explain the desired changes and to keep them well informed. Sometimes the driving force is the director of the juvenile justice state agency; in other jurisdictions, the judicial official takes the lead in bringing about change. But there is always a need for someone
who can take charge and has the necessary clout to call other youth-serving agencies to the table.
Changing institutional culture is difficult and can take a long time. A Models for Change assessment team noted that, even after four years, veteran staff remained ambivalent about the transition from an adult corrections model to a juvenile-centered and rehabilitation model and unclear about their roles (Illinois Models for Change Behavioral Health Assessment Team, 2010). Missouri officials credit the transparency of their programs and their activities as a critical ingredient in keeping the support of the legislature and the public (see Appendix B). They also attribute the longevity of the Missouri model to stable leadership, an unusual occurrence in the United States, where a juvenile corrections administrator serves an average of 2.8 years.45
One common feature of many successfully implemented reforms is a significant investment in TTA to address organizational culture and to smooth the way for implementation by teaching specific operational skills and techniques essential to implementing reforms. Missouri estimates that it spends approximately $500,000 annually in training its staff (see Appendix B). Training was viewed by JDAI as critical to retaining support among stakeholders and by Models for Change to ensure that new personnel have the knowledge and orientation to perform their new roles (Schwartz, 2001; Wiig et al., 2010). Technical assistance also continues to be an important component of reform activities. Both Models for Change and JDAI make heavy use of peers and consultants who offer technical assistance and allow for the sharing of experiences among the sites. Peer-to-peer technical assistance, as opposed to traditional technical assistance and training models, appears to be the more favored approach (Lubow, 2011).
Structural differences may exacerbate the difficulties of establishing and sustaining collaboration between the juvenile justice agency and the courts and among the courts, juvenile justice agency, and the family/welfare/schools/health agencies. We have already mentioned the difficulties associated with housing a juvenile justice agency within the adult corrections department. Key structural barriers can also arise from differences in mission, mandates, and goals among various youth-serving agencies (Osher, 2002). These differences have been particularly noted in the fields of education (Leone, Quinn, and Osher, 2002), mental health (Shufelt, Cocozza, and Skowyra, 2010), and child welfare (Siegel and Lord, 2004; Herz and
45 E-mail from Darlene Conroy, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, April 18, 2012.
Ryan, 2008a; Wiig and Tuell, 2008). Achieving buy-in from different agencies often requires structural changes and the recognition that collaboration not only will further each agency’s mandate but also should contribute to a shared set of goals and vision (Shufelt, Cocozza, and Skowyra, 2010; Herz et al., 2012).
Some states have attempted to reform their systems by making structural changes. Texas passed legislation in 2011 combining two separate agencies, the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, into a unified state juvenile justice agency that has direct responsibility for youth committed to the state agency as well as responsibility to establish regulations and to pass through state funding to support youth who come to the attention of local juvenile justice agencies (Senate Bill 653, 82nd Regular Legislative Session [TX2007]).
Finally, structural issues also arise from the separation of legislative and executive powers. Even if reformers are able to establish new juvenile justice policies and missions, keeping all the agencies on board and collaborating are very difficult in light of these structural problems.
Accommodating Resistant Stakeholders
A more substantial impediment is to overcome the resistance of the staff of juvenile corrections agencies, who are concerned about the loss of job security that is inevitably associated with transitions from an institution-based model to a community-based services model, for which they have not been trained. (See the earlier description of Jerome Miller’s experience in Massachusetts.) The opposition may arise from local governments, particularly in small communities that are dependent on facility jobs. Well-organized opposition tends to come from the unions that represent juvenile justice staff and from legislators who support the unions. The difficulty of closing state juvenile justice facilities is analogous to the well-documented problems associated with closing state prisons and mental health facilities.
Union response to closing state juvenile justice facilities in New York is an illustration of this fierce opposition. In 2006, the unions in New York were successful in getting the legislature to statutorily impose a 12-month advance notice provision of a significant service reduction before any facility could be closed. Although there is no longer a need for a facility, unless the governor is able to secure a waiver from the legislature, the state is required to keep the facility open and fully staffed for a year after its announced closing. Efforts to minimize the impact of facility closings failed to appease the union or dampen its opposition. Since 2007, fewer than 300
people have been terminated from state service due to the rightsizing of the juvenile justice system.46
According to New York officials, one key to reducing union influence and power was a media campaign that exposed the shortcomings of the system and highlighted the huge cost of incarcerating each youth and the poor system outcomes. A second factor was the influence of a strong advocacy community, which mobilized quickly and was strategic in engaging diverse constituencies and targeting the legislature. Finally, the commissioner’s willingness to operate in a more transparent manner and share information about the youth in care, conditions, and costs generated support among a diverse group of stakeholders.
Costs of Restructuring
Even when the reform promises to save money in the long run, added costs are often associated with implementing change in the short run, particularly when the change calls for creating a new agency or establishing new programs. It is a challenge to manage and mobilize the necessary financial resources to pay for salaries, training, and the costs associated with new programs as well as for transitional costs associated with layoffs or retraining displaced personnel. During the past two decades, states have attempted to meet the economic challenges caused by rising costs by offering financial incentives to counties for prevention programs and community-based treatment for adjudicated youth. In return, the counties agree to reduce their juvenile commitments to state facilities and intervene with youth locally. This “reinvestment” strategy was tried in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the 1970s and 1980s, and in the past 15 years it has gained popularity as state governments have become increasingly strapped for funds. Today, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Deschutes County, Oregon, all have legislative programs calling for state reimbursement to counties for youth maintained in the local community (see Box 9-4 for a description of Ohio’s reforms). Wayne County, Michigan, has moved further: in 2000 it abolished its county probation agency and replaced it with a private juvenile case management system. The private provider is now responsible for all juvenile services, including residential placement, with the state matching funds that the county spends on juvenile services (Butts and Evans, 2011).
46 E-mail correspondence from Gladys Carrión, commissioner, New York Office of Children and Family Services, March 16, 2012.
Building and Sustaining Program Capacity
The desire to provide high-quality community programs is a driving force for many juvenile justice reform activities. This certainly is the case in states that are shifting the numbers of youth held in state institutions to community programs. It is also a key focus of states, including Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, that have passed legislation requiring evidence-based programs and practices (see Box 9-5).
Committing funding sources to evidence-based programs is one part of the challenge. But an equal challenge is identifying programs at the local level capable of providing the needed services. This was a huge problem for youth services director Jerome Miller in the 1970s in Massachusetts, who admits to having gambled on community-based programs that were not very experienced (Miller, 1991). One approach used in Missouri is the creation of community liaison councils in program sites. These councils have responsibility for managing the community-based treatment programs. In addition to providing treatment, they offer peer support and a general home base in the community (see Appendix B).
Replication and Scaling Up
Replicating and scaling up successful innovations requires documentation of the innovation itself and the contextual and organizational elements that contribute to its successful implementation. As Berman and Nelson point out, “A model that produces desirable outcomes in some locations by changing the organization is likely to require organizational change in another setting…. Knowing that a model produces desirable outcomes in one location is not the same as knowing what makes the model work” (Berman and Nelson, 1997, p. 329). Berman and Nelson (1997) believe that it is not even possible to replicate with any fidelity; instead, replication should be regarded as an effort to stimulate a process of adaptation whose results are most likely to produce effective outcomes. Increasingly, however, this view is being challenged (Fagan et al., 2008; Hawkins et al., 2008).
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has acknowledged that rigorous replication of its JDAI model has been a challenge and attributes the difficulty to the demands of the model itself and the lack of a single dedicated funding source. A 2008 survey of its 54 sites revealed that almost all had formed leadership collaborations, had site coordinators and annual work plans with measurable outcomes, and had developed a data capacity. But sites had much more difficulty implementing case processing reforms, reducing confinement of some kinds of detention cases, and identifying factors contributing to DMC. Furthermore, few sites had been able to monitor
Since 1995, the Ohio legislature and the state’s juvenile justice leadership have undertaken far-reaching statewide reforms that include highly incentivized reinvestment strategies, e.g., RECLAIM OHIO and Targeted RECLAIM, which allow youthful offenders to be served in their local communities; an expansion of community-based alternatives; an expansion of evidence-based programs in its state institutions; a focus on the behavioral and health needs of its most serious juvenile offenders; efforts to reduce collateral sanctions; and capacity-building components related to the support of evidence-based programs and workforce capacity.
The results to date are impressive:
- Between 2002 and 2011, Ohio decreased its annual commitments to state facilities from 2,336 to 633 youth (felonies and revocations). Source: Felony Commitments and Revocations of Parole for FY2002-FY2011 spreadsheet provided in e-mail correspondence from Ryan Gies, deputy director, Courts and Community Services, Ohio Department of Youth Services, August 24, 2012.
- Between April 2009 and July 2012, Ohio more than halved the average daily population of its state facilities. Source: Ryan Gies, deputy director, Courts and Community Services, Ohio Department of Youth Services.
and improve conditions of confinement for youth in secure confinement (Schwartz, 2001).
The Missouri model has also presented great challenges to jurisdictions attempting to replicate it. Part of the challenge arises from the fact that some jurisdictions find themselves unable to adopt the model in its entirety. Another challenge is the inadequacy of documentation of the Missouri model. New York’s Office of Children and Family Services found it necessary to commission a detailed set of written policies and procedures for use with its own developing program (New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Vera Institute of Justice, and the Missouri Services Institute, 2011). In Louisiana, replication of the model has become a political issue with the youth advocacy group, FFLIC, sharply criticizing the inadequacy of the state’s efforts to replicate the model (Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, 2011).
- Since 2010, Targeted Reclaim (the six counties that have historically committed the most youth to ODYS as well as an additional 8 counties added in 2012) has funded evidence-based treatment programs in their counties and now participates in an extensive evaluation.
- Between 2006 and 2011, Ohio treated 1,758 charged or adjudicated youth with substantial mental health impairments as part of its Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice Initiative (BHJJI). Operating in the largest urban counties, the program diverts youth from local and state detention centers who are primarily (76%) moderate or high-risk youth into community-based mental and behavioral health treatment. Nearly 62% of the youth terminated from the program were identified locally as successful treatment completers. One year after termination, 10% of successful completers and 19% of unsuccessful completers had a new felony charge. The average cost to the state of youth enrolled in BHJJI was $4,778 compared to $167,960, the estimated costs of housing the average youth at a state facility (Kretschmar, Flannery, and Butcher, 2012).
- The Collateral Sanctions Bill, S.B. 337, signed June 26, 2012, reduces those barriers that further impact juveniles, including breach of confidentiality involving juvenile records, educational hindrances for youth returning to their communities, and laws or administrative codes that impede a youth’s ability to get a job (Ohio Department of Youth Services, 2012).
JDAI is now working to achieve state-scale replication of its model. New Jersey is serving as a learning laboratory for other JDAI states. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has indicated that it hopes JDAI can be replicated in jurisdictions serving at least three-fourths of the nation’s youth by 2015. Expanding to additional states and localities, sustaining detention reform in existing sites, and doing both during difficult financial times remain difficult challenges (Mendel, 2009).
The committee thinks that scientifically valid evaluations could contribute to replication efforts by providing solid evidence of the impact of reform activities and identifying effective elements of any reform model. Research aimed at examining the quality of implementation efforts across many sites can also shed important light on the factors affecting the implementation process (Durlak and DuPre, 2008; Liberman, 2011).
Legislative Commitments to Evidence-Based, Developmentally Appropriate Policies
Illinois—House Bill 83, signed by Governor Pat Quinn, directs judges to consider whether treatment in a youth’s community would be a better option than sentencing to incarceration in a state juvenile prison. HB 83 was signed on August 15, 2011, and took effect on January 1, 2011. It is an amendment to the Illinois Juvenile Court Act. Advocates said it is intended to make certain that judges determine what sentence is best for the youth and the community.
Under Public Act 95-1031 (January, 2010), 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors will now have access to the juvenile court’s mental health, drug treatment, and community-based services.
In 2005, Illinois voted unanimously to repeal an “adult time for adult crime” law that required youth accused of drug crimes in or around public schools or housing projects to be transferred to the adult system.
Mississippi—Under S.B. 2969, 2010 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 2010), most 17-year-olds are removed from the adult criminal court. The new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2011, allows juveniles charged with arson, drug offenses, robbery, and child abuse to remain under the original jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system.
Sustaining juvenile justice reforms is regarded by at least one foundation as “the most challenging issue facing new and innovative juvenile justice programs today” (Wiig et al., 2010, p. 3). Some efforts have been made to document the factors influencing sustainability, but the research is limited and does not appear to be very rigorous (Wiig et al., 2010).
Sustainability certainly arose as an issue 40 years ago, following the closing of the facilities in Massachusetts by Jerome Miller. Miller experienced enormous pushback from the Massachusetts legislators, who were not able to find their constituents jobs. Miller’s own peers, the National Conference of State Training School Superintendents, voted to censure him, and by November 1972 he was forced to vacate his position. During the next decade, commitments to institutions continued to fall, but by the beginning of the 1990s, the number of young people in secure care in Massachusetts had risen (Miller, 1991).
North Carolina—The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1998 called for adoption of Office of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Comprehensive Strategy framework. It was preceded by North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 143B, Executive Organization Act of 1973, which called for programs and services to be planned and organized at the community level in partnership with the state. It also established the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council at the local level to undertake planning.
Ohio—HB 86 and HB 153, signed into law in 2011, provide for the investment of funds from closed facilities into local services; enhance research-based practices; extend juvenile court authority to permit judicial release throughout a youth’s term of commitment; review mandatory sentencing to allow young people to be tried in juvenile court; and adopt uniform competency standards.
Tennessee—The Evidence-Based Law, signed by Governor Bredesen on July 1, 2007 (Public Chapter 585), provides for a five-year implementation timeline for all dollars spent on juvenile justice to go to evidence-based practices. The state is conducting a review of programs’ ability to generate data elements to determine effectiveness of evidence-based practices.
The Annie E. Casey and MacArthur Foundations have recognized the importance of providing guidance to their sites regarding sustainability. Each has produced a publication that specifically addresses the issue (Schwartz, 2001; Wiig et al., 2010). Both reflect the view that strategies to sustain innovations should be part of every genuine reform effort from the very beginning. They also emphasize the importance of building an infrastructure to support long-term change. Among the elements of such an infrastructure that they both cite are: strong leadership and collaborative bodies; communication and marketing strategies; data systems that can be used, not only to highlight problems, but also to provide critical information about the impact of policies and programs as well as their cost-effectiveness; and administrative practices that include an emphasis on training and skill development. As described earlier, the reforms in Missouri have been sustained by four factors: stable leadership, organizational change, treatment strategies, and constituency buy-in. Critical to its political success has been a bipartisan Youth Services Advisory Board (see Appendix B). Created by
the legislature, it is a collaborative advisory body with policy responsibility, oversight, and clout. As Decker (2010) has noted, constituency building is a key element to any successful program, particularly for long-term initiatives that span legislative cycles.
Stakeholder advocacy organizations can play a vital role to ensure that the pressure for sustaining the reformist vision and commitment is maintained through leadership changes. As shown in California, Connecticut, and Louisiana, commitment and single-mindedness have helped sustain the efforts in all the diverse ways that are necessary. Foundation priorities come and go. Good inspirational leaders come and go. But these advocacy groups remain.
During the past 15 years, substantial progress has been made by numerous states and local jurisdictions in embracing and implementing a more developmentally appropriate way of handling youth in the juvenile justice system. Sometimes jurisdictions have been driven to make these changes by the threat of litigation or by cuts in funding that make current practices and policies untenable. Others have responded to incentives offered by the federal government and to financial, training, and technical support provided by foundations. Juvenile justice watchdog groups and stakeholder organizations (at the local, state, and national levels) have played an increasingly important role in building consensus around the need for reform and bringing reform activities to fruition. Collaboration among the foundations and reform-minded stakeholder organizations is urgently needed if the reforms achieved during the past decade are to be sustained.
A major impediment to reform has been the lack of critical data on youth characteristics, particularly racial/ethnic data, offense data, and process data. Data on program outcomes are also urgently needed both for individual programs and larger system-wide efforts involving major jurisdictions. Both the Annie E. Casey and MacArthur Foundations acknowledge the difficulties they have had in quantifying the impact of their programs, particularly in light of other forces at work at the same time (Mendel, 2009) and the broad and flexible range of system reform models (Griffin, 2011). The Missouri model is being replicated, but its policies and practices have not been thoroughly documented and outcomes have not been assessed with scientific rigor. Resources are clearly required to conduct such assessments, but first and foremost there needs to be a commitment to undertaking this work.
The committee is disappointed with the efforts to date to define goals and specify quantified outcomes. We could find no evidence of well-constructed, scientifically valid evaluations that present the underlying
theories about expected program outcomes to guide the assessment. Despite the fact that the use of logic models has gained broad acceptance as a tool for constructing and conducting evaluations, and there have been examples of well-constructed multisite evaluations with jurisdictions as the unit of analysis, these methods have not been widely employed to assess the juvenile justice reforms described in this chapter.
The committee is puzzled about why systematic evaluation has not been undertaken and can only theorize that it has not been a priority given its expense and the practical difficulty of conducting them in sites that lack adequate research expertise and an infrastructure to conduct them successfully. The federal government can play an important role in facilitating efforts to improve data collection and analysis and supporting evaluations that will promote the adoption of developmentally appropriate policies and practices.