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Attorney General's Task Force Issues Recommendations To Address Children's Exposure to Violence

A photo of Attorney General Eric Holder (middle), Joe Torre (left), and Robert Listenbee, J.D. (right).
Attorney General Eric Holder's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence is co-chaired by Joe Torre (left), Major League Baseball's executive vice president for Baseball Operations and chairman of the board of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation; and Robert Listenbee, J.D. (right), chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. The task force presented more than 50 recommendations for a coordinated national response to children's exposure to violence at the winter meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
According to the OJJDP-supported National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), more than 60 percent of American children are exposed to violence, crime, and abuse each year, either as victims or witnesses. Children's exposure to violence carries
short- and long-term consequences in a range of areas, including brain development, emotional attachment and healthy relationships, physical health, educational success, and risk of future delinquency.

To address this serious issue, Attorney General Eric Holder in 2010 launched the Defending Childhood Initiative, which leverages existing resources across the U.S. Department of Justice to focus on preventing, addressing, reducing, and more fully understanding childhood exposure to violence.

In 2011, Attorney General Holder appointed a national task force to raise public awareness about the issue of children's exposure to violence and recommend policies for preventing, responding to, and mitigating the effects of exposure to violence.

The task force is composed of 13 leading experts from diverse fields and perspectives, including practitioners, child and family advocates, academic experts, and licensed clinicians. The group is co-chaired by Robert Listenbee, J.D., chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia; and Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president for Baseball Operations and chairman of the board of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, an organization that educates students, parents, and teachers about the effects of domestic violence, and provides safe places at school for students exposed to domestic violence.

Thumbnail of the final report of the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.
The final report of the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, released on December 12, 2012, at the meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
On December 12, 2012, the task force presented its final report and recommendations for launching a coordinated national response to address children's exposure to violence.

The report includes 56 recommendations and highlights the importance of identifying children who are victims or witnesses of violence and providing support and services to help them heal. It focuses on developing programs to help children access supportive and nonviolent relationships with trusted adults in their homes and communities. The task force also calls for all children who enter the juvenile justice system to be screened for exposure to violence.

"The 56 recommendations included in this report will not be shelved," Attorney General Holder promised at the conclusion of the meeting. "They will not be set aside. They will be taken into careful consideration and, wherever possible, used as the basis for action—and as a blueprint for strengthening our robust anti-youth violence work that's already underway."

The meeting also included a presentation by Vincent Felitti, M.D., co-principal investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, now in its 16th year. Dr. Felitti said the study documents that traumatic experiences during childhood and adolescence can have a profound effect on adult health, well-being, and mortality a half-century later.


The task force's final report and recommendations are available on the U.S. Department of Justice Web site. An archived Webcast of the meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as well as the Attorney General's remarks at the introduction and conclusion of the task force presentation, may be accessed online. To learn more about children's exposure to violence, read OJJDP's NatSCEV publication series. For more information about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, visit its Web site.

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OJJDP Funds a Total of $268 Million in FY 2012 Awards

In fiscal year (FY) 2012, OJJDP awarded nearly $268 million in grants to help at-risk youth, protect children, and improve juvenile justice systems nationwide. The 363 awards were made through formula, block, and discretionary grant funding.

OJJDP awarded more than $68 million to national and local organizations to strengthen, expand, and implement youth-mentoring activities and youth-development programming throughout the nation. Nearly $33 million was awarded under the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children program, which offers critical intervention and prevention services to families and supports law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels in cases involving missing and exploited children. In addition, the Office distributed more than $20 million to state and local law enforcement agencies under its Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program to support joint federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children and to keep children safe from Internet predators.

Funding through formula and block grants is available to states and territories through the state agency designated by the Governor. Juvenile Justice Specialists in each state administer the funding through subgrants to units of local government, local private agencies, and federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native jurisdictions for programs in accordance with legislative requirements. In FY 2012, OJJDP awarded approximately $50 million under the following formula and block grants programs:

OJJDP awards discretionary grants to states, units of local government, and private organizations to administer programs. Nearly $218 million in discretionary grants was awarded in FY 2012.


For more information about OJJDP's FY 2012 awards, visit the Office's Web site.

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National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Convenes in Washington, DC
National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention banner.

On December 10–11, 2012, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention met for its annual working session in Washington, DC. Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the forum brings together federal, state, and local partners in a collaborative effort to address youth violence in 10 U.S. cities.

The cities have rallied local stakeholders—police, educators, public health and other service providers, faith and community leaders, parents, and youth—to develop comprehensive strategic plans to combat local youth violence. The cities' plans are data driven and address youth violence through a range of strategies, including prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry.

The working session provided an opportunity to report on progress made in developing and implementing the cities' plans to address youth violence; to share information about opportunities and challenges; and to be briefed on best practices for organizational and systems change. The session also featured breakout sessions on a range of topics, including education, housing, and youth employment strategies; information sharing; reentry; coalition building; and data collection.

On the session's second day, representatives of the forum cities were joined by grantees from eight demonstration sites in Attorney General Eric Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative, launched in September 2010 to prevent, address, and reduce childhood exposure to violence. The grantees are preparing to implement coordinated, community-based strategies to address children's exposure to violence. Defending Childhood's demonstration sites are the city of Boston, MA; the city of Portland, ME; the Chippewa Cree Tribe, MT; the city of Grand Forks, ND; the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, OH; the Multnomah County Department of Human Services, OR; the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, SD; and Shelby County, TN.

In introductory remarks before the joint session, OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes expressed the hope that the joint session might serve as a springboard for partnerships and collaboration between the forum and Defending Childhood and a further alignment of their efforts to promote positive youth development.

Participants in the joint session were briefed by Vincent Felitti, M.D., co-principal investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, one of the largest studies ever undertaken to examine the link between childhood maltreatment and health and well-being in later life; and Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., M.P.H., chief executive officer of the Center for Youth Wellness, a comprehensive health and wellness center in San Francisco that integrates medical, mental health, and social services for urban youth.


To learn more about the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, read About the Collaboration, review the Logic Model, and visit Forum in the News. More information about the Defending Childhood Initiative is available online.

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National Research Council Report Supports Developmental Approach to Juvenile Justice

A photo of a boy.>Recent advances in scientific understanding of adolescent brain development should be more fully incorporated into juvenile justice system policies and practices, according to a report released in November by The National Academies' National Research Council. The report is the outgrowth of a 2-year independent study of the juvenile justice system commissioned by OJJDP.

Research has shown that neurobiological processes in the developing brain play a large role in the impulsiveness, susceptibility to peer pressure, and difficulty in assessing long-term consequences that characterize adolescence. These behaviors generally are transient and recede as individuals mature into adulthood. The findings have significant implications for the juvenile justice system. Adolescent offenders are different than adult offenders and are less culpable than adult offenders. This knowledge challenges the assumptions underlying the "get tough on crime" legislation of the 1980s and 1990s, which saw a rapid increase in the incarceration of youth and in the transfer of youth to adult court.

Today, the majority of youth in the United States are locked up for nonviolent offenses like drug, property, and status offenses notwithstanding indications that the experience of confinement may have long-lasting, negative effects. The Research Council's report emphasizes that the three most important components of healthy psychological development for adolescents are the involvement of a supportive adult authority figure, association with prosocial peers, and activities that encourage autonomous decisionmaking. These three necessities are lacking in most facilities that confine youth.

A developmental approach that emphasizes positive youth development rather than a reliance on detention and incarceration and other harsh forms of punishment is compatible with the juvenile justice system's goals of holding youth accountable for their actions, preventing further offending, and treating youth fairly.

The momentum for juvenile justice reform efforts will be maintained primarily at the state, local, and tribal levels. Most of the National Research Council's report focuses on challenges faced by schools, courts, and law enforcement and social service agencies. It also emphasizes the importance of OJJDP's support and leadership, particularly in the areas of research, training and technical assistance, and advocacy at the national level for the needs of youth in the juvenile justice system.


To read the report, "Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach," visit the National Research Council's Web site.

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Upcoming Events

PREA and Victims Services in Jails Webinar Series: January 17, 2013 (Part 1) and January 23, 2013 (Part 2)

Sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National PREA [Prison Rape Elimination Act] Resource Center, this two-part Webinar series will offer step-by-step guidance on developing programs to respond effectively to sexual victimization of inmates. Part 1, "The Big Picture: PREA and Victims Services in Jails," will provide an overview of the role of community-based rape crisis advocates in providing services to victims of sexual assault, the benefits of early intervention, and the legal and ethical questions surrounding confidentiality. Part 2, "Getting to Work: PREA and Victim Services in Jails," will focus on building community partnerships (e.g., interagency Sexual Assault Response Teams) to address the needs of sexual assault victims. Registration for Part 1 is available online. Registration for Part 2 will be available soon.

National Juvenile Justice Mentoring Forum: January 23, 2013

National Juvenile Justice Mentoring Forum logo.In recognition of National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) will host a National Juvenile Justice Mentoring Forum in Washington, DC. The forum, "Mentoring Partners in Action: Successful Children and Safer Communities," will focus on building coalitions and sustaining successful mentoring programs that reduce juvenile delinquency, school dropout, and the incidence of disconnected youth. Leaders from government and from the corporate, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors are expected to attend. Registration is available online.

The forum will take place on the eve of the 2013 National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC (see below for more information).

2013 National Mentoring Summit: January 24–25, 2013

National Mentoring Summit logo.MENTOR, along with OJJDP, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Harvard School of Public Health, and United Way, are organizing this summit, "Mentoring Works: Inspire. Achieve. Advocate." To be held in Washington, DC, the event will feature workshops on a range of topics, including best-practices programs, cutting-edge training tools and resources, innovations in financial sustainability and funding opportunities, and collaborative partnerships. The event will also include presentations by the field's premier researchers regarding the latest trends and analysis on mentoring. Registration is available online.

27th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment: January 28–31, 2013

The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children's Hospital is hosting this conference, to be held in San Diego, CA. The conference is designed to develop and enhance professional skills and knowledge in the prevention, recognition, assessment, and treatment of all forms of maltreatment, including those related to family violence, as well as to enhance investigative and legal skills. Registration is available online.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Leadership Forum: February 4–7, 2013

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America logo. The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's National Leadership Forum will take place in National Harbor, MD. The forum brings together more than 2,500 participants representing community anti-drug coalitions from all regions of the country, government leaders, youth, addiction treatment professionals, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-based leaders. Registration is available online.

National Conference on Bullying: February 15–17, 2013

The School Safety Advocacy Council, in partnership with the Florida Association of School Resource Officers and SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere), are sponsoring this conference in Orlando, FL. Conference sessions will take an indepth look at the causation, prevention, and mitigation of bullying. Speakers will address topics that include using digital literacy to combat bullying, what the trends reveal, and cyberbullying. Registration is available online.

5th Annual National Prisoner's Family Conference: February 20–22, 2013

This conference, to be held in Houston, TX, is the largest national conference focused on how incarceration impacts prisoners and their families. Presenters will include professionals and advocates from the criminal justice, social service, academic, and faith-based arenas. The event is sponsored by Community Solutions of El Paso. Registration is available online.

Judicial Institute: Family Law: February 24–27, 2013

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges logo.To be held in San Antonio, TX, this conference will feature a range of family law topics on challenging issues in divorce, custody and visitation, property distribution and finances, military service and families, and the role technology and social media play both in and out of the courtroom. The event is hosted by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Registration is available online.

Responding to Missing & Unidentified Persons National Training Conference: February 27–March 1, 2013

This conference will help participants navigate the complex investigative issues necessary to bring resolution to families of the missing as well as to law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Presenters at the event, to be held in Appleton, WI, will discuss the most current knowledge about information systems and technology, investigative practices, and strategies for developing effective interagency collaborations and protocols. The conference is sponsored by Fox Valley Technical College's National Criminal Justice Training Center. Registration is available online.

The National Children's Advocacy Center log6o.29th National Symposium on Child Abuse: March 18–21, 2013

The National Children's Advocacy Center is holding this symposium in Huntsville, AL. The event will feature workshop tracks in the areas of administration, child protective services, interviewing, law enforcement, legal issues, medicine, mental health, prevention, victim advocacy, and wellness. Workshops are designed for both seasoned professionals and those new to the field. Registration is available online.

2013 National Court Appointed Special Advocates Conference: April 6–9, 2013

At this event, sponsored by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, more than 1,200 CASA and guardian ad litem staff, board members, volunteers, judges, attorneys, and other child welfare professionals will gather to connect with peers and learn from leaders in the field. The conference will include more than 50 workshops and institutes, general sessions, and an exhibit hall featuring information and resources for the field. The conference will take place in Anaheim, CA.

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News in Brief

OJJDP Acting Administrator Testifies on School-to-Prison Pipeline Before Senate Judiciary Committee

On December 12, 2012, OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes testified on the school-to-prison pipeline before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Acting Administrator Hanes' testimony is available on the committee's Web site. To access a Webcast of the full hearing, visit the United States Committee Channel.

OJJDP Acting Administrator Addresses Over-Criminalization of Youth at ABA Meeting

On October 26, 2012, OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes offered remarks at a plenary panel, "Over-Criminalization and Over-Reliance on Incarceration," at the Fifth Annual Fall Institute of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, sponsored by the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section. "Thirty-eight years of research and experience at OJJDP have taught us that the minute a youth sets foot in detention or lockup, he or she has a 50-percent chance of entering the criminal justice system again when they are adults," Ms. Hanes said. "And that involvement with the juvenile system is the single greatest predictor of later criminality." Ms. Hanes provided an overview of several OJJDP-supported programs that aim to reduce the inappropriate detention and incarceration of youth, including the Supportive School Discipline Initiative and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.

cover of Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls: Lessons From the States.Report Highlights Strategies for Improving Juvenile Justice System for Girls

The Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy has released "Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls: Lessons From the States." The report reviews the literature documenting girls' pathways into the juvenile justice system; examines recent gender-responsive, trauma-informed reform efforts; highlights reform efforts in three jurisdictions; and concludes with recommendations for future efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. The publication is a product of the policy series, Marginalized Girls: Creating Pathways to Opportunity hosted by the center, in partnership with The National Crittenton Foundation and the Human Rights Project for Girls.

Listening Sessions Held in Four New Forum Cities

In October and November, OJJDP and Office of Justice Programs leadership held listening sessions with stakeholders in four cities—Camden, NJ; Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans, LA; and Philadelphia, PA—that were recently selected to join the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Officials from the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor also participated in the sessions.

Stakeholders included youth, local and federal law enforcement professionals, educators, public health and social service providers, representatives of community and faith-based organizations, research partners, and officials from local businesses and foundations. Participants discussed their cities' challenges and solutions and were briefed on the forum's current activities.

Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the forum brings together federal, state, and local partners in a collaborative effort to address youth violence. The other cities in the forum are Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Memphis, TN; Salinas, CA; and San Jose, CA.

Google Joins the AMBER Alert Network

AMBER Alert logo.The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children recently announced a partnership with Google that will allow users to receive AMBER Alerts—urgent child-abduction bulletins—through Google Maps and Google Search features.

The AMBER Alert Program is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice and is a voluntary partnership of law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, Internet service providers, and the wireless industry. The AMBER Alert program was created in 1996 after the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman and is credited with the recovery of 595 abducted children.

Report Describes Best Practices for Responding to Child Trafficking

Report Describes Best Practices for Responding to Child Trafficking coverIn April 2012, OJJDP's AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program convened the Trafficking in Persons Symposium to examine child sex and labor trafficking in the United States. The purpose of the symposium was to gather first-hand knowledge from subject-matter experts to develop expert-informed training for first responders, juvenile justice personnel, and other child advocates. The symposium was attended by survivors and practitioners from law enforcement, the judicial system, social services, education, health care, tribal communities, and community and faith-based initiatives. This report summarizes best practices for responding to child trafficking, as identified by the 127 participants, as well as their recommendations for addressing current challenges. The "Resource Guide" section of the report includes an annotated bibliography; a list of media, educational, and legal resources; and links to organizations that work to combat human trafficking and/or offer victim services.

OJJDP Research Featured at ASC 2012 Conference

The American Society of Criminology's (ASC's) annual meeting took place November 14–17, 2012, in Chicago, IL. During the 4-day meeting, OJJDP staff led and/or participated in several sessions to expound on findings from OJJDP-sponsored juvenile justice and delinquency prevention research. Topics included developmental pathways to family violence; rates and trends of childhood exposure to crime, violence, and abuse; intragenerational and intergenerational similarity in offending; intragenerational and intergenerational antecedents of delinquency and crime; efficacy of juvenile justice interventions; teens, sex, and tech; and OJJDP mentoring research and findings. OJJDP staff also hosted two sessions that highlighted funding, publication, and data-gathering resources available to researchers through the agency.

Children Exposed to Violence Database Now Available on CrimeSolutions.gov

CrimeSolutions.gov. Reliable Research. Real Results.The Safe Start Center has announced that a children exposed to violence (CEV) evidence-based database is now available on CrimeSolutions.gov, a searchable database of evidence-based programs. The CEV database provides professionals working in diverse systems with free and easy access to vital information about programs to prevent and reduce the negative impacts of children's exposure to violence. Each program has been reviewed and rated using a scientific rating scale to determine the level of evidence for effectiveness in reaching desired outcomes.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service Provides Greater Access to CrimeSolutions.gov Records

In an effort to provide visitors to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) with useful information about justice programs and their effectiveness, the NCJRS topical pages now feature information about programs rated as part of the Office of Justice Programs' CrimeSolutions.gov. If you conduct a search on NCJRS.gov, you will now see a section dedicated to CrimeSolutions.gov program results.

Newsletter Provides Online Mentoring Resources

The National Mentoring Program Logo.MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership has released The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, a new online newsletter for mentoring professionals. The newsletter will highlight new research findings and ideas about youth mentoring and will provide practitioners a forum to share their experiences. The newsletter is available online. Access additional mentoring resources on OJJDP's mentoring resource page.

Online Training and Resources Available for Mentors

OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center now links to mentoring training and resources on The Center for the Advancement of Mentoring Web site. These resources, developed to assist OJJDP mentoring grantees, include a training series on how to mentor young people involved in the juvenile justice or foster care systems or who are at risk for gang involvement. More information about OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center is available online.

OJJDP Selects Sites, Evaluator for Reform and Reinvestment Program

OJJDP has selected three sites and a project evaluator for the Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Demonstration Program, a new OJJDP-administered initiative made possible through the Office of Management and Budget's Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation. Grantees include the Iowa Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning, the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, and the Executive Office of the Governor of Delaware. The project evaluator will be the Urban Institute. The Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice Reform will provide training and technical assistance to the sites. The sites received awards to develop and implement an integrated set of evidence-based and cost-measurement tools that will enable them to make informed decisions about resources and services for justice-involved youth.

OJJDP Seeks Nominations for National Missing Children's Day Awards

Each year the U.S. Department of Justice recognizes the extraordinary efforts of individuals, organizations, and agencies that have made a significant contribution to protecting children during the prior calendar year. The awards are presented at OJJDP's annual Missing Children's Day Ceremony in May. Nominations must be received no later than January 18, 2013. Nomination forms and information about eligibility requirements and judging criteria are available online.

Photo of winning artwork from 2012 National Missing Children's Day poster contest.
Winning artwork from 2012 Poster Contest.
OJJDP Announces 2013 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest

OJJDP encourages fifth grade students to participate in the National Missing Children's Day poster contest. The annual contest creates an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and other child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and/or exploited children with children, parents, and guardians and to promote child safety. OJJDP will invite the contest winner to Washington, DC, to participate in the National Missing Children's Day commemoration in May 2013, at which time he or she will receive an award for the winning artwork. For additional information, including contest rules and submission deadlines, visit the poster contest resource page.

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New Publications

All OJJDP publications may be viewed and downloaded on the publications section of the OJJDP Web site. Print publications may be ordered online at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site.

Cover of Transfer of Adolescents to Adult Courtt.Transfer of Adolescents to Adult Court: Effects of a Broad Policy in One Court (Bulletin)
NCJ 232932

This bulletin presents findings from the Pathways to Desistance study about the effects of transfer from juvenile court to adult court on a sample of serious adolescent offenders in Maricopa County, AZ. The authors compare the extant literature with findings from the Pathways study and discuss the possible implications of these findings for future changes in transfer statutes.

To view and download this publication, or to order a printed copy, visit the NCJRS Web site.

Online Only—

Cover of Disproportionate Minority Contact.Disproportionate Minority Contact (In Focus Fact Sheet)
NCJ 239457

This fact sheet provides an overview of OJJDP's efforts to reduce disproportionate minority contact (DMC). The publication includes a description of OJJDP's DMC Reduction Model, which helps states determine whether disproportionality exists and, if it does, guides the establishment of multipronged intervention strategies to ensure equal treatment of all youth. The fact sheet also includes a summary of states' DMC-reduction activities derived from compliance plans submitted in fiscal year 2011.

To view and download this publication, visit the NCJRS Web site.

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News From the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention

Logo for Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

On December 12, 2012, at the winter meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence released a report containing policy and legislative recommendations for addressing the nation's high rates of children's exposure to violence. For more information on the task force recommendations, read the article, "Attorney General's Task Force Issues Recommendations To Address Children's Exposure to Violence" in this issue.

Meetings of the council are open to the public. Visit the Web site to register for the next meeting, learn more about the council, and read minutes from past meetings.

The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is an independent body within the executive branch of the federal government operated under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The council's primary functions are to coordinate federal juvenile delinquency prevention programs, federal programs and activities that detain or care for unaccompanied juveniles, and federal programs relating to missing and exploited children.

The council is made up of 22 members—13 ex officio and affiliate members and 9 practitioners. The ex officio members are: the Attorney General; the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development, and Labor; the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Affiliate members are the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Interior, and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of HHS. The nine juvenile justice practitioner members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Majority Leader, and the President of the United States.

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News From the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice

Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice logo. On October 18–19, 2012, members of the reconstituted Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) met for the second time in person in Washington, DC. Web-facilitated meetings were held in April and August 2012. In addition to furthering the committee's work, members received updates on OJJDP's activities and briefings on juvenile justice reform at the federal and state levels.

On the meeting's opening day, OJJDP's Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes reported that the Office is in the process of finalizing its program plan and will be restructuring the office to enhance OJJDP's service to the juvenile justice field. OJJDP's overall appropriation has dropped by 41 percent in the last 3 years—from nearly $462 million in 2009 to $277 million in 2012. OJJDP is currently operating under a 6-month continuing resolution, with funding frozen at last year's levels. Ms. Hanes emphasized that, in spite of reduced appropriations, OJJDP will continue to "find new and interesting ways to do business." In particular, she cited partnerships with the private sector and with other federal agencies to leverage resources.

Later that day, FACJJ subcommittees that focus on disproportionate minority contact (DMC), school discipline, and evidence-based practices met in closed sessions and then reported on the progress of their organizational efforts to the full committee. In addition, Haley Reimbold, co-chair of the youth subcommittee, discussed activities proposed toward the group's goal of ensuring that youth are fully engaged as a matter of practice at local, state, and federal levels, including an effort to collect and document firsthand accounts from youth about their experiences in the justice system.

On October 19, FACJJ members heard from national experts on juvenile justice system reform. In a presentation on reform trends in juvenile justice, Bart Lubow, director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, observed that the youth incarceration rate in the United States is the highest among advanced nations. At the same time, he said, "our juvenile justice system's reliance on detention and incarceration is not getting positive youth development outcomes and positive public safety outcomes." Youth who are held in detention are more than three times as likely to subsequently be found guilty and incarcerated as similar peers. After release, incarcerated youth are more likely to drop out of school and use drugs and alcohol.

Mr. Lubow cited the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), launched in 1992, as one successful strategy to reduce the juvenile justice system's reliance on confinement. As of 2011, JDAI sites had reduced detention populations by 41 percent and commitments to state facilities by 38 percent. These declines have come without sacrificing public safety: JDAI sites report reductions in juvenile intake cases, juvenile arrests, delinquency petitions, and felony petitions.

Nancy Gannon Hornberger, executive director, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, offered a brief historical overview of federal policy trends in juvenile justice reform, citing the passage of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 as the force behind a "sea change" in the way states and communities deal with troubled youth.

She explained that the 1980s and 1990s saw a further expansion of the federal government's role in juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. Congress created new requirements and authorizations to promote juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, including the requirement to reduce DMC within the juvenile justice system, the valid court order exception, and the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program. The reauthorization of the JJDP Act in 2002 expanded the scope of the DMC requirement and the purposes of Title II and Title V programs.

Ms. Gannon Hornberger said that the nation's outlook on juvenile justice tends to swing back and forth between punitive and rehabilitative approaches to juvenile delinquency, depending on the perspectives of leaders in the White House, Congress, OJJDP, and the states. "The outlook swings between 'adult time for adult crime' versus recognizing the developmental and other differences between youth and adults; between criminalizing adolescent behavior versus providing service, supports, and interventions; and between institutional versus family- and community-connected care," she said.

Speaking via videoconference from Colorado, Sarah Brown, senior researcher, National Conference of State Legislatures, described trends in juvenile justice state legislation over the last decade, including an increased emphasis on distinguishing juvenile offenders from adult offenders; ensuring due process; treating the mental health needs of juvenile offenders; addressing DMC; and improving reentry/aftercare.

Ms. Brown also cited U.S. Supreme Court rulings over the past decade that have addressed the sentencing of juvenile offenders: the abolishment of the death penalty for offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed (Roper v. Simmons, 2005); the prohibition of sentencing of juveniles to life without parole for nonhomicide crimes (Graham v. Florida, 2010); and the prohibition of sentencing approaches that mandate life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide (Miller v. Alabama, 2012).

FACJJ's meetings are open to the public; anyone may register to attend and observe. Additional information is available on the committee's Web site.

The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice is a consultative body established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (Section 223), and is supported by OJJDP. Composed of members of state advisory groups on juvenile justice, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.

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