March | April 2013

News in Brief

Melodee Hanes Testifies at Organization of American States Hearing

On March 11, 2013, Melodee Hanes, then-Acting Administrator of OJJDP, testified at an Organization of American States (OAS) hearing on the placement of youth offenders in adult facilities in the United States. Hosted by OAS’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC, the hearing was organized at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. Among other topics, Ms. Hanes discussed OJJDP’s mission and authorizing legislation; the deleterious effects of incarcerating youth in adult facilities, including a greater risk of sexual assault and suicide; and OJJDP’s work with the states to incentivize improvements in their juvenile justice systems.

Cover of Report of the National Task Force on  Children Exposed to ViolencePrinted Copies of Report of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence Now Available

In December 2012, the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence released its final report and recommendations for launching a coordinated national response to address children's exposure to violence. The centerpiece of the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative, the report 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 and calls for all children who enter the juvenile justice system to be screened for exposure to violence. Printed copies of the report may now be ordered online.

New Reports on Juvenile Justice Reform Released

Three key reports that examine recent developments in juvenile justice reform were recently released:

Report cover pageReport Highlights OJJDP Green Reentry Grant Experiences in Tribal Communities

RTI International and American Indian Development Associates have released Early Implementation Experiences of OJJDP’s Tribal Green Reentry Programs. This report details the experiences of three tribal communities that used OJJDP Green Reentry grant funding to support the use of green technologies and environmentally sustainable activities in reentry programming for youth involved in the tribal justice system. The report profiles each site and examines their cross-site implementation experiences.

National Juvenile Defense Standards Available Online

The National Juvenile Defender Center has released National Juvenile Defense Standards, a comprehensive explanation of the role and duties of the juvenile defender in the 21st-century juvenile court system. The standards are designed to strengthen and guide the ethical and professional performance of the juvenile defense attorney.

Guide to Risk Assessment Implementation Published

The National Youth Screening & Assessment Project has published Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice: A Guidebook for Implementation. The guidebook details the purpose and nature of risk assessment, defines risk assessment concepts, describes some of the research evidence, and provides indepth guidance on selecting and implementing an evidence-based tool.

Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma screenshotOVC Video Series Addresses Children’s Exposure to Violence

The Office for Victims of Crime has released “Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma,” an online video series to address the needs of children exposed to violence and victimization. The series includes a public awareness video in which victims discuss the effects of the violence and trauma they experienced, and three topic-specific videos detailing evidence-based treatment, child advocacy strategies, and community-based approaches to help those affected.

Publication Discusses Children’s Well-Being

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released e-book versions of America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2012. The report is the result of a collaboration by agencies across the federal government to advance understanding of the nation’s children and what may be needed to bring them a better future. Kindle, iPad, Nook, and other e-book versions are now available for download.

Statistical Briefing Book Updated

Developed for OJJDP by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the Statistical Briefing Book (SBB) provides timely and reliable statistical answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from policymakers, the media, and the general public. The following updates were recently posted to the SBB:

Recidivism Reduction Checklists for State Leaders and Corrections Agencies Released

The Council of State Governments Justice Center is pleased to announce the release of Reducing Statewide Recidivism, a series of three checklists for policymakers, state corrections administrators, and reentry coordinators to assess state recidivism reduction policies and strategies. Produced in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the checklists help familiarize state leaders with key issues related to recidivism reduction and help them accurately evaluate strengths and weaknesses in their reentry efforts through enhanced communication and coordination.

A Webinar on the checklists was held in February 2013. A recording of the Webinar and presentation materials may be accessed online.

Research Brief Examines Possible Bullying and Suicide Links

In a recent blog post for stopbullying.gov, the authors review the literature to determine possible links between bullying and suicide in children and youth. They conclude that many factors may increase a youth’s risk of suicide—including mental health history, family history of suicide or child maltreatment, alcohol and substance abuse, and isolation—and caution against assuming there are “simple” causes for suicidal thoughts or behavior.

SAMHSA Develops Toolkit on Preventing Teen SuicideSAMHSA Develops Toolkit on Preventing Teen Suicide

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools. The toolkit offers strategies to help students who are at risk for suicide, to respond to the suicide of a student or other member of the school community, and to integrate suicide prevention into activities that fulfill other aspects of the school's mission, such as preventing the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2011, nearly 16 percent of students in grades 9 to 12 report having seriously considered suicide and 7.8 percent report having attempted suicide at least once in the past 12 months.

To download the toolkit or to order printed copies, visit SAMHSA’s Web site.