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Juvenile justice

"Popular policy responses to youth who commit sex offenses, like listing them on sex offender registries, are largely based on misconceptions about why youth commit such offenses and how best to address their behavior. In fact, registries required by laws like the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) not only fail to protect child welfare and overall public safety, but actually jeopardize it, while taking an enormous toll on the youth who have offended. Fortunately, new research sheds light on why youth commit sex offenses and how to achieve the best outcomes for those they have harmed, the public, and the youth themselves" (p. 1). Sections explain: youth who commit sex offenses are still young people in development; most youth who commit sex offenses will never recidivate—the recidivism rate is 4%; youth who commit sex offense are not a special group; and youth who commit sex offenses respond well to treatment.

Youth Who Commit Sex Offenses: Research Update Cover

Although youthful offenders account for about 18 percent of all federal offenders sentenced between fiscal years 2010 and 2015, there is little current information published about them. In this publication, the United States Sentencing Commission presents information about youthful offenders, who for purposes of this report are defined as persons age 25 or younger at the time they are sentenced in the federal system (p. 1).

If your organization is looking for strategies to meet the needs of youthful offenders, you need to watch this video. It provides a wealth of information about this vulnerable population in a concise amount of time. “The program provides an overview of CSOSA’s [Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency’s] young adult efforts based on national best practice standards. The program will discuss: The findings of national best practice research; How CSOSA chooses youthful high risk adult offenders based on risk instruments with a focus on violence, weapons, sex offenses, drug use and previous violations while under community supervision; CSOSA efforts to focus on the treatment of young adults and CSOSA efforts to focus on the supervision of young adults.”

Youthful Offenders Cover

"Despite the strong language provided in the Prison Rape Elimination Act, state laws vary widely as to the regulations and parameters for housing youth in adult prisons. In fact, some states have no regulations or parameters governing the treatment of youth sentenced as adults at all. While some states have fully removed youth from their prison systems?—?Hawaii, West Virginia, Maine, California, and Washington?—?the overwhelming majority of states allow youth to be housed in adult prisons. In fact 37 states housed youth under 18 years of age in their state prisons in 2012. The PREA requirements have become the emerging standard of care for the housing of youth in adult facilities, yet the majority of states still permit the housing of youth in adult facilities, often times with no special housing protections. Once youth are sentenced in adult court to an adult prison term, few jurisdictions have enacted safeguards to protect their physical, mental and emotional health. Additionally, programs and behavioral responses in adult facilities rarely are adjusted to meet the needs of adolescent populations … This report explores how states house youth under 18 in prisons in the new age of PREA compliance and enforcement. Furthermore, this report highlights national trends in juvenile arrests, crimes, and incarceration of children in the adult system. With evidence of the decreasing number of youth entering the adult system, the recommendations focus on how states can successfully remove all youth from adult prisons" (p. 1). Sections of this report include: introduction; federal laws protecting youth in custody—federal laws on youth housed with adults; state laws protecting youth in custody--state statutes, regulations, and policies on housing youth in adult prisons; incarceration rates and offenses of youth in adult prisons—incarceration rates, and use of the adult criminal justice system compared to the rate of youth involved offenses; how youth end up in the adult justice system—pathways; disparities in the system—racial and ethnic disparities in prison, California case study, and young female populations; conditions and consequences of confinement—sexual abuse and suicide in adult prisons, staff concerns, and solitary confinement, and the relationship between incarceration and recidivism for youth; and recommendations to policymakers. An appendix provides the language of state statute laws, and regulations.

Zero Tolerance: How States Comply with PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard Cover

Ackerman, Mark, and Dillon Thomas

Canon City, Colo. (CBS4)

"They thought they’d die in prison, but now a group of inmates serving life sentences are getting a unique look at how life on the outside has changed since they have been incarcerated."

This article examines gang membership through a life-course lens. The life-course approach looks at how events in an individual's life history affect that person's future decisions and actions. Results are presented for: the correlates of gang membership in a national sample; the age-graded prevalence of gang membership; distinct pathways of gang membership in the life-course; and correlates of gang membership pathways. This study's findings "demonstrate that gang membership is strongly age-graded, much like criminal offending … While gang membership is overwhelmingly an adolescence-oriented phenomenon, the findings indicate that youth cycle in and out of gangs at distinct points in the life-course" (p. 366).

‘‘From Your First Cigarette to Your Last Dyin’ Day’’: The Patterning of Gang Membership in the Life-Course Cover

The well-documented statistics regarding the academic struggles of incarcerated youth are disconcerting, and efforts to improve reading performance among this population are greatly needed. There is a dearth of research that provides rich and detailed accounts of reading intervention implementation in the juvenile corrections setting … The present study attempted to address this gap in the research base by developing a grounded theory of literacy intervention implementation in one juvenile correctional school (p. 1).

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