“In recent years, research has overwhelmingly shown the harmful effects of incarcerating children. In the short term, incarcerated children are subject to dangerous and abusive conditions, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and practices such as isolation, which can cause permanent psychological damage. These harmful conditions have been proven conclusively in 39 states. Long term, children who are locked up in juvenile correctional facilities are less likely to succeed in school or to find employment, and they are more likely to reoffend compared to similar children who are placed on probation or in alternative programs … With current research on deincarceration and successes in Ohio and other jurisdictions, the question is not whether states should engage in deincarceration strategies, but how to best implement strategies that have been shown to reduce youth incarceration while maintaining public safety. This report will explore Ohio’s evolution of deincarceration programs and, based on Ohio’s experiences, discuss decision points and options that other states and localities should consider when implementing new or modifying existing deincarceration programs to create the most positive outcomes for youth and communities” (p. 3). Ohio's juvenile deincarceration strategies have helped to reduce the juvenile corrections population from 2,500 youth in 1992 to fewer than 500 in 2015. This publication is divided into five sections: introduction; creating a climate for change—the start of Ohio's deincarceration efforts; support for local efforts—Ohio's array of deincarceration programs, such as RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors)--two subsidy program and three competitive programs; putting it all together—coordinating and analyzing Ohio's efforts—eight findings; and four recommendations.
"Ohio is at the forefront of national juvenile justice reform and realignment efforts and serves as a model for other states looking to “rightsize” their own institutional footprints by moving away from costly correctional placements to more effective, community-based options" (p. 1) "This brief documents the major strategies, events and conditions that created this fundamental and ongoing shift in how young people who enter the juvenile justice system are treated. While these efforts are still a work in progress, this milestone marks a critical fiscal realignment policy concerning the importance of creating and sustaining strategic investments in what works for justice-involved youth" (p. i). Sections of this report cover: beginnings; a shifting corrections footprint and the use of community corrections facilities (CCFs); timeline of major Ohio juvenile justice milestones and DYS (Department of Youth Services) initiatives; DYS state-local partnership with juvenile courts; alignment of key factors—facility closures, state budget, settlement agreement, and best practices—to advance what works; leveraging state policy to promote cost-effective outcomes; seizing opportunity in facility closure savings for long-term realignment and reinvestment—the evolution of RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors) to competitive grants; and next steps.
The aim of this report is to present the findings of an evaluation of an initiative to improve the outcomes of justice-involved individuals with severe mental illnesses in the Greater Cincinnati area. It is divided into five parts: introduction—importance of the Initiative, substance use disorder and severe mental illness in the criminal justice system, and the Urban Society study; grantee interviews; grantee outcomes; lessons learned for criminal justice and behavioral health practitioners, for criminal justice practitioners, for policymakers, public administrators, and other decisionmakers, for researchers, and for funders; and conclusions. “Overall, the Health Foundation can point to an array of positive outcomes associated with the Initiative. As evidenced in the lit¬erature, the Initiative was focused squarely on an under- and unserved population and can point to several benefits of program participation for this population. Further, the Initiative has generated lessons for future behavioral health and criminal justice programming as well as the different system stakeholders who have the ability to foster such programming” (p. 22).
This article describes a innovative partnership between local and state agencies that can be used by other states to reduce costs associated with justice-involved juveniles. “Beginning in 1994, Ohio implemented RECLAIM Ohio, a performance-based funding partnership between the state and local governments that expanded counties' use of effective, cost-efficient community-based options for lower-risk juvenile offenders. The program has helped cut recidivism rates and saved the state millions of dollars.” Sections of this brief cover: program background; reforms enacted—authorizing legislation, incentive funding, program support, standardized tools, focused expansion, and evidence-based programs; program impacts- commitments down, costs reduced by $11 to $45 depending on placement type, public safety improved, and lower recidivism rates.
The use of systemic criminal justice planning by Hamilton County (OH) to improve services and programming for women offenders is reviewed. This bulletin is comprised of the following sections: introduction; the systemic planning process; members of the Intermediate Sanctions for Women Offenders Policy Team; steps in the collaborative systemic planning process (chart); how decision mapping works; sample findings and results; the Alternative Interventions for Women (AIW) Treatment Program; and lessons learned. AIW graduates have a 13% new criminal conviction rate and a 6% probation violation resulting in jail time rate.
The instrumental use of evidence-based research for influencing the passage of reform efforts affecting the juvenile justice system in Ohio is explained. “Many states across the country face the challenges posed by young people in the juvenile justice system. Ohio is among the few states that has created and implemented innovative funding strategies and relied on research and evaluation to improve its approach” (p. i). Sections following an executive summary are: introduction—case study as a learning tool and overview of partners and policy change with a focus on child well-being; leveraging the policy window—political climate, juvenile justice landscape in Ohio pre-reform and key stakeholders; juvenile justice as a compelling social problem—the role of policy research in making the case for reform; agenda-setting and framing solutions to “invest in what works”—using research to inform a policy reform plan; spheres of influence model—core team and collaborative strategy for juvenile justice policy reform; juvenile justice policies achieved within House Bill 86 reflect research-based, child development, and well-being perspective; and principles and implications for future policy reform efforts.
This dissertation examines whether solitary confinement and time spent in solitary confinement impacts institutional conduct upon release from solitary confinement. This report will also help correctional professionals and policy makers make well-informed decisions about the use of solitary confinement. "Solitary confinement (SC) has been an important component of the American prison system since the emergence of the penitentiaries in the early 1800s. The main criticism of SC has long been that it causes inhabitants undue psychological distress and by extension increases propensity toward criminal behavior. The use of SC raises constitutional and humanitarian concerns, with critics who charge the practice constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, is inhumane, and violates the minimum standards of decency. However, SC is also a management tool in which correctional officials have come to rely upon for the effective management of prisons, and many would not waiver in the contention that SC is needed to ensure the safety and security of these institutions" (p. i). This study examines what effect solitary confinement has on the futures criminal behavior of offenders released from SC. The impacts of SC on mentally ill inmates, gang members, gender, risk, race, age, offense type, sentence length, and custody level are presented. "The most important finding in this study is the lack of evidence of any effect of SC on subsequent inmate misconduct. In all twelve of the multivariate models examined here, SC was not significantly related to misconduct. These results suggest that neither the experience of SC, nor the number of days spent in SC, had any effect on the prevalence or incidence of the finding of guilt for subsequent violent, nonviolent, or drug misconduct. These findings run counter to the arguments that SC decreases, or increases, criminal behavior and support the conclusion that SC has no effect on criminal behavior. Further, seriously mentally ill inmates in SC had an increased risk for subsequent nonviolent and drug misconduct, while gang members in SC had an increased risk for subsequent violent and nonviolent misconduct. This study did not reveal much of a difference in effect based on gender, though there is some evidence that females in SC may be less likely than males to engage in subsequent violent misconduct. Risk was not found to have any significant relationship. However, it is cautioned that the risk assessment used was less than ideal and further research should be conducted with other risk instruments before any definitive conclusion are made about the mediating effect of risk on institutional behavior. There were no differences found in the effect of SC based on race or prior incarceration. Younger inmates in SC were found to be at a increased risk for violent and nonviolent misconduct. Finally, sentence offense type did not have much of an influence on misconduct, though being committed for a drug offense showed a reduced risk in violent misconduct when compared to nonviolent offense" (p. 112-113).
The relationships between family visitation and an incarcerated youth's behavior and performance in school are examined. The project studied was Families as Partners, a collaboration between the Vera Institute and Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS). Sections of this brief include: introduction; background about the collaboration; data and methodology for this study; findings regarding the impact of visitation on behavior and school performance—youth characteristics, family contact frequency, behavior incidents, and school performance; and conclusion. "Vera researchers found that family visitation of incarcerated youth was associated with improved behavior and school performance. These findings highlight the importance of visitation and suggest that juvenile correctional facilities should try to change their visitation policies and related practices to promote more frequent visitation with families" (p. 1).