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Youthful offender

Information and resources that address the unique challenges of providing health services to youthful offenders are provided through this 20-hour training program. This manual is divided into the following sections: adolescent development; trends and health issues; organizational/administrative issues; security and classification; the role of the medical staff; professional boundaries; mental health disorders; substance abuse; suicide prevention/intervention; sexual/physical/emotional abuse; behavior management; female health issues; action planning; and supplemental readings.

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This website provides access to the report and webinar, both entitled, "Environmental Scan of Criminal Justice Responses to Justice-Involved Young Adult". The first step in addressing how we deal with young adults in the criminal justice system is knowing what is out there — and following up with open communication and collaboration. To help jump-start and inform the conversation, NIJ conducted an environmental scan to explore programs and legislation that address the developmental needs of young adults involved in the criminal justice system … The results of the environmental scan highlight the fact that formalized programs serving justice-involved young adults are diverse, jurisdiction-specific, and often rely on local expertise and initiative. Programs are categorized based on the lead organization within the justice system: young adult courts, probation/parole, district attorney offices, community partnerships, prison-based and advocacy and research programs. Some common approaches and strategies to address the needs of young adults were identified. For example, most programs used case management and provided intensive services for substance abuse and mental health problems, educational needs, vocational training and stable housing.

"These interactive checklists can help state and local officials to assess whether their juvenile justice system’s policies and practices are aligned with the research on “what works” to reduce recidivism and to identify opportunities for improvement" (website). There are three checklists each designed for a particular audience: Checklist for Juvenile Justice Agency Leaders and Managers; Ten Key Questions Judges Can Ask to Improve Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System; and Three Key Steps Policymakers Can Take to Improve Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.

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This brief, from the CSG Justice Center, is designed to help state and local officials better support young adults in the justice system. It identifies these young adults’ distinct needs, summaries the limited research available on what works to address these needs, and provides recommendations for steps that policymakers, juvenile and adult criminal justice agency leaders, researchers, and the field can take to improve outcomes" (website). Part I—How Young Adults Are Developmentally Different from Youth and Older Adults: how young adults are distinct from youth; how young adults are distinct from adults; and young adults by the numbers--arrest rates, incarceration rates, and recidivism rates. Part II—Opportunities and Challenges to Meeting Young Adults' Needs: young adults under justice system supervision have distinct needs and few programs exist that are proven to effectively meet these needs—criminal thinking and behavior, education, employment, mental health and substance use, and transition to independence; young adults face systemic barriers to meeting their needs—aging out of protective networks and lack of coordination across service systems, and collateral consequences. Part III—Recommendations: four recommendations; and promising models for young adults under justice system supervision—Multisystemic Therapy for Emerging Adults (MST-EA), and the Roca nonprofit organization in Massachusetts; and increasing cross-systems coordination to improve outcomes for young adults in Iowa—the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development (ICYD).

Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Young Adults in the Juvenile and Adult Criminal Justice Systems cover

This brief, from the CSG Justice Center, is designed to help state and local officials better support young adults in the justice system. It identifies these young adults’ distinct needs, summaries the limited research available on what works to address these needs, and provides recommendations for steps that policymakers, juvenile and adult criminal justice agency leaders, researchers, and the field can take to improve outcomes.

This publication is an excellent graphic novel for male youthful inmates, those under 18 years of age, which provides them vital information about possible exposure to sexual abuse in adult correctional settings. "The novel raises several important issues including: (1) the code of silence among inmates and correctional staff in a facility; (2) beliefs about protective pairing; (3) the experience of gender non-conforming inmates; and (4) and female staff as perpetrators of sexual abuse". It is a prime educational tool developed with the Inmate Education Standard, § 115.33 of the National PREA Standards released on May 17, 2012. A separate set of discussion questions are also available.

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This is a great introduction about how to effectively reduce youthful offender recidivism. Topics discussed include: the meaning of evidence based practice (EBP); five things EBP requires; what research tells us; principles for effective interventions—risk (who), need (what), treatment (how), and fidelity (how well); risk principle—"Risk refers to the risk of reoffending not the seriousness of the offense", target higher risk youth, provide most intensive interventions to higher risk youth, and providing intensive treatment for low risk youth will often increase their recidivism; risk and need factors; the necessity for assessments--Youthful Level of Service/Case Management Inventory, Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI), and the Ohio Youth Assessment System (OYAS); dynamic and static factors; treatment principle—most effective are behavioral models (i.e., structured social learning, family-based intervention, and cognitive intervention); ineffective approaches with youthful offenders; fidelity principle—ensuring the program is implemented as it was designed; a new model of probation officer (PO) and offender interaction--Effective Practices in Correctional Supervision (EPICS); and some lessons learned from research.

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"It has been estimated that nearly 250,000 youth under age 18 end up in the adult criminal justice system every year. However, little attention has been directed to how adult corrections systems are managing the youth offenders that end up in jails, prisons and under community supervision. To address this information gap, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) convened three dozen juvenile justice and adult corrections experts on June 18th, 2010, to consider some of the known issues, impacts and opportunities that face corrections systems as they work to safely and effectively rehabilitate thousands of youth offenders in the nations' jails, prisons, probation and parole systems. This monograph presents the key findings identified during this convening of experts." Six sections comprise this publication: executive summary; what is known about the issue of juveniles in the adult corrections systems, and where there are gaps in data collection and information; what the issues, impacts and options are facing public safety systems when youth are awaiting trial on adult charges; when youth are convicted, and committed to the adult system; when youth who convicted in adult court are on probation or parole; and conclusion--corrections and the entire public safety system needs to focus on the successful strategies to curb delinquency, and positive youth development. The "Summary of Options for Federal, State, and Local Policymakers to Consider" is appended.

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Legal distinctions related to age provide a unique hurdle for young people in the penal system, who face restrictive rights based on their age in a country that benefits from profit through imprisonment. Understanding the history of youth incarceration requires examining how this country has defined the age of a “child,” and how they should be treated in the eyes of the law.

Although the United States still leads the industrialized world in the rate at which it locks up young people, the youth confinement rate in the US is rapidly declining.  This table shows rates of confined youth per state.

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