Massivedynamic.co
Justice Reform

The Crime Report published an article about juvenile probation and how originally it was designed to keep young people out of jail but has recently been a driver for youth incarceration. “There are far more young people in the justice system under the supervision of probation departments than there are in any other aspect of the system,” says David Muhammad, a former deputy probation commissioner in New York City who is now executive director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. Youth arrests have dropped from 2 million a year in the early 2000s to around 700,000 annually and many facilities are closing juvenile detention facilities. This has led to an increase in youth being on probation and parole. However, most struggle to get out of the system and rehabilitate successfully back into society.

On average, about two-thirds of youth are placed on probation by juvenile courts, leading to a reduced incarceration rate of about 60% compared to 10 or 15 years ago. However, this leads to youth becoming trapped in a cycle of recidivating and being on probation several times. It also opens the likelihood of them having technical violations resulting in detention or being sent back to jail. While the reduced incarceration rate is a positive move forward, the support for youth community supervision needs to also continue reforming with the criminal justice system changing from punitive to a rehabilitative focus.

TRACKtech is changing the way that probation and parole officers and supervisors can provide supportive and vital resources for individuals to break the cycle of being stuck in the system.  TRACKphone provides officers and clients the ability to be in constant contact and communicate via video conferencing, two-way messaging and through biometric identification check-ins. TRACKcase provides officers with the ability to geofence and monitor the location of youth, as well as check in with them. Behavioral health resources,  homeless shelters, and life skills resources, are available through the TRACKphone for clients.

Additionally, check-in eForms can be created by supervisors for clients to fill out, checking on them and to see where they can help the most. TRACKtech is working to change the way individuals, including youth, are rehabilitated back into society in the hopes of reducing recidivism and providing necessary resources for people to be successful when integrating back into society.   

0

Justice Reform

Having access to an education is vital for youth when it comes to learning skills and being able to succeed in the world. Education has become very expensive, limiting who is able to attend schools. With many limitations already placed on who can afford and receive an education, there are other factors that affect children’s ability to attend school, one being the inability to receive scholarships if previously incarcerated. 

However, The Denver Post published an article outlining how Colorado will be the first state to award college scholarships to previously incarcerated youth. They could be eligible for scholarships up to $10,000 annually toward the cost of a state college, university or other post secondary institution according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education. To apply for the scholarships, participants need to complete the scholarship application, obtain three letters of recommendation and finally if invited, participate in an interview with the selection committee. The center is working to knock down barriers that prevent youth from pursuing their dreams and passions that are affected by affordability.

The scholarship was created by Senate Bill 19-231, a second chance scholarship program, in the hopes of giving previously incarcerate youth a fair chance at receiving an education. Many have made mistakes but wish to fix them and have a second chance at a successful life, away from crime. It is important that they be able to do this and be awarded the same opportunities as others to receive an education. This will help them learn necessary skills and set them up better to succeed in life and reduce recidivism rates. Supplying access to an education for all youth is a very powerful deterrent to recidivism and previously incarcerated youth should not be deterred because of limitations set on being able to afford an education.

0

Recidivism

A program aimed at decreasing juvenile recidivism and conviction of crimes was created a year ago in Southwest Virginia, according to an article published by the SWVA Today. The program is called Functional Family Therapy services and was created to intervene with youth before they get too involved in the criminal justice system. The program offers family-based treatment and diversion services by working with juveniles who suffer from substance use and behavioral or emotional issues. However, this program is working on trying to intervene in a different way than the usual standard. It requires that all of the child’s family participate in the program, as it makes therapy for the child more effective and for their siblings as well if they have any. This helps reduce the risk of their siblings becoming involved in crimes as well.

The program was finally able to launch after receiving the funding it needed. It focuses on youth in the age ranges of 11 to 18, who are referred by their probation officers. The therapy providers also travel to the children’s homes to eliminate and help with transportation issues. It also helps the families and children feel more comfortable and willing to participate as it is in a place where they feel safe and welcomed. “The 29th Judicial District already has a handful of youth enrolled in the program” and are hoping to expand the program even more. They feel it is working and helping reduce recidivism rates in juveniles. Also, it is helping keep their siblings out of jail by providing the services in home and looking to educate youth to keep them off the streets.

0

Justice Reform

The Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice published a statement highlighting the need for justice in youth prisons. The United States criminal justice system like many other systems has flaws. The U.S. has long been the global leader in youth incarceration, as it locks young people up at a higher rate than any other nation. This effects not only the youth, but also their families and social ties by creating trauma and burdens on all. Youth incarceration is overused, as well as ineffective and inefficient when it comes to changing their behavior and positively influencing them.

More cities are realizing that in order to keep youth off the streets and out of jail, they need to have access to community programs and rehabilitative resources. Adolescents are still growing and developing when they are convicted of crimes and sitting in jail does not help them develop or learn from their mistakes. Punitive measures are becoming less and less conducive to changing the behavior of individuals, especially youth. Proper intervention for youth at risk of committing crimes is beneficial for the individual and public safety.

Racism also plays a heavy role in youth incarceration. With justice reform being a prominent topic right now, racism must also be addressed in youth prison systems. By dismantling youth prison systems, it protects children from physical and mental abuse, addresses the problem of racism, and provides alternatives to programs that will help steer adolescents in the right direction.

The joint statement by Fair and Just Prosecution and Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice on Youth Prisons highlights all of these issues and how improving youth corrections will improve public safety, reduce recidivism and keep children from falling into the revolving door of the criminal justice system. There needs to be positive and supportive change in their lives for them to realize the potential they have. Rehabilitation is the new ‘punishment’, in the hopes of helping adolescents stay out of prison and creating second chances for them.

0