• Apr 24, 2017 | Thomas Grisso, PhD, Ivan Kruh | PUBLICATIONS

    Developing Service Delivery Systems for Evaluations of Juveniles’ Competence to Stand Trial: A Guide for States and Counties

    In partnership with NCMHJJ and with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP) has released Developing Service Delivery Systems for Evaluations of Juveniles’ Competence to Stand Trial: A Guide for States and Counties. The purpose of the guide is to help states or counties develop a forensic evaluation system (FES) for providing courts evaluations of juveniles’ competence to stand trial (JCST).  An FES for JCST evaluations has three components that are described in the guide’s three modules:

    • Module 1: Developing a JCST Evaluation Service Delivery System
    • Module 2: Creating Evaluation Standards
    • Module 3: Quality Control: Developing a Process to Apply the Standards

    This guide will be of special interest to state/county directors and managers of child forensic mental health services, juvenile court clinic administrators and clinicians, juvenile court judges and administrators, state juvenile justice advocacy groups, and community providers of services to youth in the juvenile justice system.

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  • Apr 24, 2017 | Thomas Grisso, PhD | PUBLICATIONS

    Policy Brief: Assuring the Future of Developmental Reform in Juvenile Justice

    The mid-1990s saw the beginning of resistance to the punitive reform in juvenile justice that had gripped the nation for about ten years. A new perspective on juvenile justice arose, acknowledging that adolescents needed a different response to their offending than for adults. The reform proposed that a developmental approach, consistent with adolescents’ relative immaturity, would offer better prospects for youth and public safety. During the ensuing twenty years, this developmental reform took hold nationwide and began changing the face of juvenile justice.

    Lessons of history tell us that policy reforms require maintenance. They may be robust initially but meet changing times that challenge their continuance. Sometimes they have inherent vulnerabilities. What are the future challenges to the recent developmental reform in juvenile justice? How can it best be sustained?

    The MacArthur Foundation, during the final year of its Models for Change initiative, supported a project to address these questions. It sought consensus among an expert panel about challenges facing the future of the developmental reform in juvenile justice and what might be needed to sustain it. This brief is based on the panel’s consensus.

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  • Jan 1, 2009 | MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice | PUBLICATIONS

    Adolescent Legal Competence in Court

    One of the pillars of the American justice system is the assurance that those who stand accused of crimes be mentally competent to understand and participate in their trials. The conventional standard for competence has typically focused on the effects of mental illness or mental retardation on individuals’ capacities to grasp the nature of their trials or their abilities to decide how to plead. Yet as the courts, both juvenile and adult, see increasingly younger defendants some argue that the law should also take into account adolescents’ lesser capacities owing to emotional and psychological immaturity.

    This brief details findings from the first comprehensive assessment of juvenile capacities to participate in criminal proceedings using measures of both trial-related abilities and developmental maturity. The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice compared the responses of youth and adults in a series of hypothetical legal situations, such as plea bargains, police interrogations, and attorney-client interactions. Responses revealed the degree to which participants understood the long-term consequences of their decisions, their ability to weigh risks, and other factors related to developmental and cognitive maturity. Findings show that a significant portion of youth, especially under age 15, are likely unable to participate competently in their own trials, either in an adult or juvenile court, owing to developmental immaturity.

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  • Feb 29, 2016 | Models for Change | PUBLICATIONS

    Models for Change 10th Annual Working Conference Conference Highlights

    The 10th and final Models for Change Annual Working Conference was a fitting celebration of the Models for Change initiative and its many successes. Nearly 450 people, representing 46 states, attended sessions from December 13-15th, 2015 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC.

    While the Models for Change initiative is coming to an end, we hope that the Models for Change community can remain connected. One critical component of our success together was sharing information and resources among participants at the local, state level and national level. The Resource Center Partners are continuing their work and the Models for Change website will remain a valuable resource. These resources and the spirit of collaboration we created will go a long way toward preserving our successes, mitigating threats to reform and advancing the field of juvenile justice. 

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  • Jan 1, 2009 | MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice | PUBLICATIONS

    Adolescent Legal Competence in Court

    This brief details findings from the first comprehensive assessment of juvenile capacities to participate in criminal proceedings using measures of both trial-related abilities an developmental maturity. The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice compared the responses of youth and adults in a series on hypothetical legal situations, such as plea bargains, police interrogations, and attorney-client interactions. Responses revealed the degree to which participants understood the long-term consequences of their decisions, their ability to weigh risks, and other factors related to developmental and cognitive maturity. Findings show that a significant portion of youth, especially under age 15, are likely unable to participate competently in their own trials, either in an adult or juvenile court, owing to developmental immaturity.

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  • Jan 1, 2009 | National Juvenile Defender Center | PUBLICATIONS

    Role of Juvenile Defense Counsel in Delinquency Court

    This policy paper describes the critical and specialized role of the juvenile defender and reflects best practices as defined by the field—front-line defenders, social workers, academics, and other juvenile justice advocates working in our nation’s juvenile delinquency courts every day. The goal of Role of  Juvenile Counsel in Delinquency Court is to educate judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and other juvenile justice professionals about the importance of the juvenile defender’s responsibility to advocate for the client’s expressed interests.

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  • Apr 4, 2016 | National League of Cities | PUBLICATIONS

    Research to Practice Memo: How City Leaders Can Draw Upon Adolescent Development Research Findings To Provide a Framework for Juvenile Justice Reform

    The new Research to Practice Memo: How City Leaders Can Draw Upon Adolescent Development Research Findings to Provide a Framework for Juvenile Justice Reform provides a ready resource for city leaders who want to apply the most up-to-date research on adolescence to local juvenile justice reform initiatives. Supported by a wealth of juvenile justice reform resources, cities across the country continue to reform how local agencies respond to misbehaving or delinquent youth.

    The Memo outlines how city leaders stand to reach better public safety and youth development outcomes by:

    • creating a robust continuum of community-based alternatives to the juvenile justice system,
    • making the first point of contact with police an opportunity for referral to services, and
    • using risk and needs assessments to match the right youth with the right services.

    In addition, city leaders can publicly call for their partners in county or state juvenile justice agencies to align their services and policies with research about what works for adolescents.

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  • Dec 1, 2015 | JJGPS | PUBLICATIONS

    JJGPS State Assessments of Disproportionate Minority Contact

    States are required to report data to monitor the overrepresentation of youth of color in juvenile justice. In addition to reporting data, states are required to submit an assessment of DMC to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This four page brief provides an overview which states also make these assessments publicly available and provides an overview of the challenges states faces in conducting the research and the range of reform recommendations they make.

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  • Mar 16, 2016 | Douglas Thomas, Nina Hyland, Teri Deal, Andrew Wachter, and Samantha Zaleski | PUBLICATIONS

    Evidence-Based Policies, Programs, and Practices in Juvenile Justice: Three States Achieving High Standards Through State Support Centers

    Evidence-Based Policies, Programs and Practices in Juvenile Justice (13 pages) provides case studies of three jurisdictions achieving high standards through state support centers. The jurisdictions were selected based on a 50-state survey of efforts to support evidence-based policies, programs and practices (EBPs) and selects examples that reflect an evolution toward greater sophistication and support for EBPs.  

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  • Dec 21, 2015 | National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice | PUBLICATIONS

    Strengthening Our Future: Key Elements to Developing a Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Diversion Program for Youth with Behavioral Health Conditions

    Diverting youth from the juvenile justice system to effective community-based services and supports will require systems that recognize and respond to trauma-related disorders. These include the front-end gatekeepers and decision makers (i.e., probation departments and courts), as well as the full array of community agencies that can provide healing, treatment, and support to youth and their families.

    This report is intended to offer a description of a trauma-informed juvenile justice diversion approach with examples of how some states are beginning to address and implement trauma-informed systems of care for youth and their families. It begins with a discussion of trauma and its effects on youth, especially those with behavioral health conditions. This is followed by a discussion of the types of trauma-related disorders, the behavioral manifestations of trauma that youth may display, and a summary of factors that affect the severity of trauma-related disorders. The report then describes nine key elements of a trauma-informed approach within the context of juvenile justice diversion. Case examples are included from each of the states participating in the 2014-15 Policy Academy–Action Network Initiative.

    This initiative, coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ) and the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), was jointly funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Foundation). As part of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Trauma and Justice and the Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative, this effort focused on improving policies and programs for diverting youth with behavioral health conditions from the juvenile justice system to appropriate community-based services and supports. 

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