Youth Today

Report Pushes Advocates to Seek Structural, Not Just Financial, Changes to Juvenile Justice Systems
September 07, 2011
by John Kelly


The time is ripe for some states to reduce their reliance on youth incarceration, according to a report issued today by a veteran juvenile justice researcher, but that change may not lead to long-term reform unless advocates and legislators seek total realignment of juvenile justice systems.

The report – “Resolution, Reinvestment, and Realignment,” by Jeffrey Butts and Douglas Evans of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College – examines three strategies for reducing the number of juveniles who might be incarcerated by a state or local juvenile justice system:
Resolution: A decline in admissions to secure facilities that is brought about mostly by the will and influence of agency leaders or county or state policymakers.
Reinvestment: What happens when a state juvenile justice agency incentivizes options other than lockup by paying for those options and charging counties for the use of secure facilities.
Realignment: A shift in the structure of a juvenile justice agency or system toward a wider array of options, including the outright closure of secure facilities and possibly the elimination of state agencies responsible for housing them.

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