November 26, 2013 – 7:00 a.m. (CST) A growing number of stories involving teens punching random people, knocking them unconscious, are being reported across the country. Joy Cardin’s guest criminologist discusses the “Knockout Game,” why he says the media is reacting “hysterically” to the matter, and what can be done about it.
“The Knockout Game” is a phenomenon where teens assault strangers by trying to knock them out with one punch. Is this a new trend? Is the media making it worse? Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY assesses the patterns behind this story and how it’s being addressed by the media.
Even critics of [shock incarceration] agree that this kind of commitment among the staff is valuable. Jeffrey Butts directs the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College. Butts says that if the only contribution of this program is to make the staff focus on structure, and having a theory that they follow so that their behavior is consistent and they respond consistently to people and incidents as they come up, then this is preferable to a facility or correctional program with no structure and no plan. “But that does not mean that there is some magic potion that they’ve discovered,” says Butts.
Today, we will talk to Laura Saunders, a child and adolescent psychologist from Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. She’ll tell us how violence affects the development of both children and their families. We’ll also talk with Jeffrey Butts, a researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Lou Gilbert, the director of a Hartford program that works with children who’ve witnessed violence, as well as Robert Plant, a Department of Children and Families director of community services, who can talk about what that state organization is doing with this population.
Research shows that young people who participate in youth court or teen court programs may have lower rates of recidivism. Adults involved in the programs attribute much of their success to the influence of positive peer pressure and the value of giving young people a voice in the process. Joining Radio Times host Marty Moss-Coaneus to tell the story of youth courts are Jeffrey Butts of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has evaluated teen court programs across the country; and attorney Gregg Volz, who has implemented school-based youth courts in Chester.
The number of kids sent to youth prison from Cook County declined dramatically between 1997 and 2004. According to a new report out today from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, that’s thanks to a cluster of reforms that divert youth away from pretrial detention and into more community-oriented forms of supervision. Jeffrey Butts is a research fellow at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children. He’s looked at the numbers behind the report, and done some crunching of his own. He says policy reforms are only part of the reason for the decrease.