Researchers used state-level data on youth justice policies and practices to explore the association between state policy environments and recent changes in the use of residential placements for adjudicated youth (i.e., confinement). The study assigned a score to each of the 50 states based on the extent to which their youth justice policy environments could be considered “progressive” as opposed to punitive or regressive.
A research team led by sociologist Jeffrey Butts, executive director of the research and evaluation center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, will monitor the work in Denver and in four other communities that recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice. Butts said the results could help craft strategies in hard-hit cities like Detroit, where crime stubbornly refuses to ease. “The whole idea is to find a way to tackle what we call a hardened base of crime,” he said.