National Catholic Register — How Restorative Justice Helped Make the Justice System Work Better in Seattle

If done properly, restorative justice can foster “the most natural human response to crime — to try to talk things through and resolve the conflict,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Continue reading National Catholic Register — How Restorative Justice Helped Make the Justice System Work Better in Seattle

Gothamist — Bridgewater Mall Incident Reignites New Jersey Debate over Police and Racial Profiling

For professor Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has spent years studying juvenile justice, the video is clear evidence of the disparate treatment accorded young Black people by police, long a concern of activists and policymakers across New Jersey. Continue reading Gothamist — Bridgewater Mall Incident Reignites New Jersey Debate over Police and Racial Profiling

NPR — Michigan School Shooter is 1 of Thousands of U.S. Juveniles Charged as Adults in 2021

“If it’s just supposed to send a message to that kid and all other people that we take this seriously and we’re not going to stand for this behavior, therefore we’re punishing you, then it accomplishes that purpose.” But Butts says if the idea is to improve public safety or prevent future crime, decades of research show that is rarely the result. Continue reading NPR — Michigan School Shooter is 1 of Thousands of U.S. Juveniles Charged as Adults in 2021

New York Times — A 7-Year-Old Was Accused of Rape. Is Arresting Him the Answer?

There appears to be little, if any, organized opposition to raising the age of delinquency. But those who resist say doing so would hamstring the legal system, according to Jeffrey A. Butts, the director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center. In rare cases involving a particularly dangerous child, he said, incarceration may prevent them from being a risk to others. Continue reading New York Times — A 7-Year-Old Was Accused of Rape. Is Arresting Him the Answer?

The New Yorker — Fighting America’s Gun Plague

In 2020, shootings in New York City were up more than eighty per cent. Working with high-school students, Shaina Harrison is on a mission to stem the carnage. by Ian Frazier March 29, 2021 … N.Y.A.G.V. has successfully lobbied the state legislature to pass major gun-safety measures. A law now requires that all guns in homes with children be under lock and key, thanks partly to … Continue reading The New Yorker — Fighting America’s Gun Plague

New York Post — Teen Busted Nine Times Could Get Sweetheart Deal — For Graduating High School

“In general, courts and legislatures do tend to leave a little wiggle room for judicial interpretation, and of course prosecutors always hate that,” said Jeffrey Butts, head of the Research Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Continue reading New York Post — Teen Busted Nine Times Could Get Sweetheart Deal — For Graduating High School

Orlando Sentinel — Limited Visits to Juvenile Facilities Worry Advocates

Not being able to see family in person for a prolonged period can be incredibly harmful for children, said Jeffrey Butts, a research professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He called it a destructive practice that prioritizes the institution’s needs over the children’s. Continue reading Orlando Sentinel — Limited Visits to Juvenile Facilities Worry Advocates

Easily Overstated

Policymakers, advocates, and even some researchers claim that youth confinement rates across the United States dropped in recent years due to changes in policy and practice. Such claims remain unproven, but voters and elected officials are inclined to accept them as factual because they are offered by reputable agencies and repeated in news media sources. Without reliable evidence, however, the notion that state-level youth confinement rates fall primarily in response to progressive policy reforms is merely appealing rhetoric. Continue reading Easily Overstated

Older Adults Responsible for Total Growth in Drug Arrests

Between 2000 and 2018, the steepest declines in drug arrests were observed among youth ages 10 to 14 (–52%) and young people ages 15 to 17 (–56%). Arrest rates among young adults also fell. Specifically, the drug arrest rate dropped –35 percent for 18-20 year-olds and –15 percent for adults ages 21-to 24. Continue reading Older Adults Responsible for Total Growth in Drug Arrests

Youth Still Leading Violent Crime Drop: 1988-2018

Based on the latest statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the national violent crime arrest rate declined 38 percent overall between 1988 and 2018, but the steepest declines were observed among youth ages 10 to 14 (–53%) and 15 to 17 (–54%). The arrest rate for 18-20 year-olds dropped 47 percent while the arrest rates for adults ages 21-24 and 25-49 declined 42 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Continue reading Youth Still Leading Violent Crime Drop: 1988-2018

It’s Not About the Art; It’s About the Artist

We actually need young people who are bold, willing to challenge conventional thinking, and to break rules, but we also need them to respect others, to rely on logic rather than force, and to appreciate the corrosive effects of violence and exploitation. In short, our communities need powerful and creative young people who want to improve us and not simply to fight us. These should seem like obvious concepts to anyone working around the youth justice system, but it is often surprisingly difficult to implement them in practice. Continue reading It’s Not About the Art; It’s About the Artist

Testimony to New York City Council

New York State’s Raise the Age legislation is an important opportunity to improve public safety, but it is just that – an opportunity. The success of Raise the Age depends on the efforts of every partner in the larger justice system, from police, to prosecutors, probation agencies, and the broad network of service providers who work with youth to keep them from becoming more deeply involved in the justice system. Continue reading Testimony to New York City Council

Positive Outcomes

Measuring positive outcomes in youth justice requires a shift away from recidivism as the sole indicator of program effectiveness. A youth justice system embracing the PYD approach would gauge its success by tracking positive youth outcomes, such as the formation of strong and supportive relationships, academic engagement, labor market readiness, and improved socio-emotional skills. Continue reading Positive Outcomes