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JUVENILE DELINQUENCY: WHERE WE’VE BEEN, WHERE WE ARE AND WHAT WORKS. Union University November 10, 2008 Steven C. Hornsby, Deputy Commissioner Tennessee Dept. of Children’s Services Division of Juvenile Justice. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY.
November 10, 2008
Steven C. Hornsby, Deputy Commissioner
Tennessee Dept. of Children’s Services
Division of Juvenile Justice
TCA 37-1-101. This part shall be construed to effectuate the following public purposes: . . .
(2) Consistent with the protection of the public interest, remove from children committing delinquent acts the taint of criminality and the consequences of criminal behavior and substitute therefore a program of treatment, training and rehabilitation;
(3) Achieve the foregoing purposes in a family environment whenever possible, separating the child from (the) parents only necessary for such child’s welfare or in the interest of public safety . . .
Early 1990’s – OJJDP research projects begin yielding fruit.
Meta – analysis approach developed by Lipsey, et al. that allowed “big picture” look at common characteristics of successful delinquency reduction programs.
OJJDP publishes “Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Offenders”. Research-based recommendations for use of graduated sanctions, early and intermediate interventions with focus on community responses to delinquency and use of incarceration only for serious, violent offenders.
Results were rash of “get tough” laws on juveniles:
Blended juvenile/adult sentences with longer lengths of confinement.
Transfer to adult court.
“Three strikes” laws.
Zero-tolerance laws especially with schools.
Fear and punishment-based programs.
NOTE: all but first are dynamic – can be changed!
Recent Brain Research
Why does this matter?
For the first time in history, we can say to a scientific certainty that we know what can be done to effectively change the lives of young people and reduce their participation in criminal behavior. In so doing, we can reduce the number of people who suffer as a result of crime while also reducing the amount of taxpayer dollars spent to warehouse those convicted of crimes.
What should that give us? . . .
That fewer victims will suffer
That fewer families will break apart
That more young people will break the cycle of violence and poverty
That fewer people will spend their lives behind bars contributing nothing to their families, communities and society.
“WHEN YOU’VE DONE IT FOR THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU HAVE DONE IT FOR ME.”