Current Developments inJuvenile Justice Policy Speakers: Erin Davies Children’s Law Center Melinda Haggerty Ohio Attorney General’s Office
Juvenile Court 101:Purpose of Juvenile Court Hold youth accountable and keep the public safe, while recognizing the fundamental developmental differences between youth and adults.
Juvenile Court 101:Goal of Juvenile Justice Reforms Moving toward a “right sized” system that ensures an individually tailored, evidence-based appropriate response for each youth.
National Research- and Evidence-Based and Trends: Benefits • More cost-effective • Proven to work effectively to reduce recidivism, increase rehabilitation, and improve public safety • Community-based • More appropriate given youths’ unique developmental needs
Ohio Juvenile Justice System: Legislative Changes • HB 86 – Reduced mandatory gun specification time, allowed judges to release youth from DYS facilities early, created reverse waiver, and established mental health taskforce and competency guidelines • SB 337 – Allowed youth to receive detention credit and to more easily seal and expunge their juvenile court records, placed youth in juvenile detention instead of adult jails • Budget – Increased allocations to Targeted RECLAIM and BHJJ, 45% of savings from facility closures can be allocated to evidence-based programs
Ohio Juvenile Justice System:Program Acronyms Acronyms: • JDAI – Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative • RECLAIM - Reasonable and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors • Targeted RECLAIM – evidence-based version of RECLAIM • OYAS – Ohio Youth Assessment System • BHJJ- Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice Initiative • MST – Multi-Systemic Therapy
Attorney General’s Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness
Taskforce: What Is It? • Designed to address the “revolving door” of individuals with mental health issues who come to the attention of the juvenile or adult criminal justice system • Co-Chaired by Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Stratton and Attorney General DeWine • Evolved from the Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts (ACMIC)
Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts • Originally founded in 2001 • Run by the Supreme Court of Ohio • Accomplishments: • 37 mental health courts • Promoted training for over 4,500 CIT officers • Advocated for new Juvenile Competency statute • Challenge: Confined to issues impacting the Courts
Taskforce: Subcommittees • Aging • Diversion and reentry • Housing • Juvenile justice • Law enforcement • Mental health and the courts • Policy and legislation • Psychiatry and Treatment • Research/Best Practices • Veterans Courts and Military Affairs
Taskforce: Who is Involved? • State agency representatives • Law enforcement • Judges • Mental health practitioners • Advocates • Individuals with direct system experience
Taskforce: Juvenile Justice Subcommittee Participants • Co-Chaired by a representative from the Attorney General’s Office and Franklin County Juvenile Court Judge Beth Gill • Members include advocates, practitioners, representatives from the Ohio Supreme Court and the Department of Youth Services, and individuals directly impacted by the system
Taskforce: Juvenile Justice Subcommittee Overview • Monthly meetings to discuss current issues in juvenile justice in Ohio • Speakers from throughout the state to keep members up to speed on the latest trends in counties • Three sub-groups: prevention/diversion, data collection, and youth involved in the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems
Taskforce: Juvenile Justice Prevention/Diversion • Focused on early identification of children with trauma or mental health issues and getting them into services before they hit the juvenile justice system • Examples: • Red Flags Program • School Responder Program
Taskforce: Prevention/DiversionAccomplishments • Issue: As recent events have shown, mental health programs can be critical to maintaining school safety. • Initiatives: The Subcommittee has weighed in with the various Ohio initiatives on school safety by promoting the School Responder System, which is in place in several counties in Ohio and helps to identify mental health issues in school early before the youth becomes involved with the juvenile system.
Taskforce: Prevention/DiversionAccomplishments • School Responder Program • MacArthur Foundation “Model for Change” • Trains teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, janitors, and other school professionals on how to recognize mental health issues • Places “responder” in school to link child to mental health services • Currently operating in Summit County and Jackson County
Taskforce: Prevention/DiversionAccomplishments Summit County Jackson County • 80 youth served (2011) • 76% had improved attendance, behavior, and had mental health issue addressed • First year: over 200 youth served, only 8 entered the JJ system • School referrals decreased by 1/3
Taskforce: Prevention/DiversionAccomplishments • After Sandy Hook shootings, Senator Lehner and Senator LaRose held series of school safety hearings • JJ Subcommittee advocated for School Responder Model to promote early identification of mental health issues prior to a violent incident
Taskforce: Juvenile Justice Data Collection • Focus on getting better data collection system on youth in the juvenile justice system • Currently, all 88 juvenile courts use several different court software systems • Ohio law requires annual reports • Need data to drive evidence-based policies • How can we know if a program is working if we don’t have data?
Taskforce: Data CollectionAccomplishments • Issue: Ohio is one of the few states that does not have a comprehensive, uniform data collection system for youth involved in juvenile courts, including youths’ mental health needs. • Initiative: The Subcommittee compiled a list of juvenile justice system data points for the Ohio Supreme Court to consider, provided research on other states’ data collection systems • Served as a catalyst
Taskforce: Juvenile Justice System-Involved Youth • Focus on youth who are involved in either the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice systems • Ensure that they are given access to mandated, age-appropriate mental health resources and education • Particular concerned with youth in adult jails • Bindover, SYO
Taskforce: Youth in Juvenile DetentionAccomplishments • Issue: Youth who enter juvenile detention centers in Ohio do not receive uniform screening for mental health issues, which can affect the youth’s stay. • Initiative: The Taskforce awarded DYS $82,500 to implement a statewide standardized screening process for Ohio's juvenile detention centers and public child service agencies. DYS is currently moving forward with implementing the MAYSI-2, a juvenile mental health screening tool, in detention centers across Ohio.
Taskforce: Juvenile Justice System-Involved Youth Youth in Adult Jails Youth in Adult Prisons • 36 times more likely to commit suicide • Often experience periods of isolation • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: creates depression, anxiety, and psychosis • Jails unequipped to provide youth with proper education or youth-trained mental health services • 8 times more likely to commit suicide • 5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted • Almost twice as likely to be attacked with a weapon by inmates or beaten by staff
Taskforce: Youth in Adult CourtAccomplishments • Issue: Youth in Ohio can be held in adult jails, which can create or exacerbate mental health issues for youth, especially when held in isolation. • Initiatives: The Subcommittee 1) sent out a survey to jails to examine under what circumstances youth are held in jails and 2) worked to change Ohio’s jail standards to include youth-specific information.
Taskforce: Youth in Adult CourtAccomplishments • Issue: Youth sentenced to life sentences can face difficult gaining parole, despite the fact that they are developmentally different from adults. • Initiatives: The Subcommittee has proposed youth-specific guidelines for the parole board to consider when determining whether to release a youth.
Taskforce: Accomplishments Beyond Juvenile Justice Awarded additional grants, including to: • Provide crisis counseling in two counties’ jails and crisis prevention in two Ohio veteran’s homes • Provide trainings to first responders on elder abuse • Provide a curriculum for peer mentors in veterans’ courts • Increase rental subsidy program for individuals in mental health courts