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OJJDP News @ a Glance

This issue highlights National Mentoring Month and OJJDP’s support for youth mentoring programs, National AMBER Alert Awareness Day, OJJDP orientation and consultation sessions with new Tribal grantees, and efforts to strengthen programs for Native youth.
Message From the Administrator: Pursuing Racial Equity and Fairness
OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan - OJJDP News @ a Glance, May 2022

News in Brief

2022 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest, Winning Poster
Sue Lee’s winning entry in the 2022 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest.

Artwork Sought for 2023 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest

OJJDP invites fifth graders to create posters illustrating the theme "Bringing Our Missing Children Home" for the 2023 National Missing Children's Day poster contest. The annual contest is an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and child advocates to promote child safety by engaging with youth and their families about issues related to the abduction and exploitation of children.

Submissions are due no later than March 1, 2023. The contest begins with state-level competitions. The winning posters then represent their states in OJJDP's national contest. The Department of Justice will recognize the poster contest winner at the National Missing Children's Day ceremony on May 24, 2023. The winning poster will serve as the inspiration for the 2024 commemoration logo.

View and download the poster contest packet for additional information, including contest rules, submission deadlines, and contact information for state contest managers.

Thumbnail of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts performance report

Short-Term Data Reflect Success for OJJDP’s Juvenile Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts Program

OJJDP’s Juvenile Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts program achieved its main objectives during the second half of 2020, according to data published in the Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts performance report. The program aims to improve the outcomes of youth with substance use disorders by using a specialized drug court model that integrates traditional Tribal healing techniques with Western treatments for substance use.

During July–December 2020, OJJDP’s Juvenile Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts program awarded $8.5 million across 35 awards and served 244 youth. According to the report, 60 percent of the young people tracked exhibited a positive change in targeted behaviors, such as substance use, school attendance, social behaviors, and cultural skill building.

Infographic Promotes Community-Based Alternatives to Youth Confinement

Serving young people at home, with their families, and in their communities—one of OJJDP’s core priorities—improves youth outcomes, increases public safety, and strengthens neighborhoods.

Infographic on community-based alternatives to secure confinement for youth

A new infographic by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges presents some of the ways community-based alternatives to secure confinement can benefit youth. The benefits include lower rates of new offense, reduced trauma and racial inequities, and better opportunities for behavior changes.

The publication also suggests best practices for implementing community-based alternatives to secure confinement, including:

  • Use trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate tools when screening youth.
  • Provide mentors to support youth.
  • Offer intensive therapy.
  • Adopt restorative justice practices.
  • Provide structured supervision for youth during peak crime hours.
  • Collect and analyze data on youth outcomes.

Framework for Promoting Safety in High Schools Features Mobile App for Students

Funding from the National Institute of Justice supported the development and testing of a student-centered, technology-driven safety framework for high schools—SOARS (Student Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility for School Safety). Central to the framework is a mobile app, the Advocatr, which students use to report positive and negative behaviors they witness or hear about at school. Researchers also developed a 9-week curriculum on school safety to be delivered by teachers, guidelines for a schoolwide safety campaign to be led by students, and informational briefs for school personnel to help them assist students.

The Advocatr app and other components of the SOARS framework underwent both feasibility and pilot testing. Over the study period, students using Advocatr reported statistically significant improvements in their perceptions of personal safety and lower levels of disruptive behaviors in their schools. Student-led campaigns to reinforce prosocial behaviors were generally well received, researchers reported. However, surveys of teachers at the intervention schools found no statistically significant differences in their perceptions of student behavior when compared with the control schools, or in levels of delinquency, bullying, and peer victimization.

CrimeSolutions Adds Promising Diversion Programs and an Intervention To Reduce Alcohol-Related Car Crashes

The National Institute of Justice added several new programs to its CrimeSolutions resource, including three youth-related programs that are rated “promising”:  

Logo for the National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions program
  • The Community-Level Intervention on Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes program showed a statistically significant reduction in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes among drivers ages 15 to 30 in treatment-group cities when compared with control-group cities. The program was designed to reduce excessive drinking among adolescents and young adults ages 12 to 25 using communitywide enforcement operations and awareness campaigns.
  • The Detention Diversion Advocacy Program is designed for youth charged with serious offenses. It aims to divert them from detention and reduce recidivism. Program participants were diverted from traditional processing in the juvenile justice system. They worked with a case manager while remaining in the community with access to community-based care. Treatment group participants were less likely than comparison group participants to commit new crimes or commit new crimes that carry a felony charge. 
  • The Early Intervention Diversion Program aims to reduce the number of youth entering the juvenile justice system while also reducing recidivism. The program is an alternative to formal processing that provides intensive case management and coordinated services to nondetained youth ages 12 to 17 who have committed an offense for the first time, and to their families. Program participants had statistically significantly fewer rearrests than nonparticipants in the comparison group.

National Institute of Justice Studies Focus on School Resource Officers

The National Institute of Justice released the results of two studies examining the relationship between school resource officers (SROs) and student suspension rates, school climate, and measures of school crime:

  • According to the School Climate, Student Discipline, and the Implementation of School Resource Officers study, SROs identify threats to schools across three broad categories—student based, intruder based, and environment based. The ways in which SROs discuss threats vary by schools’ racial compositions, researchers found, but they were unable to assess whether a school’s racial composition also impacts SRO actions. The results of a series of fixed effects models indicated that adding SROs to schools is not consistently related to either beneficial or detrimental outcomes to school climate or suspension rates.
  • The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative Study of Police in Schools found no evidence to suggest that increasing the staffing levels of SROs reduces school crime. Instead, the study found that increased SRO staffing is associated with rises in measures of school crime, particularly for weapon- and drug-related offenses—a finding consistent with results from prior research. The study compared data on disciplinary offenses and actions at schools with increased SRO staffing levels (treatment schools) against data from schools that did not increase their SRO staffing levels (comparison schools). SRO staffing levels at treatment schools were increased using COPS Hiring Program grants awarded to local law enforcement agencies.
Date Created: February 7, 2023