OJJDP Participates in National Conference on Juvenile Justice
OJJDP Program Manager Alex Sarrano delivered opening remarks for two sessions on March 14 at the 2022 National Conference on Juvenile Justice. An annual conference sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the event is intended for court professionals who strive to improve the juvenile justice system.
Mr. Sarrano’s first session, “Creating a More Inclusive and Effective Court and Community by Engaging Youth and Families with Lived Experiences,” highlighted strategies court professionals can use when considering changes to the court system, to involve people who have experienced it firsthand. The second session, “Targeted Resource Mapping: Building an Effective Continuum of Resources for Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders,” presented a collaborative process for courts to identify resources for children and families affected by substance use.
OJJDP Funds New Guide To Support Communities' Violence-Reduction Efforts
A guide developed by the Urban Institute offers strategies to local officials, law enforcement, and communities to reduce youth gun and gang violence. A Research-Based Practice Guide to Reduce Youth Gun and Gang/Group Violence addresses nine practice areas, with recommendations for supporting a multifaceted antiviolence strategy and for program implementation. OJJDP and the National Institute of Justice offered guidance to study authors and helped assemble a multidisciplinary panel of experts. Meena Harris, Director of OJJDP’s National Gang Center, served on the panel.
A second Urban Institute report, Implementing Youth Violence Reduction Strategies: Findings from a Scan of Youth Gun, Group, and Gang Violence Interventions discusses antiviolence tactics deemed essential by local leaders. Many of the innovative interventions highlighted in the report have received OJJDP funding. The Urban Institute also published a literature review of strategies to reduce violence by youth.
AMBER Advocate Spotlights Expansion of Wireless Emergency Alerts in Indian Country
The latest issue of The AMBER Advocate describes collaborative efforts between the Navajo Nation and technology providers to ensure Tribal members can receive wireless emergency alerts on their cell phones.
The 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation is the country’s largest Indian reservation, but only a small number of its 173,000 citizens have access to broadband. Accessing 911 emergency services frequently is problematic, with many calls rerouted up to two times to the nearest law enforcement agency’s communications center, delaying emergency assistance. To overcome this challenge, the Nation worked with telecommunications providers to extend coverage to the reservation and fix a variety of technical issues, including updates to cell phone operating systems.
Another AMBER Advocate article highlights training offered by the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program, which contributed to a successful 3-day search for a 3-year-old in southeastern Texas. The issue describes the actions of a private citizen in western Illinois who—after hearing an AMBER Alert—rescued a missing infant. It also profiles Wisconsin’s AMBER Alert Coordinator and Missing Persons Clearinghouse Manager, Melissa Marchant.
Of the 200 AMBER Alerts issued in the United States in 2020, 196 cases resulted in a recovery, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s 2020 AMBER Alert Report. The issuance of an AMBER Alert was directly responsible for a successful recovery in 46 of the cases.
Research on Desistance Suggests New Approaches To Reduce Youth Involvement in Crime
A National Institute of Justice white paper, Pathways to Desistance From Crime Among Juveniles and Adults: Applications to Criminal Justice Policy and Practice, offers an overview of empirical literature on desistance from crime—the reduction in criminal behavior that occurs as adolescents transition into adulthood.
The paper recommends that youth justice systems shift from recidivism-focused interventions and instead promote positive outcomes, which may lead to diminished involvement in crime, healthier relationships, academic or vocational engagement, and improved self-esteem. It refers to OJJDP’s Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program, saying it tackles “some of the risk factors linked to criminal behavior, which may ultimately foster the process of desistance from crime.”
The white paper has been included in Desistance From Crime: Implications for Research, Policy, and Practice, a collection published by the National Institute of Justice. Authors discussed key themes from their chapters during a webinar hosted by the Institute in November 2021.