Youth Population in Residential Facilities Dropped Steadily Over Past Two Decades
The number of youth in residential facilities fell 77 percent to 25,014 between 2000 and 2020, according to a new OJJDP data snapshot, Highlights From the 2020 Juvenile Residential Facility Census. The snapshot, which draws on data from OJJDP’s Juvenile Residential Facility Census, also reports that from 2000 to 2020:
- The proportion of facilities that are locally operated rose from 22 percent to 39 percent, and the proportion of youth in locally operated facilities increased from 28 percent to 39 percent.
- The proportion of facilities operating over capacity declined from 8 percent to 1 percent.
- The proportion of youth held in large facilities—those with more than 100 residents—dropped from 51 percent to 19 percent.
The snapshot notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant effects on all stages of the juvenile justice system and may have impacted both the number of youth in residential placement reported in 2020 and the services they received. Access the full list of data snapshots.
Tips for Interviewing Children With Disabilities Who May Have Been Abused
OJJDP has funded two publications for professionals to use when interviewing children with disabilities who may have experienced trauma. Children with disabilities are at least three times more likely to be seriously injured through mistreatment, making interviews both necessary and significant. The Zero Abuse Project authored both publications.
Interviewing Children with Disabilities: A Practical Guide for Forensic Interviewers discusses features of various disabilities that are common in children and how they can influence forensic interviews. Considerations may include the language and terminology used during interviews, preparatory measures, modifications, and the court process. The guide also discusses how multidisciplinary teams use individualized education plans to guide children through case processing procedures.
Child Victims with Disabilities: A Guide for Prosecutors addresses the roles prosecutors play when serving and advocating for child victims with distinctive physical, cognitive, and emotional needs. Issues discussed include the pretrial process, preparing children to testify, developing courtroom accommodations, considerations for expert witnesses, use of individual education programs, jury selection, and integrating case themes. The guide also addresses building rapport with children, determining appropriate communication methods, and meeting with caregivers and teachers.
The AMBER Advocate Highlights Initiative Bringing Technology Toolkits to Indian Country
The lead article in this issue of The AMBER Advocate focuses on an initiative by AMBER Alert in Indian Country to provide high-tech toolkits to Tribal communities that will aid Tribal law enforcement when children go missing. The initiative aims to provide 150 toolkits to agencies that have requested them, the newsletter reports.
Other articles discuss the safe recovery of an 11-year-old Georgia boy by an Idaho state trooper and a profile of Lieutenant Stacie Lick, Child Abduction Response Team Coordinator with the Gloucester County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office. The issue also includes news and briefs from international AMBER Alert programs.
Five Facts About Mass Shootings in K–12 Schools
Most people who commit a mass shooting are in crisis before the event and are likely to share their plans with others, according to Five Facts About Mass Shootings in K–12 Schools, a new fact sheet by the National Institute of Justice. Their warning behaviors represent opportunities for intervention, the fact sheet states. It also reports that:
- Everyone can help prevent mass shootings. Schools should have a mechanism for collecting information about threats of possible school violence and thwarted attempts.
- Threat assessment protocols are a promising prevention strategy for assessing and responding to threats of mass shooting and other violence.
- Individuals who commit a school shooting most often obtain weapons by stealing from a family member, suggesting a need for more secure firearm-storage practices.
- The overwhelming majority of people who commit mass shootings in K–12 schools struggle with mental well-being. Nearly all were found to be suicidal before or during the shooting, and most had experienced significant trauma or hardship in childhood.
Bulletin Addresses Effectiveness of Interventions for Youth Who Committed Crimes
A bulletin by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) explores findings on interventions and treatment programs that seek to prevent crime and reduce recidivism among youth. Five Things About Juvenile Delinquency Intervention and Treatment presents five statements based on practices and programs ratings by NIJ’s CrimeSolutions. According to the bulletin:
- Juvenile awareness programs may be ineffective and potentially harmful. Youth exposed to such programs were more likely to commit future criminal offenses, research shows.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy can effectively reduce aggression in children and adolescents. A variant of the problem-focused, therapeutic approach that focuses specifically on youth with anger-related problems is effective for reducing aggression and expressions of anger.
- Multisystemic therapy reduces recidivism, rearrests, and the number of days youth spend in detention. The family- and community-based approach is designed for adolescents who committed crimes and exhibit delinquent, antisocial, and other problematic behaviors.
- In comparison to traditional community supervision, intensive supervision of youth on probation does not reduce recidivism. Three features distinguish these programs: smaller caseloads for probation officers, more frequent face-to-face contact, and strict expectations for compliance/stiffer penalties for violations.
- Incarceration-based therapeutic communities for youth with substance use disorders are not associated with reduced recidivism following release.