This is an archive of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP's) electronic newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance. The information in this archived resource may be outdated and links may no longer function. Visit our website at for current information.
January | February 2016


U.S. Department of Justice Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing: Final ReportPresident Obama Bans Use of Solitary Confinement for Youth in Federal Prisons

On January 25, 2016, President Obama announced a ban on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles housed in federal prisons. “Research suggests that solitary confinement has the potential to lead to devastating, lasting psychological consequences,” wrote the President in an op-ed for The Washington Post. “Prisoners in solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially juveniles and people with mental illnesses.”

The President said he plans to adopt the policy recommendations contained in a Department of Justice (DOJ) report on the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons. These include banning solitary confinement for juveniles, expanding treatment for the mentally ill, and increasing the amount of time inmates in solitary can spend outside their cells.

The DOJ report is available online.

Supreme Court Rules Inmates Sentenced to Life as Juveniles Eligible To Seek Parole

The U.S. Supreme court ruled on January 25, 2016, that inmates sentenced to mandatory life without the possibility of parole as juveniles have the right to seek a parole or resentencing hearing. The case before the Supreme Court was Montgomery v. Louisiana. Henry Montgomery was sentenced to life without parole for killing a deputy sheriff in 1963. He was 17 when the crime was committed. In presenting the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that “prisoners like Montgomery must be given the opportunity to show their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption; and if it did not, their hope for some years of life outside prison walls must be restored."

The decision is in keeping with several of the Supreme Court’s rulings over the last decade in which it has held that it is wrong to equate crimes committed by youth with those committed by adults. In Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama, the court held that the death penalty and life without parole are not appropriate when applied to adolescents because they have diminished culpability and greater prospects for rehabilitation. In his opinion for the court in Graham v. Florida, Justice Kennedy wrote that, “juveniles are more capable of change than adults, and their actions are less likely to be evidence of ‘irretrievable depraved character’ than are the actions of adults.”

Justice Department Issues Gender Bias Policing Guidance

Gender bias, a form of discrimination, can result in law enforcement officers providing less protection to certain victims because of their gender, neglecting or downplaying crimes that disproportionately affect a particular gender, or allowing gender stereotypes to influence the quality of their services.

To help law enforcement officers identify and prevent gender bias when responding to sexual assault and domestic violence, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance produced by its Office on Violence Against Women, Civil Rights Division, and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, with input from an array of stakeholders, including police leaders, victim advocates, and civil rights advocates.

Announcing the guidance, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said, “Bias—whether implicit or explicit—can severely undermine the ability of law enforcement to keep survivors safe and to hold the offenders accountable.”

A video of the guidance presentation, a fact sheet, and the full guidance document may be downloaded from the DOJ website.

Administrator Listenbee Blogs on OJJDP Support of Tribal Youth

“Harnessing the unique voice and perspective of youth to inform practices is a critical tool for tribal leaders, government officials, and community organizations to use in addressing issues related to juvenile crime,” writes Administrator Listenbee in the blog post, “Supporting Our Native American and Alaska Native Youth.”

In the post, Mr. Listenbee welcomes Marilyn Bruguier Zimmerman to the Office as its new Senior Tribal Policy Advisor and enumerates several initiatives on which OJJDP has made “significant progress.” They include partnering with the United National Indian Tribal Youth to develop the Today’s Native Leaders program, and the Tribal Youth Program, which—as part of the Justice Department’s broader Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation—now serves more than 24,500 youth and family members nationwide.

OJJDP Announces National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

2015 winning poster by Sydney Kekel, City School, Grand Blanc, MI.
2015 winning poster by Sydney Kekel, City School, Grand Blanc, MI.

OJJDP invites fifth graders nationwide to participate in the 2016 National Missing Children's Day poster contest. Submissions are due by March 16, 2016. The annual contest creates an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and/or exploited children with youth, parents, and guardians and to promote child safety.

OJJDP will invite the national winner and his or her parents and teacher to Washington, DC, to participate in the National Missing Children's Day commemoration on May 25, 2016. The ceremony honors the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children. National Missing Children’s Day has been commemorated in the United States since 1984, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan.

Visit the poster contest page for contest rules and contact information for state contest managers.

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month Observed in January

Although slavery was abolished in the United States more than 150 years ago, “millions of men, women, and children around the globe, including here at home, are subject to modern-day slavery: the cruel, inhumane practice of human trafficking,” President Barack Obama stated in his proclamation of January 2016 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The President affirmed his Administration’s commitment to “assisting victims of human trafficking and … combating it in all its forms.”

OJJDP remains equally committed to addressing and preventing child sex trafficking across the United States. Through the Mentoring For Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative, the Office is providing funding to six communities—Boston, MA; Milwaukee, WI; Miami, FL; Wichita, KS; El Paso, TX; and Oakland, CA—to help enhance their response to victims’ needs. OJJDP also sponsored the National Academies report, Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States and accompanying infographic. The infographic illustrates how schools, police, victim services, businesses, the legal system, and health care providers can collaborate to prevent, identify, and respond to the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors.

To learn more about human trafficking, read a literature review on the topic from OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide and browse the National Criminal Justice Reference Services’ Human Trafficking spotlight. A nine-part video series "Faces of Human Trafficking," is available on the Office for Victims of Crime website.

Winter Issue of The AMBER Advocate Now Available

The AMBER Advocate

The winter 2015 issue of The AMBER Advocate is now available online. Features in the current issue of this OJJDP-sponsored publication include—

  • A profile of AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program Director James Walters.
  • Recommendations from surviving relatives of people lost to homicide on how law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and others can help families facing similar tragedies.
  • The story of how a California AMBER Alert distributed via the Wireless Emergency Alert system helped recover a child in 9 minutes.
  • An update on AMBER Alert training and partnerships in Indian country.
  • International AMBER Alert news from Jamaica and Belgium.
Archival issues are available on the National Criminal Justice Reference Service website.