Approximately 500 public defenders, prosecutors, judges, legislators, government officials, and representatives from leading advocacy organizations gathered on February 18 and 19, 2010, for the National Symposium on Indigent Defense in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice with the support of OJJDP and the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the symposium encompassed 5 plenary sessions and more than 40 workshops related to indigent adult and juvenile defense.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address, following opening remarks by Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for OJP. The symposium's moderator was Charles Ogletree, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard.
More than 40 years have passed since the landmark Supreme Court decisions in Gideon v. Wainwright and In re Gault which established the right to counsel for adults and juveniles in criminal and delinquency cases, respectively. Despite the decades that have elapsed since the Court's decisions, these cases "have yet to be fully translated into reality," said Attorney General Holder. "In too many counties and communities, too many peopleincluding juvenilesmay never have a lawyer. This is simply unacceptable. . . . Indigent defense must be the concern of every person who works on behalf of the public good."
Attorney General Holder cited the urgent need to expand partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels, both in and outside government to address the crisis in indigent and juvenile defense. To further that goal, Holder recently launched the Access to Justice Initiative, headed by Laurence Tribe, a national authority on constitutional law. Tribe will assume the role of primary liaison to the federal judiciary and work with federal, state, and tribal judiciaries to improve indigent adult and juvenile defense, enhance the delivery of legal services to the poor, and identify and promote effective alternatives to incarceration.
Symposium Includes Focus on Juvenile Justice Issues
Kristin H. Henning, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Juvenile Justice Center at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, led a plenary session entitled "Innovations in Juvenile Defense Reform." The following national experts participated in the panel discussion: the Honorable Sue Bell Cobb, Chief Justice, Alabama Supreme Court; the Honorable Robert C. Scott, U.S. Representative (Virginia); Robert Listenbee, Jr., Chief, Juvenile Unit, the Defender Association of Philadelphia; and the Honorable Carlos J. Martinez, public defender, Miami, FL. Among the topics discussed were:
OJP and OJJDP senior officials and others served as moderators for numerous workshop discussions on strategies to enhance juvenile defense. Workshops addressed topics such as:
For more information on the National Symposium on Indigent Defense, click here.
OJJDP sponsored a National Symposium on Child Protection in Indian Country on March 911, 2010. Approximately 280 tribal leaders, law enforcement officials, and representatives of social service agencies from more than 60 tribes attended the conference in Santa Ana Pueblo, NM. Located on 73,000 acres east and west of the Rio Grande, the Santa Ana Pueblo community has been on its current site for at least 500 years.
The conference began with a traditional blessing and prayer performed by Myron Armijo, Lieutenant Governor of the Santa Ana Pueblo. Speakers at the opening session included Larry J. Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Gena Tyner-Dawson, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for Tribal Affairs, Office of Justice Programs (OJP); Joe Garcia, Immediate Past President of the National Congress of American Indians; and Greg Fouratt, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. Ron Laney, Associate Administrator of OJJDP's Child Protection Division, made remarks on behalf of Jeff Slowikowski, the Office's Acting Administrator.
OJJDP funded the symposium through the AMBER Alert National Training and Technical Assistance Program and the AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative.
Workshops at the symposium were designed to foster a multidisciplinary approach and coordinated tribal-based efforts to combat child abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Indian country. Topics included missing and abducted children, runaway and at-risk children, prevention of the online exploitation of children, the connection between domestic violence and child maltreatment, substance abuse and associated crimes against children, child protection teams, promising community approaches to address child abuse, and multidisciplinary investigations.
The symposium also included a comprehensive assessment of needs within tribal communities and the development of action plans for each community. The action plans will be taken back to the communities to lay the groundwork for effective programs and initiatives to protect children from maltreatment and exploitation.
The conference agenda was developed with input from OJP's Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Tribal Affairs, OJJDP, and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Feedback and assessments from tribal communities have consistently indicated a need and desire for a gathering of national leaders in the field of child protection to share information and expertise on child protection issues.
For additional news about recent U.S. Department of Justice tribal initiatives, read "Attorney General Sets Up DOJ Tribal Council and Submits Plan of Action" in this issue.
OJJDP is committed to building safer tribal communities by addressing juvenile crime and victimization through the Tribal Youth Program, AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative, and a broad array of other initiatives that help tribal communities prevent juvenile delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems.
DOJ's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation Offers Diverse Funding Opportunities
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently created a single fiscal year 2010 solicitationthe Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitationfor existing tribal-specific grant programs. This solicitation enables federally recognized Indian tribal governments and tribal consortia to submit a single application for all available tribal grant programs offered by DOJ. This includes tribal programs administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, OJJDP, and the Office on Violence Against Women.
Eligible applicants may apply for funding under a variety of purpose areas, including the following OJJDP programs:
The application deadline is 9 p.m. eastern time on May 13, 2010.
To access the solicitation and related information, visit DOJ's Tribal Justice and Safety Page.
For programmatic and general assistance with the requirements of this solicitation, contact the Response Center by calling 18004216770 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The third annual Blueprints Conference, held on April 79, 2010, in San Antonio, TX, offered 40 panels and workshops on the latest evidence-based models for preventing and intervening in youth violence. Hosted by the Blueprints for Violence Prevention Initiative, the conference also provided support, guidance, and tools to help practitioners implement these programs successfully in their own communities.
Participants included community-prevention advocates, representatives of agencies responsible for violence and drug-prevention efforts, state and local government officials in charge of prevention funding and initiatives, leaders of criminal justice systems, and program implementers.
Launched in 1996, the OJJDP-supported Blueprints initiative identifies outstanding violence-prevention programs that meet a scientific standard of effectiveness, with the goal of replicating these programs in communities across the nation. More than 800 programs have been reviewed. The initiative has identified 11 model prevention and intervention programs and 19 promising programs. These programs, called Blueprints, were highlighted at the conference for their proven effectiveness in reducing adolescent violent crime, aggression, delinquency, and substance abuse. Blueprints programs have the highest standards and meet the most rigorous tests of effectiveness in the field. These include evidence of deterrent effect with a strong research design, sustained effect, and multiple site replication, among other criteria.
Office of Justice Programs: A Commitment to Evidence-Based Strategies
Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), recently launched an Evidence Integration Initiative to improve the quantity and quality of evidence that OJP generates through research, evaluation, and statistics. In addition, the initiative will better integrate evidence into program and policy decisions and improve the translation of evidence into practice.
The initiative includes plans to establish teams within OJP to synthesize evidence on specific justice topics and develop principles for practice that can be communicated to the field. OJP also will develop a Crime Solutions Resource Center, a Web site for evidence-based programs and practices. In addition, a help desk will provide direct support to jurisdictions.
In remarks to the American Correctional Association on January 23, 2010, Assistant Attorney General Robinson said that the initiative is "an OJP-wide effort, and our goal is to help the field better understand what has been shown to work, based on accepted scientific principles."
There is still time to register for OJJDP's 2010 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) National Conference, which will take place May 1114, 2010, in Jacksonville, FL. The event is the nation's largest training conference for law enforcement investigators, forensic experts, and prosecutors involved in combating the online exploitation of children. Confirmed speakers for the conference's opening day include Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and Mary Lou Leary, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. Attorney General Eric Holder will address the conference in videotaped remarks.
The ICAC National Conference is expected to bring together approximately 1,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement investigators, forensic experts, and prosecutors to participate in workshops and lectures on the latest techniques and tools for combating the online exploitation of children.
OJJDP is offering more than 140 lecture sessions and more than 70 interactive computer workshops. Training partners include the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service, the ICAC task force program, the National White Collar Crime Center, the National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law, Girls' Educational and Mentoring Services, the National District Attorneys Association, the Innocent Justice Foundation, SEARCH, and the University of New Hampshire's Crimes against Children Research Center.
The networking that takes place both within and outside the planned agenda provides an opportunity to establish the personal relationships necessary for a successful national interagency initiative.
OJJDP: Combating Internet Exploitation for More Than a Decade
Since 1998, OJJDP has been committed to addressing the online exploitation of youth through its support of the ICAC task force program and comprehensive training and technical assistance for law enforcement. The program helps state and local law enforcement enhance their investigations of offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or other computer technology to sexually exploit children.
The program is currently composed of 61 regional task forces representing more than 2,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. Since the program's inception, the ICAC task forces have reviewed more than 180,000 complaints of alleged child sexual victimization, resulting in the arrest of nearly 17,000 individuals. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, the ICAC program trained more than 30,000 law enforcement personnel, nearly 2,200 prosecutors, and approximately 8,000 other professionals working in the ICAC field.
Also in FY 2009, OJJDP awarded a total of approximately $75 million under the ICAC program; $50 million of those funds were allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
New Web Site Offers Parents Information and Resources for Internet Safety
Enough is Enough, an OJJDP-supported organization that has played a leadership role in making the Internet safer for children and families, has launched a Web site to help equip parents with the knowledge and resources they need to protect their children from online exploitation.
The site, called Internet Safety 101, educates parents about the potential dangers of the Internet, safety resources, and helpful ways to discuss Internet safety with youth. Developed with OJJDP support, the site features informative pages about online pornography, sexual predators, online gaming, cyberbullying, and online mobile devices. It also contains video clips with testimonies from children who have been victimized on the Internet as well as helpful information from psychologists, parents, and experts in the field of Internet safety.
The 26th National Symposium on Child Abuse offered more than 130 training workshops at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, AL, on March 2325, 2010. Workshop topic areas included administration, prevention, child protective services, law enforcement, medical and mental health treatment, and victim advocacy. The symposium was organized by the National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC), with the support of OJJDP and other sponsors.
As copresenter at numerous workshops, Ron Laney, Associate Administrator of OJJDP's Child Protection Division, shared information about OJJDP resources and critical issues in the nationwide effort to combat child abuse. Issues discussed at the workshops included:
OJJDP staff provided an overview of the Office's Safe Start Initiative, launched in 1999 to broaden knowledge about and promote community investment in evidence-based strategies for reducing the impact of children's exposure to violence. The initiative's Safe Start Center serves as a national resource for information and training to communities implementing these strategies.
Each year, OJJDP financially supports the NCAC conference and coordinates the cooperation and participation of other OJJDP grantees at the symposium, including the ICAC task force program, the AMBER Alert program, the Child Protection Division of Fox Valley Technical College, and many others.
On May 6, 2010, communities across the country will observe the fifth annual National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day with special events, youth demonstrations, and social networking campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and increase understanding of the mental health needs of children and their families. The event is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This year's event will focus on mental health problems in early childhood. Symptoms of psychological distress in young children such as aggression or lack of engagement in school often can be dismissed as just a "bad mood" or a passing phase. However, in some cases, these children are in real need of mental health treatment and/or social services. If underlying problems are not addressed, a child's emotional, social, and academic development can be disrupted. In cases where the mental health problems are severe, untreated children may later end up in the juvenile justice system. An OJJDP-supported study on juveniles in detention showed that nearly two-thirds of boys and nearly three-quarters of girls in detention met the diagnostic criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders.
When at-risk children receive help early, they have a better chance of avoiding antisocial behavior and enjoying academic and career success in later life.
Events Planned for Awareness Day
Older children also will be active participants in raising awareness about the mental health needs of youth. Throughout the United States, youth groups will be provided with art files to produce customizable signs that feature the headline "When I Grow Up." The signs' format will provide space to write a message or create an image that expresses the aspirations of young children and youth. The back of the signs will feature facts and statistics that indicate how providing services and supports for children's intellectual, social, and emotional development increases the likelihood that children can attain their goals later in life. For more information on the "When I Grow Up" event, click here.
In addition, youth groups, schools, and other organizations will be coordinating events, online social networking campaignsincluding Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, e-mails, and listserv messagesand youth activities tailored to their specific communities and cultures.
For more information and to become a supporter of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, click here.
Attorney General Releases Solicitation To Address Children's Exposure to Violence
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) invites applications to the Attorney General's Children Exposed to Violence (CEV) Demonstration Program: Phase I. The deadline for submission is 3 p.m. eastern time on June 1, 2010. The program will develop and support comprehensive community-based strategic planning and implementation to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes, schools, and communities. DOJ will fund as many as eight communities for 24-month projects. The first 12 months will be limited to planning. After the planning year, all sites will receive supplemental awards to begin implementation of activities. DOJ will select four of the communities as full demonstration sites to receive substantial support on an invitation-only competition. The remaining four sites will receive supplemental funding for specific program services under DOJ guidelines. For more information on this and related solicitations from the Office of Justice Programs for the Attorney General's CEV initiative, click here.
Other news: A new science research digest component and an evidence-based guide to developing and implementing programs to address children's exposure to violence are now available on OJJDP's Safe Start Web site.
Attorney General Sets Up Tribal Council and Submits Plan of Action
Attorney General Eric Holder has created the Tribal Nations Leadership Council, a group of 12 tribal leaders from around the country that will meet twice a year to advise the Attorney General on a broad range of issues related to Indian country. In addition, the Justice Department has made public its plan of action, submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, to improve consultation and coordination between the Justice Department and tribal nations, as directed by President Barack Obama's Memorandum on Tribal Consultation.
NIJ's Annual Conference Scheduled for June 1416
The 2010 NIJ Conference will be held June 1416, 2010, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, VA. For more than a decade, NIJ's annual conference has brought together criminal justice scholars, policymakers, and practitioners at the local, state and federal levels to share the most recent findings from research and technology. The conference showcases what works, what doesn't work, and what the research shows as promising. Registration is free.
OJJDP Announces 12th Annual Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Conference
This year's Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws conference, "Building Community Futures With Blueprints for Success," will be held August 1820, with preconference activities on August 17 in Anaheim, CA. For more information, click here.
OJJDP Finalizing Fiscal Year 2010 Program Plan
During the public comment period that followed the December 2009 publication of OJJDP's Proposed Plan for Fiscal Year 2010 in the Federal Register, the Office received 150 individual comments from the field. Taking into consideration these comments, OJJDP is currently preparing its Final Plan, to be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. Comments addressed many of the program areas and activities that OJJDP is currently engaged in. Detention and corrections reform was the topic that elicited the most responses. Other areas that drew comments were the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, disproportionate minority contact, mentoring, gender-specific issues, and family violence.
OJJDP Holds Listening Session on Training and Technical Assistance
On February 25, 2010, OJJDP officials and staff as well as representatives of other components of the Office of Justice Programs met with training and technical assistance (TTA) experts in Washington, DC, to discuss trends and challenges in the TTA field. OJJDP representatives at the meeting included Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator; Melodee Hanes, Acting Deputy Administrator for Policy; and Marilyn Roberts, Deputy Administrator for Programs. Participants identified major trends in the field including the need for evidence-based practices, strategies to address the problem of disproportionate minority contact within the juvenile justice system, and gender-responsive mental health services. Major challenges cited were the marketing of TTA services to rural and tribal areas, many of which do not have Internet access; high staff turnover; the need to provide culturally appropriate services; and the need for national standards for TTA. The session was the fifth in a series of listening sessions organized by OJJDP to create an ongoing dialog with policymakers and practitioners on current issues facing the juvenile justice field.
Safe Start Center Publishes New Issue Briefs
OJJDP's Safe Start Center has announced the publication of two new issue briefs in the Center's series, Moving From Evidence to Action: Safe Start Center Series on Children Exposed to Violence. One brief, Schools, provides teachers, principals, counselors, and other school personnel with evidence-based strategies for assisting students who have been exposed to violence. The other, Homeless Shelters, Permanent/Supportive Housing, and Transitional Housing, offers providers of services to the homeless with trauma-focused interventions that can be used to build the resilience and ensure the well-being of children and families exposed to violence. Copies may be ordered online.
All OJJDP publications may be viewed and downloaded from the publications section of the OJJDP Web site. Print publications also may be ordered online at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site.
Highlights of the 2008 National Youth Gang Survey (Fact Sheet)
This fact sheet reports that gang activity remains a widespread problem across the United States, with prevalence rates remaining significantly elevated in 2008 compared with recorded lows in the early 2000s. The National Gang Center estimates that 32.4 percent of all cities, suburban areas, towns, and rural counties experienced gang problems in 2008. This represents a 15-percent increase from the 2002 figure. Approximately 774,000 gang members and 27,900 gangs are estimated to have been active in the United States in 2008. The number of gangs increased by 28 percent and the number of gang members increased by 6 percent from 2002 to 2008.
Juveniles in Residential Placement, 19972008 (Bulletin)
Data cited in this fact sheet are derived from the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement and the Juvenile Residential Facility Census. As the fact sheet confirms, the number of juvenile offenders in residential placement in publicly and privately operated juvenile facilities has declined steadily since 2000. In 2008, fewer than 81,000 juvenile offenders were housed in residential facilities at the time of the census, the lowest number since 1993.
Youth's Needs and Services: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (Bulletin)
The Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP) interviewed juveniles in custody, providing an unprecedented inside look at their experiences. To assist practitioners, policymakers, and the public in better understanding the issues facing youth in custody, OJJDP has launched a bulletin series that describes in detail the SYRP study and its findings. The second bulletin in the series, Youth's Needs and Services: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement, includes comprehensive information about juveniles' recent mental and emotional symptoms, their emotional issues, and available treatment for such problems.
Causes and Correlates of Girls' Delinquency (Girls Study Group Bulletin)
Although the literature examining the causes and correlates of male delinquency is extensive, the extent to which these factors explain and predict delinquency for girls remains unclear. This bulletin, part of the Girls Study Group series, summarizes the results of an extensive review of more than 1,600 articles and book chapters from the social science scientific literature on individual-level risk factors for delinquency and factors related to family, peers, schools, and communities. The review, which focused on girls ages 11 to 18, also examined whether these factors are gender neutral, gender specific, or gender sensitive. To better understand the causes and correlates of girls' delinquency, this bulletin examines evidence from research studies that have explored the dynamics of girls' delinquency and risk behavior.
When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide
Each year, nearly 1.3 million children are reported missing. Although the unforeseen absence of a child is always upsetting, fortunately most missing children are returned home in a short period of time. This fact, however, provides little consolation for the parents of children whose whereabouts and welfare remain unknown. When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide was written 12 years ago by parents who had experienced firsthand the trauma of a missing child and who wanted to help other parents facing the same overpowering loss. It provides firsthand knowledge and sound advice about what to do when your child is missing, whom to contact, and how to best help law enforcement. To ensure that the information it provides is as helpful as possible, the guide has been thoroughly revised and updated. It includes information on new technologies, particularly those that play a role in facilitating Internet crimes against children.
At the January 25, 2010, meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, members approved a 2010 workplan and identified four priority issues for interagency collaborationeducation and at-risk youth, tribal youth and juvenile justice, juvenile reentry, and racial and/or ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system and related systems. Issue teams recently appointed by the Council for each of these four areas are conducting an indepth assessment of federal practice. Each team will produce a set of recommendations for action, which will be incorporated into the Council's next annual report to Congress, slated for completion in early 2011.
At the next meeting of the Council, on Friday, April 16, 2010, at 11 a.m., each issue team will report on its progress. Meetings are open to the public. Visit the Council's Web site to learn more about the Council and read minutes from past meetings.
The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is an independent body within the executive branch of the federal government operated under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Council's primary functions are to coordinate federal juvenile delinquency prevention programs, federal programs and activities that detain or care for unaccompanied juveniles, and federal programs relating to missing and exploited children. The Council is made up of 22 members13 ex officio and affiliate members and 9 practitioners. The ex officio members are: the Attorney General; the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development, and Labor; the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Affiliate members are the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Interior, and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of HHS. The nine juvenile justice practitioner members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Majority Leader, and the President of the United States.
The next meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) will take place on Tuesday, May 11, through Wednesday, May 12, for the primary purpose of reviewing and discussing FACJJ's draft 2010 reports. Additionally, the FACJJ membership will meet with representatives of the Coordinating Council's four issue teams to provide insight and information relevant to the Council's review of federal practice (see "News From the Coordinating Council" for more information). FACJJ meetings are open to the public; anyone may register to attend and observe. Additional information is available on FACJJ's Web site.
The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice is a consultative body established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002 and supported by OJJDP. Composed of representatives nominated by the Governors of the states and territories and the mayor of the District of Columbia, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.