OJJDP News @ A Glance
OJJDP News @ A Glance
November | December 2010

  Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention  ·  Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator
Printer-Friendly Version
Understanding and Responding to the Needs of At-Risk and Delinquent Girls
Photo of teenage girls.

In the 1990s, a surge of girls' arrests brought female juvenile delinquency to the country's attention. By 2004, girls accounted for 30 percent of all juvenile arrests for violent offenses. The juvenile justice field struggled to understand why girls were becoming more involved in delinquency, how to prevent their delinquent behavior, and how best to respond to the needs of girls who were entering the system. Of particular interest was the question of whether girls were becoming more violent or if other factors contributed to their higher arrest rates.

OJJDP has long supported research on understanding girls' delinquency, particularly through its Girls Study Group, an OJJDP research project to investigate the roots of and solutions to girls' delinquency. The Office also provides publications, training and technical assistance, gender-specific programming, assessment tools, and other resources that address delinquency among girls.

Research

Girls Study Group logo

In 2004, OJJDP convened the Girls Study Group, a team of multidisciplinary experts with theoretical and practical expertise related to female development, delinquency, and the juvenile justice system. The Study Group's initial findings suggest that girls are not more violent than before and confirm that girls engage in far less crime and delinquency than boys for nearly every offense. It was also observed that mandatory arrest policies and other changes in the juvenile justice system are associated with the higher arrest rates for girls.

Although a number of delinquency risk factors—such as family conflict, low academic achievement, disengagement from school, and a lack of community-based programs—affect both boys and girls, others are specifically associated with girls. These risk factors include early onset of puberty, a history of sexual abuse, depression, and anxiety. For example, studies of girls who are chronic runaways document significant levels of sexual and physical victimization, which in turn makes them vulnerable to subsequent victimization and engaging in behaviors that violate the law such as prostitution, survival sex, and drug use.

Researchers also found that a number of protective factors can prevent girls from becoming juvenile offenders. These protective factors include the involvement of a caring adult, school connectedness, academic success, and religiosity. This new understanding of female adolescent development points to solutions for helping girls avoid engaging in delinquent or risky behaviors.

OJJDP is publishing these and other findings of the Girls Study Group in a series of bulletins, which are available online via OJJDP's publications page.

As programs addressing girls' delinquency have proliferated at the state and local levels, it is important to have scientific information about program effectiveness. OJJDP is committed to scientific and comprehensive evaluations that determine what works in preventing and addressing girls' delinquency. In 2010, OJJDP funded three evaluations of promising programs for girls:

Training and Technical Assistance

OJJDP's National Girls Institute, launched in 2010, will provide training and technical assistance to prevention, intervention, treatment, and aftercare programs for at-risk and delinquent girls across the nation. In addition to training and technical assistance, the institute will disseminate information; collaborate with researchers and program developers; form partnerships with federal, state, tribal, and local agencies; and develop policy. OJJDP's 3-year, $1.5-million grant was made to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency's Center for Girls and Young Women in Jacksonville, FL. Plans for the initial year include the creation of an advisory group composed of nationally recognized experts, including tribal experts; a nationwide assessment of the current training, technical assistance, and information needs of state, tribal, and local entities serving at-risk and delinquent girls; and the development of national standards of practice for those who work with girls in custody. A National Girls Institute Web site also is planned.

In October 2010, an updated OJJDP curriculum that trains law enforcement officers on the best ways to approach and interact with adolescent girls was unveiled at the annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in Orlando, FL. The course, developed over a period of several years through focus groups involving law enforcement professionals and experts in a wide range of disciplines, uses lectures, interactive discussions, and exercises to increase positive interactions with and decrease the arrest or incarceration of adolescent girls who may be at risk of or involved in delinquent behavior. For more information on this course, contact Ms. Stevyn Fogg at IACP.

OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center offers a training course, Gender-Responsive Programming for Girls, to address the needs of girls. It focuses on the unique experiences of young women as they relate to race, culture, development, economic status, and physical appearance; it may be used to enhance services in a range of settings, from community-based prevention programs for at-risk girls to intensive residential programs and detention.

Gender-Specific Programming

Following are examples of OJJDP-supported programs that focus on helping girls to avoid delinquency and to build a productive, successful future:

Alternatives for Girls helps homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and helps them to explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, to grow strong and to make positive choices in their lives.

Girls and Gangs provides support and advocacy for girls and young women involved with the juvenile justice system through reentry services with an emphasis on skill-building workshops, individualized case management, health education, collaboration with public and private agencies, and public education.

Girls Inc. develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Major programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation. In 2009, Girls Inc. reached over 900,000 girls through Girls Inc. affiliates, its Web site, and educational publications.

PACE Center for Girls provides delinquency-prevention programs to teenage girls. The goals of Practical Academic Cultural Education (PACE) are to deter school withdrawal, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and welfare dependency.

In addition, OJJDP's Formula Grants program provides funds directly to states and territories to help them implement comprehensive juvenile justice plans for preventing and intervening in girls' delinquency. The plans are based on detailed studies of the needs in their jurisdictions. Juvenile Justice Specialists in each state administer the funding through subgrants to units of local government, local private agencies, and American Indian/Alaska Native tribes to support programs in accordance with legislative requirements.

Assessment Tools

To guide decisions within the juvenile justice system, judges, case managers, probation staff, and related professionals often rely on standardized instruments to assess the risks and needs of youth. Some have questioned whether the instruments in use are appropriate for girls. However systematic research on the validity of the instruments is lacking. OJJDP's Girls Study Group has reviewed hundreds of assessment instruments, and information about each instrument may be accessed by searching the Study Group's online database. Information also is available in the Study Group's bulletin, Suitability of Assessment Instruments for Delinquent Girls.

Other OJJDP Resources

In 2005, the Girls Study Group compiled a searchable Girls' Delinquency Bibliographic Database on girls' delinquency. The database cites references related to trends, causes, and correlates of girls' delinquency that have been collected and used during the literature review phase of the Study Group's research project.

OJJDP's Delinquency Web page and In Focus fact sheet, Girls Delinquency offer an overview of female delinquency and highlight OJJDP's research, programs, training and technical assistance, and publications that address this issue.

Future Directions

OJJDP recently formed an internal Girls Working Group to raise awareness of and enhance the coordination of initiatives on behalf of at-risk and delinquent girls across OJJDP, the Office of Justice Programs, and other components of the U.S. Department of Justice. The group aims to strengthen policy and practice within OJJDP and in states and localities to increase focus on the needs of girls and also the disproportionate response to girls of color at all decision points in the juvenile justice system.



Fiscal Year 2010 Awards Total $519 Million
OJJDP logo

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, OJJDP awarded $519 million in grant awards to help at-risk youth, protect children, and improve juvenile justice systems nationwide. The 875 awards were made through formula, block, discretionary, and Recovery Act funding.

OJJDP awarded about $100 million to national and local organizations to strengthen, expand, and implement youth-mentoring activities and youth-development programming throughout the nation. The Office distributed nearly $30 million to state and local law enforcement agencies under its Internet Crimes Against Children task force program to support joint local, state, and federal efforts to investigate and prosecute cybercrimes against children and keep children safe from Internet predators. In addition, OJJDP awarded $20 million in block grants to enforce state and local underage drinking laws nationwide. These grants support law enforcement, public education, and coalition-building activities to address underage access to and consumption of alcohol.

More information about OJJDP's FY 2010 awards is available through the program links listed below.

Formula and Block Grants

Funding through formula and block grants is available to states and territories through the state agency designated by the Governor. Juvenile Justice Specialists in each state administer the funding through subgrants to units of local government, local private agencies, and federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native jurisdictions for programs in accordance with legislative requirements. In FY 2010, OJJDP awarded more than $130 million under the following formula and block grants programs.

Discretionary Grants

OJJDP awards discretionary grants to states, units of local government, and private organizations to administer programs. Nearly $389 million in discretionary grants was awarded in FY 2010. Of that total, OJJDP awarded nearly $88 million in discretionary funds for statutory earmarks. In addition, more than $301 million in grants was awarded under the programs listed below.

Recovery Act Awards

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, OJJDP awarded approximately $921,000 for the following initiative in FY 2010:

Resource:

For more information on OJJDP's FY 2010 awards, visit the Office's Web site.



OJJDP Publishes Results of Training and Technical Assistance Needs Assessment
National Training and Technical Assistance Center logo.

OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) has released National Needs Assessment of Juvenile Justice Professionals: 2010, a report that provides the most comprehensive and detailed picture to date of the needs of agencies and organizations serving the juvenile justice field. More than 1,600 juvenile justice professionals from across the country completed the survey, which was available online from October 19, 2009, through January 22, 2010. The primary populations served by respondents are at-risk youth and youth on parole, probation, or under community supervision.

Survey participants were asked to rate their needs in five categories: program operations, information technology, sustainability, working with youth, and topics of interest. Respondents rated their needs using a five-point scale—from "1 (no assistance needed)" to "5 (a great deal of assistance needed)." The following items were identified by respondents as areas of greatest need:

Program Operations

Information Technology

Sustainability

Working With Youth

Other Topics of Interest

Survey participants were asked to select the types of assistance that would be helpful. The majority of respondents cited peer-to-peer learning, conference-style training, and training of trainers as the most effective forms of assistance.

The survey also requested information about the greatest challenges to providing effective services. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the respondents cited a lack of adequate funding and resources as the primary challenge. Other barriers to effective services included a lack of support for prevention efforts and a lack of adequate training and technical assistance for staff members.

Sixty-four percent of the respondents intended to use the information learned from OJJDP-sponsored training to implement evidence-based programming; 57 percent planned to improve outreach, treatment, and supervision of their target populations; and 51 percent cited securing funding as a primary application of the OJJDP training they receive.

Top 10 Unmet Training Needs

Following are the areas most often cited by respondents as having unmet training needs:

Top 10 Emerging Trends and Issues

The survey participants also offered their perspectives on the most important emerging trends and issues in the juvenile justice field. The top 10 issues cited by survey participants were—

Established in 1995, NTTAC helps practitioners and communities indentify and implement evidence-based prevention and intervention programs to address juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and other issues affecting youth in the juvenile justice system.

Resource:

National Needs Assessment of Juvenile Justice Professionals: 2010 may be accessed at the NTTAC Web site.


National AMBER Alert Symposium Held in Arizona
AMBER Alert logo

More than 300 participants from across the nation and from Canada, Mexico, and Europe attended the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP's) and OJJDP's annual National AMBER Alert Symposium in Phoenix, AZ, on November 16–18, 2010. The participants represented federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement; family members of missing and abducted children; broadcasters; the media; missing children clearinghouses; AMBER Alert Coordinators; departments of transportation; and other stakeholders in the AMBER Alert program.

Keynote speakers included Sharon Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona; Mark Shurtleff, the Attorney General of Utah; Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children; and Marilyn Roberts, OJJDP's Deputy Administrator for Programs. Diena Thompson, the mother of Somer Thompson, whose life was tragically cut short after being abducted in October 2009, also offered remarks. Ms. Thompson is on the Board of Directors of the Somer Thompson Foundation, formed in March 2010 to provide education, resources, and financial assistance to victims of violent crimes against children.

"For 27 years, we at the National Center have worked with our partners at the U.S. Department of Justice and OJJDP to mobilize people, build networks, engage the private sector, and motivate the public to help in the search for missing children," said Mr. Allen. "It is a true public-private partnership."

Topics discussed during the symposium included case studies of child abduction, emerging and best practices, collaboration with media partners, Child Abduction Response Teams, families and survivors, AMBER Alert in Indian country, AMBER Alert's Southern Border Initiative, predatory behaviors, and human trafficking. In addition, awards were presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to AMBER Alert programs in their communities.

Launched on January 13, 1996, the AMBER Alert system issues media alerts on radio, television, highway signs, wireless devices such as mobile phones, and over the Internet when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts provide information about the child and the abductor that can lead to the child's recovery, such as a physical description of each and a description of the abductor's vehicle. The AMBER Alert program has helped recover 525 abducted children nationwide. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada have AMBER Alert plans.

Resource:

For more information about the AMBER Alert program, visit its Web site.

2010 Success Stories: AMBER Alert Program

  • In Raleigh, NC, two boys ages 2 and 3 were abducted from their mother's home by their noncustodial father and his friend. The father had a protection order taken out on him a few days prior to the abduction after he was arrested and charged with domestic violence and child abuse. An AMBER Alert was quickly issued. The abductor's family members saw the AMBER Alert and notified the children's father. The abductor began to cooperate with law enforcement and the children were safely rescued.
  • In Ukiah, CA, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) requested an AMBER Alert for a 1-year-old boy and a 6-month-old boy. The siblings were left inside a vehicle parked outside a strip mall in Ukiah and abducted by a stranger who stole the vehicle. A regional AMBER Alert was issued. About an hour later, a person who was aware of the AMBER Alert observed the vehicle and notified local law enforcement. CHP responded and rescued both children.
  • In Bronx, NY, two siblings ages 12 and 4 were reported by their mother as missing from their beds at 4:30 a.m. The older girl had run away in the past, but had never taken her sister. The older sister had been diagnosed with a mental capacity of a 6-year-old and had no means to care for herself or for her sister on the streets of New York City. An AMBER Alert was issued. A couple of hours later, as the children walked into a school, a security guard who was aware of the AMBER Alert recognized the girls and held them until police arrived. The children were recovered unharmed.



Improving Outcomes for Tribal Children and Families in the Dependency Court System
National Council of Juvenile and Family Courts Judges logo.

For more than a decade, OJJDP has supported the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges' (NCJFCJ's) Model Courts project, which strives to reduce the number of, and achieve better outcomes for, foster children by improving dependency court practice through judicially-led system reform. The project provides tailored training and technical assistance, coordinates local and statewide court improvement initiatives, and engages in the development of innovative policy. In 2007, NCJFCJ expanded the Model Courts project by launching the Courts Catalyzing Change: Achieving Equity and Fairness in Foster Care initiative (CCC initiative). Funded by OJJDP and Casey Family Programs, the project supports the efforts of model courts to reduce disproportionate representation and disparate treatment of children and families of color in the welfare system.

Two years ago, the CCC initiative's goal of reducing disproportionate representation and disparate treatment evolved to include a specific focus on children and families in Indian country. The goals of the tribal initiative include working with tribal communities to create and disseminate judicial tools, policy and practice guidelines, and associated action plans for dependency. NCJFCJ is actively working to establish model courts in tribal jurisdictions.

The plenary speakers at NCJFCJ's 2010 Model Courts All-Sites Conference included (from l. to r.) Doreen Day, Jerry Dearly, and Sandy White Hawk of the First Nations Repatriation Institute
The plenary speakers at NCJFCJ's 2010 Model Courts All-Sites Conference included (from l. to r.) Doreen Day, Jerry Dearly, and Sandy White Hawk of the First Nations Repatriation Institute.
On October 5–7, 2010, tribal representatives attended NCJFCJ's Model Courts All-Sites Conference as guests of model court teams from across the country. Supported by OJJDP, the conference provided a national forum for presentations by tribal leaders and indepth discussions with model courts teams and other judicial experts. The presentations included a focus on implementing model courts in ways that are respectful of the history, culture, and values of tribal communities.

Since the launch of NCJFCJ's initiative in tribal communities, the Gila River Indian Community, located in Sacaton, AZ, has become an active model court. Additional tribal courts are expected to join the Model Courts project in the coming months. NCJFCJ has also partnered with the National Indian Child Welfare Association on publications focusing on child abuse and neglect in tribal communities and with the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues to improve tribal engagement efforts under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Court Improvement Program.

Tribal Leadership Group To Develop Recommendations for Improving Courts

left quote Approaching tribes respectfully, seeking to learn, and honoring the long history of intergenerational trauma suffered by American Indian and Alaska Native people are but a few of the driving principles of our work. right quote

—Nancy Miller
Director
Permanency Planning for Children Department
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

In partnership with OJJDP and Casey Family Programs, NCJFCJ plans to convene a Tribal Leadership Group made up of tribal judges, state court judges who are members of tribal communities, NCJFCJ judicial leadership, and other tribal and judicial experts. The Leadership Group will incorporate tribal recommendations from across the country for improving dependency courts. Specifically, the group will focus on how to—

In carrying out its objectives, the Tribal Leadership Group will use as a foundation the recommendations outlined in the OJJDP-funded Technical Assistance Brief, Court Reform and American Indian and Alaskan Native Children: Increasing Protections and Improving Outcomes, published in 2009 by NCJFCJ in partnership with the National Indian Child Welfare Association. An important component of this project is effecting systems change in a way that is respectful of tribal culture and addresses the specific needs of tribal communities.

Resource:

For more information on the Courts Catalyzing Change initiative, go to NCJFCJ's Web site.



Urban Institute Completes Evaluation of OJJDP's Gang Reduction Program
Photo of teenage boys.

In the 1970s, less than half the states reported gang problems. But by the turn of the 21st century, every state and the District of Columbia were facing this challenge. Helping communities combat gang activity is a major priority for OJJDP, and its Gang Reduction Program (GRP)—a $10 million, multiyear initiative (2003–08) to reduce crime associated with youth street gangs in Los Angeles, CA; Milwaukee, WI; North Miami Beach, FL; and Richmond, VA—has been a leading initiative to that end. A comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated approach to preventing and reducing gang activity, the program emphasizes addressing the needs of youth and effecting change in families, organizations, and communities.

The program's multipronged implementation approach required community stakeholders to develop local plans to address family, peer, school, and community needs. Next, stakeholders identified local resources that they could use to meet these needs. After these planning objectives had been met, communities could use federal support to enhance delivery of appropriate resources and services to meet the identified needs. In the fall of 2003, OJJDP made a onetime, 5-year, $2.5 million award to each site.

Researchers from the Urban Institute conducted an independent evaluation focused on program implementation and outcomes in each of the four cities. The results of that evaluation will soon be available in an upcoming OJJDP bulletin, Findings From the Evaluation of OJJDP's Gang Reduction Program.

The implementation component of the evaluation assessed the progress of the initiative in each site from its launch in the spring of 2003 through mid-2008. The outcomes component considered the effects of the program in each site from implementation through early 2008 and examined whether each site experienced significant changes in gang-related crime, serious crime, and other outcome measures associated with the goals of GRP. Following are some of the researchers' key findings:

left quoteEach site experienced significant success at building partnerships to address local gang and crime issues. right quote
The findings from the evaluation of the Gang Reduction Program have contributed significant information about the implementation process and potential outcomes of OJJDP's comprehensive anti-gang model. The lessons learned from the evaluation of the GRP model in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, North Miami Beach, and Richmond provide a foundation from which future sites can learn. In addition, the GRP evaluation can inform future policy at OJJDP and other federal agencies in the successful implementation of a comprehensive anti-gang program.


Upcoming Events

25th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment: January 22–28, 2011

The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Children's Hospital-San Diego (CA) is sponsoring its annual international conference on January 22–28, 2011, at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego. The objective of the conference is to develop and enhance professional skills and knowledge in the prevention, recognition, assessment and treatment of all forms of maltreatment including those related to family violence as well as to enhance investigative and legal skills. Issues concerning support for families, prevention, leadership, policymaking, and translating the latest research into action will be addressed.

National Conference on Bullying: February 14–16, 2011

photo of boy.

This conference will examine the causation, prevention, and mitigation of what has become one of our nation's most pressing problems. Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, will be among the nationally recognized speakers addressing the conference. Topics to be covered include bullying laws and liability for schools, Internet bullying, sexual orientation bullying, bullying among girls, and gangs and the connection to bullying, among other topics. The event, to be held in Orlando, FL, is being sponsored by the School Safety Advocacy Council, Students Against Violence Everywhere, and the Florida Association of School Resource Officers.

30th Annual National CASA Conference: March 19–22, 2011

The theme of this year's National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) conference is "Building Hope for Youth." The conference, to be held in Chicago, IL, will feature a wide range of workshops and general sessions designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of professionals working to help children and youth in the dependency system. Attendees also will have opportunities to network with colleagues and peers from across the country. To register for the conference, go to the CASA Web site.

National Conference on Juvenile and Family Law: March 27–30, 2011

2011 National Conference on Juvenile and Family Law logo.

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has scheduled its National Conference on Juvenile and Family Law for March 27–30, 2011, in Reno, NV. The conference will address a wide range of topics, including child abuse and neglect, mental health, delinquency, family law, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Innovations in programming and practice also will be presented with the goal of providing new opportunities for courts and communities to improve outcomes for children, youth, families, and victims. To register for the conference, visit the NCJFCJ Web site.

27th National Symposium on Child Abuse: March 28–31, 2011

The National Symposium on Child Abuse, a nationally and internationally recognized multidisciplinary training conference offering 130 workshops on child abuse prevention and intervention, will take place on March 28–31, 2011, in Huntsville, AL. Workshop tracks are designed specifically for professionals in the areas of administration, child protective services, interviewing, law enforcement, law, medicine, mental health, prevention, victim advocacy, and wellness. The symposium is sponsored by the National Children's Advocacy Center (CAC), an organization that is committed to providing high-quality training for professionals in the fight against child abuse. To register for the symposium, visit CAC's Web site.

Mark Your Calendar: National Gang Symposium on June 7–10, 2011

The next National Gang Symposium, cosponsored by the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance and OJJDP, is currently being planned for June 7–10, 2011, in Orlando, FL. More information about this event will be added to the Gang Symposium's Web site as it becomes available. In 2008, more than 1,300 participants attended this event, which featured more than 90 different workshops and many nationally recognized gang experts.

Save the Date: OJJDP's National Juvenile Justice Conference in October 2011

OJJDP logo

On October 10–14, 2011, OJJDP will hold a national conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at the National Harbor complex just outside Washington, DC. The conference will bring together juvenile justice practitioners and policymakers from across the country to share current trends and promising practices in the juvenile justice field. More information will be forthcoming in futures issues of OJJDP News @ a Glance and on OJJDP's Web site.


News in Brief

Attorney General Speaks at the U.S. Department of Justice's American Indian Heritage Month Program

Attorney General Eric Holder (back row, center) poses with a group of tribal youth representatives who participated in this year's American Indian Heritage Month Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Attorney General Eric Holder (back row, center) poses with a group of tribal youth representatives who participated in this year's American Indian Heritage Month Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized the Administration's commitment to meeting the public safety challenges of Indian country at a celebration of American Indian Heritage Month on November 23, 2010.

"This Administration and this Justice Department are committed to fulfilling our nation's obligations to American Indians and Alaska Natives, to strengthening the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the United States, and to building more secure, more prosperous tribal communities," Mr. Holder said.

The Attorney General in January 2010, directed U.S. Attorneys to meet annually with the tribes in their districts and to develop plans for addressing the specific public safety issues affecting tribal communities in their jurisdictions. As part of that effort, he also instructed U.S. Attorneys Offices to work closely with tribal law enforcement to develop strategies for reducing violent crime—in particular, violence against women. In the upcoming year, the Justice Department will be working closely with congressional leaders to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. In July 2010, following an Administration-wide effort, President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act into law. This landmark legislation is strengthening tribal law enforcement and supporting substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts across Indian country.

"This new law has allowed the Justice Department to achieve one of its longstanding goals—the establishment of a permanent Office of Tribal Justice," said Mr. Holder. "[The Office] is now a formal component of the Justice Department, dedicated to collaborating with our partners in tribal government and to advancing our work in Indian country."

Office of Justice Programs' Research Is Recognized at American Society of Criminology Meeting

The American Society of Criminology (ASC) held its annual meeting on November 17–20, 2010, in San Francisco, CA. Entitled "Crime and Social Institutions," the conference explored the relationship between crime and the economy, the family, education, the polity, and religion. Among its more than 300 panel sessions and individual presentations, the conference highlighted numerous OJJDP research projects, including studies of trends in violent juvenile crime, gangs and gang programs, predictors of and protective factors against delinquency and substance abuse, juvenile arrest trends, and juveniles in custody.

Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), participated in three panels during the conference and highlighted the U.S. Department of Justice's commitment to restoring science to the criminal and juvenile justice fields, with a focus on OJP's role in those efforts. In particular, she emphasized OJP's Evidence Integration Initiative.

ASC presented the prestigious August Vollmer Award to Howard Snyder, Chief of Recidivism, Reentry and Special Projects for OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics for his outstanding contributions to research in criminology. In addition, John H. Laub, Director of OJP's National Institute of Justice, was announced as a winner of the prestigious 2011 Stockholm Prize in Criminology for his research on why and how criminals stop offending. Robert Sampson, a researcher at Harvard University who co-authored the studies, is a co-recipient of the 2011 award.

OJJDP Hosts Webinar on Relative Rate Index

OJJDP's State Relations and Assistance Division hosted a Webinar, "Five Steps to Interpreting and Analyzing the Relative Rate Index (RRI)" on December 1 and 2, 2010. The RRI, which compares the rates of contact with the justice system for white youth with the rates for minority youth, has proven to be a highly accurate tool for comparisons across time and racial groups. The accurate interpretation of the RRI and its application to disproportionate minority contact (DMC) reduction efforts are critical as states work to implement systems improvement and delinquency prevention strategies. Dr. Bill Feyerherm, a national authority on DMC, and Andrea R. Coleman, OJJDP's DMC Coordinator, discussed the five steps to interpreting the RRI and how RRI data can facilitate decisionmaking.

Top Federal Officials Address Meeting of International Association of Chiefs of Police

Logo for the International Association of Chiefs of Police 2010 conference.

Vice President Joseph Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano provided remarks at this year's conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), held on October 23–27, 2010, in Orlando, FL. Vice President Biden and Secretary Napolitano spoke about issues and legislation related to terrorism. Attorney General Holder described federal initiatives to improve officer safety and credited the police with the fact that "national crime trends are heading in the right direction."

In addition to speeches by federal officials, the conference featured exhibits of the latest law enforcement technology and educational sessions on a wide variety of topics, including enhancing information sharing and collaboration capabilities for emergency responders; crime victims assistance: what every chief needs to know about resources to assist victims; missing persons: how volunteers help, not hinder; fairness and neutrality: trust building strategies for 21st century policing; and the latest green trends in police station design. A new training developed by OJJDP, "Law Enforcement Responses to Adolescent Girls," was available during the first 2 days of the conference. For more information on the training, see the article entitled "Understanding and Responding to the Needs of At-Risk and Delinquent Girls" in this issue of News @ a Glance.

Report Reviews Victimization in Juvenile Detention Facilities

The U.S. Department of Justice's Review Panel on Prison Rape has released its Report on Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Correctional Facilities.

In compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, the review panel conducted public hearings and gathered data based on the survey described in the Bureau of Justice Statistics report Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008–09. The review panel's report provides observations and recommendations to assist practitioners and advocates in preventing sexual victimization in the nation's juvenile correctional facilities.

Juvenile Justice Briefing Held on Capitol Hill

On October 26, 2010, in Washington, DC, the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy conducted the congressional briefing, "Juvenile Justice in the Age of the Second Chance Act, the Youth Promise Act, and the JJDP Reauthorization Bill: Research Guided Policy Implications for Maximizing Reentry Initiatives for Adolescents."

The 2-½-hour briefing, which was cosponsored by the Center for Justice Leadership and Management, was held in the Capitol Visitor Center. It was led by Dr. Catherine Gallagher, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, George Mason University, and featured briefs on key topics from 12 experts in research and policy, including staff from OJJDP.

OJJDP Ad Campaign Urges Prospective Mentors To Step Up to the Plate

Major league baseball mentoring ad

Mentoring programs have been shown to build self-esteem, enhance academic performance, and improve behavior. OJJDP has long supported mentoring as an effective way to prevent at-risk youth from becoming involved in delinquency.

Continuing its Be a Mentor campaign, OJJDP expects to reach some 3.5 million people through its ad in the game programs for Major League Baseball's 2010 American League and National League Championship Series and the World Series. The ad, which invites adults to "step up to the plate" by becoming a mentor, will also appear in the program for the 2011 All-Star game.

For information about mentoring-related resources, visit the OJJDP Web site.

DOJ and Federal Partners Host Forum on Youth Violence Prevention

On October 5, 2010, the Departments of Justice and Education officially launched the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention along with participating localities and other federal agencies. The forum was created at the direction of President Obama as a context for participating localities to share challenges and promising strategies with each other and to explore how federal agencies can better support local efforts.

On October 4 and 5, 2010, teams from the cities of Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Memphis; Salinas, CA; and San Jose, CA; met with federal agencies and each other in Washington, DC, to share information and experience about what works in preventing youth and gang violence. Participating cities have pledged to develop or enhance comprehensive plans to prevent youth and gang violence in their city, using multidisciplinary partnerships, balanced approaches, and data-driven strategies. The cities' comprehensive plans will be presented at a Youth Violence Summit to be held in Washington, DC, next spring. These plans will aim to reduce violence, improve opportunities for youth, and encourage innovation at the local and federal levels.

OJJDP Selects DMC Coordinator

OJJDP has selected Andrea Coleman as the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Coordinator for the Office. The full-time senior position will be housed in OJJDP's State Relations and Assistance Division, which provides funds to help state and local governments achieve compliance with the four core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended. Ms. Coleman will also be working with other divisions of OJJDP to coordinate the Office's DMC strategies.



New Publications

All OJJDP publications may be viewed and downloaded on 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.

Youth's Characteristics and Backgrounds: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (Bulletin)

Youth's Characteristics and  Backgrounds: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement This publication draws on the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement's (SYRP's) findings to examine the characteristics and backgrounds of youth in custody. It describes their demographic characteristics and reports on their current and prior offenses, disposition, family and educational backgrounds, and expectations for the future. SYRP's findings provide insights into how juvenile justice practitioners might best combat recidivism while promoting positive outcomes. As the only national survey that gathers information directly from youth in custody, SYRP addresses issues that no other information source covers.

To order a printed copy, visit the NCJRS Web site.



News From the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Coordinating Council logoThe Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention held a meeting on December 3, 2010. A full report of the meeting will be featured in the January/February 2011 issue of News @ a Glance.

Sessions 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 members—13 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.



News From the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice
Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice logo

The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) has released its 2010 Annual Report. The report discusses important issues at key decision points across the juvenile justice system with a focus on fair and equitable treatment for all youth involved with system. Among the issues addressed in the document are the needs of children who cross over between the juvenile justice and child protection systems, the school-to-prison pipeline, law enforcement and the legal system, diversion programs, transfer and waiver of juveniles to adult court, life without parole for juveniles, and community-based reentry programs for juvenile offenders.

FACJJ's most recent meeting took place on December 2–3, 2010, in Washington, DC. News @ a Glance will include a description of the meeting in its January/February 2011 issue. The Committee's 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 1974, as amended (Section 223) 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.


Back to News @ a Glance Home


OJJDP Home | About OJJDP | E-News | Topics | Funding | Programs
State Contacts | Publications | Statistics | Events