News in Brief

North American Resource Center for Child WelfareOJJDP Affiliate Researcher Andrea Sedlak Receives Child Welfare Research Award

Andrea J. Sedlak, Ph.D., Vice President and Associate Director of Westat, and a long-term grantee with the OJJDP, received the 2011 A. Clayton Hughes Child Welfare Research Award. The Hughes award goes to a child welfare researcher whose work "exemplifies intellectual integrity and moral courage in transcending social and political barriers to promote best practice in child welfare."

Over the course of her career, Sedlak has authored a number of OJJDP bulletins and led some of OJJDP's prominent studies, including the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement and the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART). OJJDP celebrates Sedlak's contributions to the juvenile justice field and is honored to have her as a colleague.

DOJ Releases Proposed Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards for Public Comment

On February 3, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published the proposed, "National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape," in the Federal Register. These guidelines are based on draft sexual assault prevention standards issued by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission in 2009. The Attorney General has modified the Commission's proposed standards and issued this draft final rule that incorporates feedback received last year in response to the Department's call for comment. These proposed standards include guidelines for adult prisons/jails, lockups, juvenile facilities, and community confinement facilities. DOJ requests comments on the proposed final rule by April 4, 2011.

AAG Robinson and OJJDP Acting Administrator Slowikowski Discourage the Use of "Scared Straight" Programs

In an op-ed published January 31, 2011, in the Baltimore Sun, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Laurie O. Robinson and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Acting Administrator Jeff Slowikowski discuss how the use of scared straight programs to prevent delinquency is ineffective and can harm youth.

Robinson and Slowikowski comment on a study by Anthony Petrosino and researchers at the Campbell Collaboration, which analyzed results from nine scared straight programs and found that participants were up to 28 percent more likely to offend in the future. As a result of such evidence, the U.S. Department of Justice does not support scared straight-style programs, and instead focuses on programs that research has proven effective, such as mentoring programs, which use positive relationships to modify youth's behavior.

Robinson and Slowikowski write, "The fact that [scared straight] programs are still being touted as effective, despite stark evidence to the contrary, is troubling."

U.S. Department of Justice Holds Meeting With Defending Childhood Representatives

Defending Childhood logo

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) hosted a meeting of Defending Childhood representatives from communities across the country on January 25–27, 2011. The meeting brought together the initiative's eight demonstration sites for a series of lectures, peer-to-peer exchanges, and dialog with DOJ leadership on the issue of children's exposure to violence. Attorney General Eric Holder, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, and DOJ officials discussed the initiative with representatives and their ongoing efforts in their communities.

"I am grateful for this opportunity to discuss our shared goals—and your front-line efforts—to prevent, reduce, and combat childhood exposure to violence," said the Attorney General. "The issue of children's exposure to violence has been both a personal and professional concern for decades. As our nation's Attorney General, and as a parent of three young children, addressing this crisis—and implementing bold, innovative, and collaborative solutions—is a top priority."

Attorney General Holder launched the Defending Childhood initiative in September 2010 to focus on addressing children's exposure to violence. A key component of the initiative is a multiyear demonstration program, which includes DOJ funding for eight demonstration sites to develop and implement multidisciplinary strategies for preventing, intervening in, treating, and responding to the problem of children's exposure to violence.

OJJDP Solicits Comments on Proposed FY 2011 Program Plan

OJJDP has published a notice of its Proposed Plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 in the January 12, 2011, Federal Register. The Proposed Plan describes discretionary program activities that OJJDP proposes to carry out during FY 2011. Taking into consideration comments received and its final FY 2011 appropriation, OJJDP will develop a Final Plan describing program activities that the Office intends to fund during FY 2011. The Final Plan will be published in the Federal Register. Comments on the Proposed Plan must be received by February 28, 2011, and may be submitted online or mailed to OJJDP. Online submission of comments is recommended.

OJJDP Invites Manuscripts for Upcoming Journal of Juvenile Justice

Journal of Juvenile Justice OJJDP will launch its new online, peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Juvenile Justice at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, which will be held March 1–5, 2011, in Ontario, Canada.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts for consideration for publication in the first two issues of the journal scheduled for release in 2011. Proposed articles may address a broad range of juvenile justice-related issues, such as delinquency prevention, intervention and treatment, and juvenile victimization. Readers are anticipated to include researchers, clinicians, practitioners, administrators, policy analysts, educators, and students.

To access instructions for authors and other relevant information, visit the journal's manuscript submission site. Questions may be e-mailed to the journal's managing editor.

Attorney General Holds Inaugural Meeting of Tribal Leadership Council

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder convened the inaugural meeting of DOJ's Tribal Nations Leadership Council on December 15, 2010. The council, which consists of tribal leaders from across the country, will advise the Attorney General on issues critical to tribal communities. This marks the first time a council composed of tribal leaders selected by tribal governments will advise a cabinet member on an ongoing basis. Council members include one tribal leader from each of the 12 regions of the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs, chosen by the tribes of each region; and two members from the Office of Justice Program's Tribal Justice Advisory Group. The creation of the council fulfills a pledge made by Attorney General Holder at DOJ's Tribal Nations Listening Session in October 2009. In addition to Attorney General Holder, tribal leaders met with senior leadership from numerous DOJ components. The Tribal Nations Leadership Council is expected to meet biannually.

Attorney General Addresses National Indian Nations Conference

On December 9–11, 2010, DOJ sponsored the 12th National Indian Nations Conference in Palm Springs, CA. Attorney General Eric Holder was the keynote speaker.

"With the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act, we are witnessing tangible progress toward a healthier, brighter future for Native Americans," said Attorney General Holder. "I want to reaffirm the Justice Department's commitment—and my own commitment—to building and sustaining healthy and safe native communities, to renewing our nation's enduring promise to American Indians and Alaska Natives, to respecting the sovereignty and self-determination of tribal governments, and to ensuring that the progress we have achieved in recent years is not derailed."

The conference was coordinated by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute under a grant from DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime. The conference brought together American Indian victims, victim advocates, and federal and state agency representatives to share their knowledge, experiences, and ideas for developing programs that serve the unique needs of crime victims in Indian country.

DOJ's Civil Rights Division Releases Antibullying Video

On December 9, 2010, DOJ's Civil Rights Division released a video that focuses on stopping bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, as well as other youth who do not conform to traditional expectations about gender roles or appearance. The video is part of the Division's "It Gets Better" project, in which LGBT adults and straight allies share experiences to show youth that life gets better after high school.

Irving Spergel
Irving Spergel, Ph.D.

OJJDP Remembers Irving Spergel, Creator of the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model

Irving Spergel, pioneering expert on gang prevention and founder of OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model, passed away on December 3, 2010. Spergel's model has been adopted by more than 20 cities in the United States and has become a central component of OJJDP's and the Bureau of Justice Assistance's National Gang Center's work. "Dr. Spergel's pioneering research and early development of the Comprehensive Gang Model laid the groundwork for OJJDP's evolving response to youth gangs," said Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator at OJJDP. "With his passing, OJJDP has lost a great friend and colleague."

Evidence-Based Practices Discussed at Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Symposium

At a symposium organized by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at Georgetown University on December 3, 2010, Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson noted that OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders and the Standard Program Evaluation Protocol developed by Mark W. Lipsey, Ph.D., offer excellent guidance for the field in determining effective approaches for reducing and preventing juvenile crime. Leaders from state government and juvenile justice agencies as well as congressional staff participated in the event titled, "Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project: A Comprehensive Strategy for Evidence-Based Reform." The event served to facilitate discussion around the use of evidence-based practices in the operation of the juvenile justice systems. CJJR announced their pilot program, the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (partially funded by OJJDP), and requested application submissions.

OJP Science Advisory Board Established

Eighteen experts—scholars and practitioners in criminology, statistics, sociology, and juvenile justice—will serve on the Office of Justice Programs' new Science Advisory Board. Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson recommended the creation of the advisory board as a means of bridging the divide between research and practice in the criminal and juvenile justice fields. The board will provide an extra-agency review of and recommendations for OJP research, statistics, and grant programs, ensuring that the programs and activities are scientifically sound and pertinent to policymakers and practitioners. It will be chaired by Alfred Blumstein, Ph.D., of The H. John Heinz III College, Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Blumstein is a previous winner of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology and serves as the J. Erik Jonsson Professor of Urban Systems and Operations Research at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College.