Improvement in Juvenile Justice: The Council of State Governments as a Resource

Teams from all 50 states convened for a two-day event in Austin, Texas on November 9-10, “Improving Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: A 50-State Forum,” to build on successful juvenile justice reforms and to take aim at their next challenge:  lowering re-arrest rates and ensuring youth in contact with the juvenile justice system are being positioned for success later in life.

In conjunction with the forum, the Council for State Governments Justice Center released a number of products and tools to support state and local juvenile justice systems to develop and effectively implement system-wide plans to improve outcomes for youth:

· Interactive Recidivism Reduction Checklists can guide state and local officials to assess whether policy, practice, and resource allocation decisions are aligned with the research on “what works.”

· Locked Out: Improving Educational and Vocational Outcomes for Incarcerated Youth shares the results of an unprecedented survey of juvenile correctional agencies in all 50 states to understand the extent to which states provide incarcerated youth with access to educational and vocational services; track and use student outcome data, and support school reenrollment for these youth. This issue brief highlights key survey findings and provides state and local policymakers with policy and practice recommendations to improve college and career readiness for incarcerated youth.

· Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Young Adults in the Juvenile and Adult Criminal Justice Systems is designed to help state and local officials better support young adults in the justice system. It identifies young adults’ distinct needs, summaries the limited research available on what works to address these needs, and provides recommendations for steps that policymakers, juvenile and adult criminal justice agency leaders, researchers, and the field can take to improve outcomes.

· The infographics series, Improving Outcomes for Youth, detail three critical challenges faced by states to improve outcomes for youth, identify the key questions that policymakers should ask, and offer strategies for protecting public safety and using resources more efficiently.


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