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Evidence-based Practice in Juvenile Justice

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1 Evidence-based Practice in Juvenile Justice
Steve Hornsby, Deputy Commissioner Division of Juvenile Justice TN Dept. of Children’s Services


3 DJJ Vision Communities will be safer and youth adjudicated delinquent will have greater opportunities to reach their full potential as a result of services provided by the Division of Juvenile Justice.

4 DJJ Mission The Department of Children’s Services Division of Juvenile Justice shall provide effective prevention and intervention services for high-risk youth and rehabilitation, treatment, and training for delinquent youth while preserving and promoting community safety.

5 Historical Perspective
In Re: Gault US Supreme Court declared that juvenile defendants must be given the same rights as adults. This created national controversy. Congress passed Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. OJJDP was created as a result: Removed juveniles from adult jails Created formal relationships with states Research Information 1977 – TN adopted new juvenile code. Title 37 Very treatment based, not punitive

6 Historical Perspective (Cont)
1996 – DYD merged with other state agencies to form Department of Children’s Services (DCS) 2006 – Began JJ reform in TN. Created Division of Juvenile Justice within DCS Impact: Statutory mandate by General Assembly and Governor to effectively administer and develop system of delinquency prevention, rehabilitation, and treatment.

7 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
Over the last thirty years, OJJDP has funded research projects around the country to study what programs are effective in preventing and reducing recidivism. In the early 1990’s, Dr. Mark Lipsey pioneered the use of meta-analysis to help make sense of hundreds of research projects.

8 How did we get here? Public Chapter 585 highlights (see handout)
By fiscal year , 100% of funds shall be spent on evidence-based programs. DCS, in conjunction with TCCY, AOC, and TACF shall determine which of it’s current programs are evidence based, research-based, or theory based and have a report to the Governor and General Assembly by January 1, 2009.

9 WHY SHOULD WE DO THIS? Reduce Recidivism = Fewer victims
Make communities safer Be better stewards of taxpayer dollars

10 Washington State Study
Result: If the state implemented more evidence-based options, a significant level of future prison construction could be avoided.

11 There is hope… Recent research on the development of the brain reveals that the adolescent brain continues to develop well after the age of 20. The frontal lobe is the last part to develop. It is the home of decision-making and judgment. Using research proven interventions during adolescence holds great promise for producing lasting behavioral change.

12 “Strategic investments in proven practices in the juvenile justice system have tremendous potential to improve outcomes for children, families and communities. By appropriate intervention we can produce hard-working, tax-paying citizens instead of a need for more adult prisons. It is truly “pay me now or pay me later.” Linda O’Neal, Executive Director, TCCY

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