Compassionate Canine Joins Snohomish County’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Court

by Janelle Sgrignoli

Lucy and Judge Dingledy

Meet Lucy.

Lucy is one of two highly trained therapy dogs in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Lucy has several important roles.

She provides support and comfort to victims of trauma and abuse. Lucy helps break the ice when children are asked to talk about sexual and/or physical abuse. She is in the courtroom, hidden from jurors, sitting with children as they testify in court. Some families also request that Lucy sit with them as they watch the trials of people accused of killing their loved ones.

Lucy and  Juvenile Drug Court staff

Lucy is also the newest member of Snohomish County’s juvenile drug treatment court. She and her handler, Kathy Murray, attend staffing and are also present in the courtroom. Lucy lies near the bench on her blanket.  She provides support for the youth while in the courtroom.

She also helps the team. It’s tough on the team members when a youth has not succeeded in breaking free from their addiction.  Having Lucy there helps ease frustration and sadness and keeps the team focused on helping every youth in drug court have the best chance of success.

Kathy, Lucy’s handler, is also developing a program that will allow drug court youth who like animals to earn community service credit by working with Lucy one on one. As part of the program Kathy will provide a short training session to teach youth about giving commands and proper grooming. Not only will this teach the youth proper handling techniques, having Lucy follow their commands  will also provide them with a sense of accomplishment.

We’re very fortunate in Snohomish County to have a Prosecuting Attorney that cares so passionately about victims of trauma, their families and our drug courts.

We are also grateful to Canine Companions for Independence, a private non-profit organization that breeds and trains dogs, primarily for people with disabilities, for providing Lucy.

 

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by Cora Crary

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Webinars

Jobs

Former Incarcerated Youth Speaks Out: “Why Your Worst Deeds Don’t Define You”

by Cecilia Bianco

tedrfpostBy 19, Shaka Senghor had been shot three times and killed a man. After going through his darkest times in prison, leading to solitary confinement, Senghor had an awakening that led him to where he is today. In a March TEDTalk: Why Your Worst Deeds Don’t Define You, Senghor shared his powerful story of incarceration, rehabilitation and transformation.

After receiving a meaningful letter from his son, Senghor started to truly examine his past and the decisions he had made. This began his transformation, and these four key things kept his recovery moving forward:

  1. His mentors, who forced him to look at his life honestly and challenged his decision-making.
  2. Literature: While in prison, Senghor was inspired by many black poets, authors and philosophers whose words helped him heal. Senghor references the autobiography of Malcolm X as significant in shattering the stereotypes he believed about himself.
  3. Family: Senghor knew he couldn’t truly heal without his father by his side, and he thanks the mother of his children for teaching him how to love himself.
  4. Writing opened Senghor’s mind to the idea of atonement and helped him start to forgive himself. It also ignited a spark to share his reflections to help other incarcerated men and women begin to heal.

Senghor believes that rehabilitation is the most important element missing from the juvenile justice system, as not everyone has the support system around them that he did. He claims that it is our responsibility to change the tide to ultimately improve our society as a whole:

“The majority of men and women who are incarcerated are redeemable. Ninety percent of [incarcerated men and women] will return to the community, and we have a role in determining what kind of men and women return to the community.”

The ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ mentality, as Senghor calls it, is the main mindset he claims needs to change. Instead, he calls for society to embrace a more empathetic approach to allow more incarcerated youths and adults redeem themselves from past deeds and not be “held hostage to their past.” He believes each person needs the support to do three things that will begin recovery:

“Raise the Age” Victory in New Hampshire: More Kids Treated as Kids; News Roundup

by LJ Hernandez

News-oldTV-smlJuvenile Justice Reform

  • Why Evidence-Based? New Resource Hub Covers All  (Reclaiming Futures)
    Moving toward the next step in determining reliable practices that reduce youth crime, the National Juvenile Justice Network and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange launched a new Evidence-Based Practices section of the Juvenile Justice Resource Hub.
  • “Raise the Age” Victory in New Hampshire: More Kids Treated as Kids (Campaign for Youth Justice) 
    Are 17 year olds really old enough to be sent to adult prisons? In NH, since 1995, the answer has been YES. Over the past decade, as states across the US have recognized that 17 year olds are still children, NH was unwilling to change. Since 2000, Representative David Bickford (R ) attempted to “Raise the Age” without much support, that is until this year.

 

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

Why Evidence-Based? New Resource Hub Covers All

by Susan Richardson

NatalieMoving toward the next step in determining reliable practices that reduce youth crime, the National Juvenile Justice Network and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange launched a new Evidence-Based Practices section of the Juvenile Justice Resource Hub. This news hub will no doubt become a toolkit for policy makers as evidence-based programs and models become more prevalent.

Why is evidence-based important?

Beyond the fact that evidence-based practices are scientifically evaluated and proven to be effective in reducing crime, they also carry long-term benefits that directly affect communities. According to the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, distinct benefits include:

  • Improving public safety
  • Improved outcomes for youth and families
  • Saving money
  • Technical assistance
  • Community support

The new evidence-based resource offers information on key issues, reform trends, experts in the field and resources. As Reclaiming Futures implements evidence-based screening, assessment and treatment, we’re happy to see this new resource become widely available.

Read more and share this new valuable resource here.

Take our Reader Survey: Share your Thoughts and Enter to Win

by Donna Wiench

During my first year with Reclaiming Futures, I’ve enjoyed meeting the good-hearted, solution-oriented, practical yet hopeful people who make up the Reclaiming Futures community, offline and online.

Some of you are connected to Reclaiming Futures’ 39 sites in 18 states; others are interested in bringing Reclaiming Futures to your communities.  (If this is you, I’d like to talk with you, so please contact me by email at donna.wiench@pdx.edu).

What we talk about on our website and blog reflects our learnings from both the courts and the academic research world, and is intended to be informative, inspiring, and useful to you.  To ensure that we’re delivering valuable, relevant information, we thought we’d just ask for your opinion of our content.

That’s why we’re launching an online survey this month, designed to gather your thoughts about your engagement with Reclaiming Futures, and what you’d like to learn more about.

We are also offering an incentive to participants. If you complete the survey and provide your name and contact information, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon card.   

We respect your time, so the survey is short.  Nine questions are all we have to learn about what you’re interested in reading.   Are you willing to lend a hand?  Please click here.

Thank you for your help and for working to Reclaim the Futures of our young people.

Opportunity Board Roundup: Juvenile Justice Grants, Jobs, Webinars and Events

by LJ Hernandez

opportunityBelow you’ll find a selection of the latest grants, jobs, webinars and events posted to our Opportunity Board. Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Webinars

Events

Jobs

Webinar: Co-Occurring Disorders within the System of Care, August 21

by Cora Crary

It is important for communities to be aware that youth presented with substance abuse issues are likely to also be dealing with mental health issues. Youth in the juvenile justice system are also likely to be faced with trauma issues, academic needs and other concerns.

To help communities better understand the challenges and approaches to treating youth with co-occurring behavioral health disorders, Reclaiming Futures, a TA Network Core Partner, will present a webinar on Co-Occurring Disorders within the System of Care on August 21.

Designing a Recovery-Oriented Care Model...The webinar, presented by Kari Collins and Michelle Kilgore, will share information on the complex needs of youth with co-occurring disorders and outline some important considerations when developing or enhancing a system of care so that it will better address their needs.

Included in the presentation will be an overview of a document called Designing a Recovery-Oriented Care Model for Adolescents and Transition Age Youth with Substance Use or Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders that was published by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2009, following a consultative session with substance abuse and mental health treatment providers, family members and other experts.

Register here.

Mental Health Funding Cuts are Leaving Young People Abandoned; News Roundup

by Cecilia Bianco

News-oldTV-smlJuvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Bill 2014 Introduced in the Lok Sabha (India TV)
    After years of wait, the government has finally introduced the Juvenile Justice Care and protection Bill 2014 in the Lok Sabha today. This Act will give power to the Juvenile Justice Board to decide if juveniles between the ages of 16 – 18 should be tried as adults for crimes like murder and rape.
  • House members Appointed to Juvenile Justice Task Force (West Virginia Record)
    “West Virginia has the highest rate of 16-19 year-olds who are neither in school, nor in the labor force, while 30 percent of children under the age of six are living in poverty – the odds are stacked against them,” Delegate Stephen Skinner said. “We must provide effective case management, and expose at-risk youth to instruction and reinforcement for proactive, acceptable social behaviors.”

Jobs, Grants, Events and Webinars

  • Please share the Reclaiming Futures Opportunity Board with your colleagues in the juvenile justice, adolescent substance abuse and teen mental health areas. It’s free to browse and post!

Two-Part Webinar Series Identifies Principles to Reduce Recidivism

by Susan Richardson

Last week, we highlighted two new white papers that provide strategic recommendations for instigating systemic change to reduce recidivism among youth in the juvenile justice system. Next month, the National Reentry Resource Center, with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, will host a two-part webinar series sharing highlights from these white papers.

Aimed at juvenile corrections leaders, probation officers, judicial staff, policymakers and other key stakeholders in the juvenile justice space, these webinars will provide quick summaries of what is working, along with tangible, actionable recommendations.National Reentry Resource Center

Webinar #1: Core Principles for Reducing Recidivism and Improving Other Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice Systems

Webinar #2: Measuring and Using Juvenile Recidivism Data to Inform Policy, Practice, and Resource Allocation

  • September 11, 2014 at 2-3:30 p.m. ET
  • Register here
  • “The second webinar summarizes the issue brief, “Measuring and Using Juvenile Recidivism Data to Inform Policy, Practice, and Resource Allocation,” and its five recommendations for improving juvenile justice systems’ approaches to the measurement, analysis, collection, reporting, and use of recidivism data. Participants will learn the essentials on measuring recidivism in an accurate and comprehensive way, and how to use such data to guide system decisions and hold agencies and providers accountable for results.”