Reducing the harm
Hundreds of thousands of youth, disproportionately poor and of color, have risk factors outside their control (including structural injustice) and/or don’t get the primary protection of resilience training, or secondary intervention to address group risk factors, which could protect them against involvement with juvenile justice. They are not preemptively “prison proofed.” As a result, they have contact with the system. They need intensive, targeted intervention, in the form of tertiary services, to ensure that their contact with juvenile justice restores justice, protects public safety and does not escalate or become chronic.
A continuum of contact
Contact with the juvenile justice system happens along a continuum that includes a range of settings and a range of reasons for contact.
- Street, community
- Police Station
- Police, D.A., law office
- D.A., Juvenile probation, courts
- Youth court, drug court, juvenile court
- School district detention center
- Community service program,
- Restorative justice programs(meet Mw/ victims)
- Counseling, 12 step group, court schools
- Probation office
- Residential group homes, half-way houses
- State or local juvenile jail (“the hall”)
- Probation department,
- Community Based Organizations
Each point on the continuum is an opportunity for early intervening services. The diversity of settings increases the difficulty of providing a consistent, integrated, restorative intervention to youth whose behavior is causing problems. Ripple Effects software can put a wide range of evidence-based strategies in the hands of staff at any and every point throughout the system, and enable continuity of care throughout the system.
A note about drug courts and youth courts
Drug courts and youth courts are providing positive alternatives to incarceration. They help ease the load on the legal system and frequently “sentence” offenders to the positive requirement of community service. The challenge is they can’t and don’t provide the skill training, or help with underlying risk factors, which lead to offending in the first place. Mandating offenders to do BOTH individual skill training and restorative community service could increase the effectiveness of these alternative courts even more.
Try it: order a risk-free 30 day preview of the full program.