June 2001

Grant Results

SUMMARY

Johnson, Bassin & Shaw, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in substance abuse and juvenile justice issues, helped convene a national conference on youth substance abuse and the juvenile justice system.

The three-day conference, entitled the "Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting," was held November 3–6, 1998, in Annapolis, Md.

Key Results

  • The conference was attended by 61 participants from federal, state, and local agencies, universities, and community-based organizations.
  • Prior to the meeting conference participants received five papers, commissioned by meeting organizers and prepared by experts in the field, to guide their discussions at the meeting.

Key Recommendations
Meeting organizers summarized recommendations derived from the conference in a working paper submitted to RWJF, Overview of the Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting. Among the key recommendations:

  • Federal and state governments, foundations, and organizations with national influence should play a leadership role in swaying public opinion and policies away from the currently popular punitive response to adolescent crime and substance abuse.
  • A better system must be devised for communicating information about effective treatment models to practitioners in the field.
  • At both the national and state levels, current laws and sentencing practices affecting substance-abusing juvenile offenders should be reviewed and re-assessed. Of particular concern were:
    • Increased use of judicial waivers to transfer young offenders into the adult criminal justice system.
    • Disproportionate involvement of minority and poor youth in the juvenile justice system.
    • Use of harsh deterrence strategies, such as military-type "boot camps without treatment components."
    • Efforts should be made to change existing policies or develop new policies as needed.
  • Earlier identification and more comprehensive assessment of youthful offenders with substance abuse problems are needed.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a grant of $153,382 from February 1998 to March 1999 to support the meeting.

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THE PROJECT

Although difficult to quantify, the problem of substance use and abuse by juveniles entering the juvenile justice system is significant. According to one national drug-abuse monitoring program, at a majority of detention sites, more than 60 percent of juvenile detainees tested positive for illicit drug use. Juveniles who are detained, however, represent the smallest component of the juvenile justice system.

In 1995, juvenile courts handled more than 1.7 million delinquency cases. The federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment estimates that up to 250,000 adolescents who enter the juvenile justice system each year have a diagnosable drug or alcohol disorder. Many, possibly the majority, of these youth receive probation only, without any other services, including substance abuse treatment.

In 1998, RWJF provided funding to Johnson, Bassin & Shaw, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in substance abuse and juvenile justice issues, to plan and provide logistical support for a national planning meeting on youth substance abuse and the juvenile justice system. The project was co-sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, with additional support from the US Department of Justice.

The purpose of the conference was (1) to bring together experts from a variety of fields, including criminal justice and substance abuse treatment, to look critically and creatively at how the country is meeting the needs of youth with substance abuse problems in the juvenile justice system; and (2) to produce a report identifying opportunities for improvements in current approaches.

Before the grant began, RWJF hosted a meeting of a national planning committee (see the Appendix for a list of participants) to develop the agenda for the summit and determine summit goals, participants, and stakeholders. Five papers from experts in the field were commissioned for dissemination to participants prior to the meeting.

The papers addressed the following issues:

  1. The prevalence and frequency of substance abuse and delinquent behavior.
  2. The juvenile justice system's response to youths with serious substance abuse problems.
  3. Perceptions of youth and parents about substance abuse programming for juvenile offenders.
  4. Successful models of substance abuse treatment for juvenile offenders.
  5. Barriers to implementing such programs.

The Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting was held November 3–6, 1998, in Annapolis, Md., and was attended by 61 participants from federal agencies, including the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; state and local agencies; universities; and community-based organizations. Among the participants were juvenile court judges, substance abuse treatment practitioners, parents of substance-abusing children, representatives from the sponsoring foundations, and a former drug user who is now an outreach worker.

A working paper, Overview of the Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting, was submitted as a draft to RWJF in April 1999, synthesizing the information in the conference papers along with comments and feedback from summit participants. The report contained recommendations for changing policy at national, state, and community levels to improve the juvenile justice system's treatment of substance-abusing juvenile offenders (SAJOs). Examples of effective and promising intervention models also were provided.

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RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Federal and state governments, foundations, and organizations with national influence should play a leadership role in swaying public opinion and policies away from the currently popular punitive response to adolescent crime and substance abuse. A marketing and public media campaign was suggested as one way to garner understanding and support for an approach oriented to comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment for SAJOs. National priorities also need to change to provide more adequate funding for treatment services.
  • While more research is needed, participants agreed that the body of knowledge on best practices and models was sufficient to proceed with program recommendations to the field. Program models were divided into three categories:
    • Models that have been proven effective by valid and reliable research, such as multisystemic therapy (which promotes and strengthens the support system around the youth, re-establishing family management with parents in the lead to monitor and appropriately discipline their children), functional family therapy (which involves techniques dealing with intense negative emotions, such as hopelessness and anger, that prevent change), and life skills training (drug use primary prevention programs providing general life skills and social resistance skills training).
    • With limited funding for research, priority should be placed on evaluating popular but untested programs, such as juvenile drug courts. Other promising models that have not been adequately evaluated are centralized assessment centers and juvenile integrated treatment networks (alternative programs involving centralized screening of juveniles who have been placed in some form of police custody to better coordinate justice and human service activities).
    • Models that appear to be ineffective and should not be funded, such as juvenile boot camps (correctional programs for delinquent youth in a military-style environment), tough love (providing tools for parents to change their own behaviors so that they no longer tolerate unacceptable behavior from their children), and "Outward Bound" type residential programs (offering rugged challenges for young people to develop internal fortitude and confidence).
  • A better system must be devised for communicating information about effective treatment models to practitioners in the field. The failure to transfer knowledge from "experts" in diverse disciplines to practitioners was seen as a major problem. Not only are better communication channels needed, but also broader cross-disciplinary collaboration. Strategies for technology transfer included holding interagency national conferences and meetings, developing Internet connections and resources, and providing a range of technical assistance to communities.
  • At both the national and state levels, current laws and sentencing practices affecting substance-abusing juvenile offenders should be reviewed and re-assessed. Of particular concern were:
    • Increased use of judicial waivers to transfer young offenders into the adult criminal justice system.
    • Disproportionate involvement of minority and poor youth in the juvenile justice system.
    • Use of harsh deterrence strategies, such as military-type "boot camps without treatment components."
    • Efforts should be made to change existing policies or develop new policies as needed.
  • Earlier identification and more comprehensive assessment of youthful offenders with substance abuse problems are needed. As early as possible after youthful offenders enter the system, police and probation officers should screen them for substance abuse. Those at risk should be given a multidimensional assessment that maps developmental issues, family history, education, substance abuse, and criminal activities. A uniform assessment instrument should be developed and widely distributed to police. A plan for providing technical assistance should also be developed.
  • Essential change must happen at the local level, the ideal system being one in which treatment is community-based and -driven. Local communities should be empowered and supported to take responsibility for integrating and providing comprehensive services to SAJOs. Federal and state agencies should work with juvenile court judges at the grassroots level to provide local leadership for comprehensive treatment systems.

Communications

The five commissioned papers were distributed to participants prior to the meeting to guide discussions. After the meeting a draft consensus document was disseminated to participants, planning committee members, and sponsoring foundations. Feedback from these audiences was synthesized into the Overview of the Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting, which was submitted to RWJF. See the Bibliography for details.

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AFTER THE GRANT

According to RWJF program staff, information and recommendations presented at the conference and summarized in the report were instrumental in the Foundation Board's approval in October 1999 of a $21 million national program—Reclaiming Futures®: Building Community Solutions to Substance Abuse and Delinquency—to enhance the treatment of substance abuse juveniles in the juvenile justice system. A Call for Proposals was issued in early 2001, with Letters of Intent due in May 2001. The national program is based at Portland State University, Portland, Ore., and is co-directed by Laura Nissen, the author of one of the papers commissioned for the conference; and a juvenile court judge, Donald Owen Costello.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Meeting on Youth Substance Abuse and the Juvenile Justice System

Grantee

Johnson, Bassin & Shaw, Inc. (Silver Spring,  MD)

  • Amount: $ 153,382
    Dates: February 1998 to March 1999
    ID#:  033627

Contact

Ray Johnson, Jr.
(301) 495-1080

Web Site

http://jbsinternational.com

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Team

Audrey Burnam, Ph.D.
Co-Director
Drug Policy Research Center
RAND
Santa Monica, Calif.

Delbert Elliott, Ph.D.
Director
Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence
Institute of Behavior and Science
University of Colorado
Boulder, Colo.

Nick Freudenberg, Dr.P.H.
Executive Director
The Center on AIDS, Drugs, and Community Health
Hunter College School of Health Sciences
New York, N.Y.

Laurie Garduque, Ph.D.
Senior Program Officer
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chicago, Ill.

Elizabeth Gaynes, J.D.
Executive Director
The Osborne Association
New York, N.Y.

Honorable William J. Hibbler
Presiding Judge
State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County
Juvenile Justice Division
Chicago, Ill.

Edward (Ned) Loughran
Executive Director/President
Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators
Stonehill College
South Easton, Mass.

Bart Lubow
Senior Associate
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Baltimore, Md.

S. Kenneth Schonberg, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Adolescent Medicine
Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, N.Y.

Amy Singer
Vice President
Phoenix House
New York, N.Y.

Christopher Stone
President and Director
Vera Institute
New York, N.Y.

Gina Wood
Director
Concentration of Federal Efforts
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, D.C.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Books and Reports

Papers presented at the Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting, Annapolis, MD, November 3–6, 1998:

  • Freudenberg N. Barriers to Implementing Promising Systemic and Programmatic Approaches for Working with Substance-Abusing Youthful Offender.
  • Krisberg B. Substance Abuse and the Juvenile Justice System.
  • Menard S. Prevalence and Frequency of Substance Abuse and Delinquent Behavior.
  • Mothner I. Perceptions of Young People and Parents About Substance Abuse and Related Programming for Juvenile Offenders.
  • Nissen LB. Promising Systemic and Programmatic Approaches for Working with Substance-Abusing Juvenile Offenders.

Overview of the Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting. Draft working paper. Silver Spring, MD: Johnson, Bassin & Shaw, April 1999.

Sponsored Conferences

"Juvenile Justice and Substance Abuse National Planning Meeting," November 3 to November 6, 1998, Annapolis, MD. Attended by 61 individuals from 56 organizations including the Child Welfare League, Phoenix House, Join Together, the New Hampshire Charitable Trust, Orange County (FL) Probation, the Justice Management Institute, the Youth Law Center, Minnesota Department of Corrections, the City of Oklahoma City, Lucas County (OH) Juvenile Court, Vision Quest, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the South Dakota Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Johns Hopkins University, and Alamogordo (NM) Public Defender's Office. There were two presentations and, on the closing day, a panel discussion on federal government activities by representatives of five federal agencies.

Presentations

  • Sam McKeeman, "Seeing through New Eyes."
  • Ray Johnson, Jr. and Christopher Stone, "Promoting Innovations in Implementing Programming: A Guided Dialogue."

Panel Discussion

  • "Panel Discussion of Federal Government Activities," Robert Hughes, RWJF, moderator; Donald R. Vereen, Jr; Shay Bilchik, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Washington); Spurgeon Kennedy, National Institute of Justice (Washington); Peter Delaney, National Institute on Drug Abuse (Washington); and Nicholas Demos, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (Washington).

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Report prepared by: Jayme Hannay
Reviewed by: David Kales
Reviewed by: Janet Heroux
Program Officer: M. Katherine Kraft

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