Mentoring in Juvenile Justice

Butts, Jeffrey A. (2011). Mentoring in Juvenile Justice. Portland State University School of Social Work. Summer Symposium on Youth Mentoring. Presentation to researchers and practitioners at the summer symposium at Portland State University, telling the audience that youth mentoring deserves to be a key component of the juvenile justice system.

Evaluating Systems Change in a Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative

John K. Roman, Jeffrey A. Butts, and Caterina Roman (2011). Evaluating Systems Change in a Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative. Children and Youth Services Review, 33: S41-S53. Evaluating comprehensive, inter-agency initiatives to reform human services systems presents substantial challenges to traditional research models. Outcomes are observed at the system level rather than the individual level, and the validity of study results may be challenged on a variety of dimensions, particularly small sample sizes and measurement error. We report the results of a cross-site evaluation of the first phase of Reclaiming Futures, a five-year effort to improve services and interventions for justice-involved youth…

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Process Evaluation of the Chicago JISC

Jeffrey A. Butts (2011). Process Evaluation of the Chicago Juvenile Intervention and Support Center. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Researchers investigated the operations of a pre-court diversion program that provides services and supports to “station adjusted” (i.e., informally handled) youthful offenders after they have come into contact with the Chicago Police Department but before they have been formally arrested and referred to the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department. The purpose of the study was to determine the suitability of the program for evaluation and to work with staff to enact any procedural modifications that may…

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Teen Courts — Do They Work and Why?

Jeffrey A. Butts and Jennifer Ortiz (2011). Teen courts — Do they work and why? New York State Bar Association Journal, 83(1): 18-21. Despite their popularity, there are many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of teen courts. The overall impression one gets from the evaluation literature is positive, but researchers have yet to identify exactly why teen courts work. Most important, studies have not yet investigated whether some teen court models are better than others. There is sufficient research evidence to believe that teen courts have meaningful benefits for youth participants, their families and communities, yet many questions remain. One particularly vital…

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The U.S. Juvenile Justice Policy Landscape

Willison, Janeen B., Daniel P. Mears, and Jeffrey A. Butts (2011). The U.S. Juvenile Justice Policy Landscape. In U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: A Contemporary Reader. Karim Ismaili (Editor). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning, Inc. The diverse mix of policies and practices introduced in recent years raises important questions about the posture of juvenile justice today. Most scholars agree that decades of “get-tough” reforms diminished the influence of the juvenile court. Many contend that these changes rendered the criminal (adult) and juvenile justice systems largely indistinguishable. Recent research, however, calls these claims into question and suggests that rehabilitation remains a critical goal…

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Trends in American Youth Crime

Jeffrey A. Butts and Daniel P. Mears (2011). Trends in American Youth Crime. In Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice, David W. Springer and Albert R. Roberts (Editors). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. This chapter answers two deceptively simple questions, “How much juvenile crime is there today?” and “How does the level of juvenile crime today compare with juvenile crime 20 or 30 years ago?” The discussion focuses on juvenile crime trends in the U.S. since 1980. Traditionally, researchers answer questions about changing juvenile crime rates with data from law enforcement. According to estimates created from the Uniform Crime Reporting data…

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Positive Youth Justice

Butts, Jeffrey A., Gordon Bazemore, and Aundra Saa Meroe (2010). Positive Youth Justice: Framing Justice Interventions Using the Concepts of Positive Youth Development. Washington, DC: Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Positive youth development could be an effective framework for designing general interventions for young offenders. Such a framework would encourage youth justice systems to focus on protective factors as well as risk factors, strengths as well as problems, and broader efforts to facilitate successful transitions to adulthood for justice-involved youth. The positive youth development approach supports youth in making successful transitions from adolescence to early adulthood by encouraging young people to develop…

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A Community Youth Development Approach to Gang Control Programs

Jeffrey A. Butts and Caterina Gouvis Roman (2010). A Community Youth Development Approach to Gang Control Programs. In Youth Gangs and Community Intervention: Research, Practice, and Evidence. Robert J. Chaskin (Editor). New York: Columbia University Press. This chapter describes a potential path to a stronger conceptual framework for youth gang prevention and early intervention that draws upon one of the most well-established gang reduction efforts to date, the Comprehensive Community Model developed by Irving Spergel at the University of Chicago, as well as two increasingly prominent perspectives in the criminal and juvenile justice system: positive youth development and the community justice approach.