Line Drawing

The differential response to childhood criminality is an established legal principle. Setting the operational legal boundaries between children, youth, and adults is complicated and contentious. It has been so for centuries. It is easy to agree that a specialized juvenile court is the proper forum for handling cases involving law violations by young people, but where exactly should states draw the line between juvenile and adult status?

Better Research for Better Policies

Butts, Jeffrey A. and John Roman (2011). Better Research for Better Policies, in Juvenile Justice: Advancing Research, Policy, and Practice. Sherman, Francine and Francine Jacobs (Editors). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. To do their jobs effectively, policymakers, professionals, and community partners must be able to access high-quality information about the impact of policies and programs for youth. Recent years have seen an increasing, and appropriate, focus on evidence-based policy. In setting priorities for funding and support, intervention programs demonstrated to be effective and efficient are preferred over programs that are well intentioned but untested by rigorous evaluation. An evidence-based…

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Varieties of Juvenile Court…

Butts, Jeffrey A., John K. Roman, and Jennifer Lynn-Whaley (2011). Varieties of Juvenile Court: Nonspecialized Courts, Teen Courts, Drug Courts, and Mental Health Courts, in The Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice, Barry C. Feld and Donna M. Bishop (Editors). New York: Oxford University Press. This chapter addresses the growing use of specialized, problem-solving courts for delinquent juveniles. After introducing the specialized nature of the juvenile court itself, we describe three of the most popular forms of specialized courts for youths (teen courts, juvenile drug court, and juvenile/family mental health courts), and we examine several key policy and…

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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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