National Catholic Register — How Restorative Justice Helped Make the Justice System Work Better in Seattle

If done properly, restorative justice can foster “the most natural human response to crime — to try to talk things through and resolve the conflict,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Gothamist — Bridgewater Mall Incident Reignites New Jersey Debate over Police and Racial Profiling

For professor Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has spent years studying juvenile justice, the video is clear evidence of the disparate treatment accorded young Black people by police, long a concern of activists and policymakers across New Jersey.

New York Times — A 7-Year-Old Was Accused of Rape. Is Arresting Him the Answer?

There appears to be little, if any, organized opposition to raising the age of delinquency. But those who resist say doing so would hamstring the legal system, according to Jeffrey A. Butts, the director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center. In rare cases involving a particularly dangerous child, he said, incarceration may prevent them from being a risk to others.

New York Post — Teen Busted Nine Times Could Get Sweetheart Deal — For Graduating High School

“In general, courts and legislatures do tend to leave a little wiggle room for judicial interpretation, and of course prosecutors always hate that,” said Jeffrey Butts, head of the Research Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Anytime you’re dealing with someone who is young you need to allow for the possibility that, even at 22, not everyone is a fully functional adult and sometimes they make rash decisions.”

Orlando Sentinel — Limited Visits to Juvenile Facilities Worry Advocates

Not being able to see family in person for a prolonged period can be incredibly harmful for children, said Jeffrey Butts, a research professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He called it a destructive practice that prioritizes the institution’s needs over the children’s.

Easily Overstated

Policymakers, advocates, and even some researchers claim that youth confinement rates across the United States dropped in recent years due to changes in policy and practice. Such claims remain unproven, but voters and elected officials are inclined to accept them as factual because they are offered by reputable agencies and repeated in news media sources. Without reliable evidence, however, the notion that state-level youth confinement rates fall primarily in response to progressive policy reforms is merely appealing rhetoric.

Youth Still Leading Violent Crime Drop: 1988-2018

Based on the latest statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the national violent crime arrest rate declined 38 percent overall between 1988 and 2018, but the steepest declines were observed among youth ages 10 to 14 (–53%) and 15 to 17 (–54%). The arrest rate for 18-20 year-olds dropped 47 percent while the arrest rates for adults ages 21-24 and 25-49 declined 42 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Mixed News About Youth Violence in Recent FBI Crime Data

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting series tracks violent crime trends using the four offenses of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. According to the FBI, youth arrests for these offenses grew one percent between 2016 and 2017.

It’s Not About the Art; It’s About the Artist

We actually need young people who are bold, willing to challenge conventional thinking, and to break rules, but we also need them to respect others, to rely on logic rather than force, and to appreciate the corrosive effects of violence and exploitation. In short, our communities need powerful and creative young people who want to improve us and not simply to fight us. These should seem like obvious concepts to anyone working around the youth justice system, but it is often surprisingly difficult to implement them in practice.

Positive Outcomes

This report reviews a number of prominent frameworks that are available to help youth justice systems rely on positive outcomes rather than recidivism to measure their effectiveness. These include the Developmental Assets model, the 5Cs model, the Youth Program Quality Assessment model, the Positive Youth Justice model, and the Youth Thrive framework. Each model or framework aligns with the key principles of positive youth development as well as the large body of research on desistance from crime, which is also presented in this report.

NY Daily News — Senselessly Slain Teens Leave Behind Reminders of Cruel Fate Faced Daily in New York City Streets

by ADAM SHRIER NEW YORK DAILY NEWS January 2, 2018 For Rohan Levy, the line between life and death came down to a teenage gunman who mistook the 15-year-old boy’s friend for a rival gang member. The charismatic Brooklyn teen, with his bright smile and exuberant laugh, was joking with two friends just a half [...]

Miami Herald — Florida Juvenile Justice said it Would Weed out Bad Hires. How Did This Guy Slip Through?

IT’S LORD OF THE FLIES CULTURE WITH SOME OF THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE MANAGING THESE FACILITIES.WITH STRONG KIDS CONTROLLING THE WEAK KIDS — AND THE STAFF CONTROLLING THE STRONG KIDS. Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Mobility of Youth in the Justice System: Implications for Recidivism

Both residential mobility and community disadvantage have been shown to be associated with negative outcomes for adolescents generally and juvenile offenders specifically. The current study examines the effects of moving among a large sample (n = 13,096) of previously adjudicated youth (31.6 % female, 41.2 % Black, 16.5 % Hispanic). Additionally, we examine whether moving upward to a more affluent neighborhood, moving downward to an area of greater disadvantage, or moving laterally to a similar neighborhood tempers the effects of residential mobility. We use a combination of analytical techniques, including propensity score matching to untangle the effects of mobility sans pre-existing conditions between movers and non-movers. Results show relocation increases recidivism, irrespective of the direction of the move with regard to socioeconomic context. Moving upward has the most detrimental impact for adjudicated male adolescents, while downward relocations evidenced the largest effect for female youth. Implications for policy and future research needs are discussed.

NY ACS: Advising the New York City Administration for Children’s Services on Positive Youth Outcomes

With funding provided by the City of New York through its Administration for Children's Services (ACS), the Research and Evaluation Center reviewed and compiled recent research and practice innovations focused on adolescent development and the youth justice system. Researchers considered the appropriate role of youth justice in enhancing essential assets for adolescents, including prosocial relationships [...]

Strengthening Youth Justice Practices with Developmental Knowledge and Principles

The insights and lessons of developmental science do not translate easily into the day-to-day tasks of youth justice systems, which often focus on control and compliance. Youth justice practitioners require assistance as they apply developmental principles. The Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) Model was developed to meet this challenge.

Statement of Jeffrey A. Butts to the New York Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice

Reducing youth crime is a complicated business, and I think we all know that it takes more than punishment. If it were possible to stop crime by simply increasing punishment, we would certainly know it by now.

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

There is More than One 'System' in Juvenile Justice by Jeffrey A. Butts, April 24, 2013 Juvenile Justice Information Exchange Mental health is one important issue in a bundle of issues affecting public understanding of juvenile crime and juvenile justice. Others in the same bundle include substance abuse, family violence, head injuries and various forms [...]

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Interpreting the Juvenile Incarceration Drop by Jeffrey A. Butts, March 20, 2013 Juvenile Justice Information Exchange On March 17, Nate Balis and Tom Woods from the Annie E. Casey Foundation responded to my JJIE opinion column from March 7 in which I cautioned that it was too soon to claim intentional reform as the cause [...]

Youth Development Through Service

Tomberg, Kathleen A. (2013). Youth Development Through Service: A Quality Assessment of the YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. The YouthBuild AmeriCorps program serves youth facing a multitude of challenges, including a lack of education and job skills, community disengagement, and economic disadvantage. [...]

What’s the Evidence for Evidence-Based Practice?

Butts, Jeffrey A. (2012). What's the Evidence for Evidence-Based Practice? Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2012-10]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Research evidence does not emerge from a pristine and impartial search for the most effective practices. The evidence we have today is the [...]