The Chicago Tribune published an article highlighting a report stating youth in Illinois’ juvenile prisons suffer higher rates of sexual assault than their peers in other states. The article goes on to discuss how the repulsive issue of sexual assault to children stems from a lack of adequate staffing and security in Illinois juvenile facilities.
As a society, we should be outraged by this behavior. Not only are prisons poorly staffed and lacking in state-of-the-art security systems, they are putting kids at risk for systemic sexual abuse. More poignantly, Illinois continues to try ‘fixing’ prisons when the research consistently shows that locking kids up is an expensive and ineffective way to rehabilitate them. We can do better. It’s time to focus on solutions that help these kids, not putting them in situations that kick them while they are down.
Illinois taxpayers need to insist that their elected officials focus on reform that will produce positive results for some of the state’s most vulnerable youth. To address issues that at-risk youth bring to the courts, Illinois needs to get focused on adopting home-based, intensive, evidence-based programs – programs that feature research-proven methods to keep kids at home, in school and out of trouble, programs like those on the globally recognized Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development registry.
The best way to address the victimization of these children is to stop placing them into situations that are compounding negative behavior and destroying any hope for rehabilitation. Children who are locked up are less likely to come out stronger and better citizens. Children who are sexually abused when confined behind bars will be further scarred for life dealing with the atrocities that occur inside the walls of our juvenile prison systems.
The sooner Illinois and other states around the nation invest in more evidence-based programs for at-risk youth, the sooner we as a society will start doing what is morally and ethically best for our troubled youth. We must stop putting at-risk kids at risk.
This letter written by Dan Edwards, PhD, president of Evidence-Based Associates and submitted to the Chicago Tribune on Oct. 26, 2013.
Nicole Janer, Redirection project director (L) with Geeta Loach-Jacobson, assistant chief probation officer from Florida’s 15th Circuit.
Noted by one of her community members: “Ms. Jacobson is extremely professional and advocates for the families in the community. She is a strong believer of the Redirection project. Ms. Jacobson makes sure that all parties are held accountable and is respectful to all those she works with…”
On March 1, 2013, the Lee Ann Thomas Innovative Champion Award was awarded to Geeta Loach-Jacobson, assistant chief probation officer from Florida’s 15th Circuit. This award was created in memory of Lee Ann Thomas, the Department of Juvenile Justice contract manager who, in partnership with then assistant secretary Bernie Warner, paved the way for the Redirection project to be implemented statewide in 2004.
Ms. Loach-Jacobson was nominated by her peers and chosen unanimously based on her continued advocacy and support for evidence-based services. Ms. Jacobson is always willing to work with local stakeholders to share with them the success of the FFT team in her circuit, using data, and to improve access for all families to the service.
Congratulations Ms. Jacobson on a well-deserved award! EBA is grateful for all the support and the opportunities you have afforded the youth and families enrolled in the Redirection project.
In addition to the Lee Ann Thomas award, EBA also recognized two outstanding Redirection teams. One team was recognized for outstanding performance and the other recognized as most improved performance for 2012. Awards were determined by measurements available through EBA’s Redirection dashboard.
Particular items reviewed included utilization, successful discharges, admissions and short-term recidivism. The Institute for Children and Family Health’s Functional Family Therapy (FFT) team was the best performing team. Their team is supervised by Cristina Sansac and includes therapists Andrea De Aguayo, Sylvia Kalicinski and Christopher Tirado. This team was consistently top of the leader board throughout the year producing excellent results for Florida’s youth and families
The most improved team was awarded to The Starting Place supervised by Kathy Portwood. Therapists include Alex Kaplan and Agnes Barbosa. Their team strived for excellence and improved results throughout 2012 in all aforementioned areas.
Congratulations to Ms. Jacobson and both teams for an excellent job in 2012!
“Taxpayers pay $108,820 a year per juvenile in placement.”
Sorry, Virginia taxpayers, but the hard, cold fact is that you’re wasting your money. While government officials attempt to find answers to ever-increasing costs for juvenile placements (that years of research shows doesn’t decrease future criminal behavior), a Hampton Roads editorial recently echoed the pleas of organizations like Evidence-Based Associates (EBA): Stop locking low- and moderate-risk offenders up and throwing money away.
$108,820 is a lot of money to keep an at-risk youth behind bars. Especially when evidence shows that on average over 60 percent will return back to that cell within three years. This costly and ineffective boomerang policy is taking place all across the country —but people are finally starting to take notice. The purse strings are tightening and the eyes are opening, desperate for better solutions.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, based in Baltimore, Maryland, recently reported on positive alternatives to incarceration for our nation’s troubled youth. They gathered the grim statistics on state-based programs that are wasting money but, thankfully, balanced that data with information on programs that have succeeded. Casey officials push these data out to the public in hopes that other states, such as Virginia, will notice and start looking away from facility expansion budgets and more towards community-based alternatives. The Casey Foundation’s latest report, No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration, demonstrates that “youth prisions do not reduce future offending, they waste taxpayer dollars and they frequently expose youth to dangerous and abusive conditions.” It highlights successes of certain programs, one being the Redirection Project in Florida. This project alone, over the last five years, has saved Florida tax-payers $41 million by ‘redirecting’ youth away from costly and ineffective placements and instead addressed the mental health and criminogenic needs of more than 6,400 troubled youth and families – good news for their futures and for the safety of the Florida communities.
To learn more about the Redirection Project or Evidence-Based Associates’ other projects, visit their website or call (843) 343-8747.
The cost-effectiveness of utilizing evidence-based programs available through the Redirection project proves itself time and time again. But most impressive, is the fact that this project has reached another milestone. During the past quarter, the Redirection project served its 6,000 youth – continuing to positively impact thousands of families around the state of Florida.
This innovative, award-winning project for offending youth offers a solution that has consistently produced positive results (i.e., reduced felony adjudications and reduced commitment in the adult system) while at the same time demonstrating cost-savings to Florida of more than $51 million in the first four years of operation. The project is evaluated each year by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) and has received legislative reauthorization annually based on its positive results.
The Florida Legislature and the Department of Juvenile Justice partnered together to create Redirection as a pilot project in 2004 to address two significant problems the state faced: 1) the high rate of incarceration of youth, especially youth with non-law violations (i.e., violations of probation); and 2) the less than optimal implementation of evidence-based programs across the state. Prior to Redirection, the state of Florida funded four evidence-based programs [two Functional Family Therapy (FFT) and two Multisystemic Therapy (MST) teams] but struggled to monitor implementation, quality, utilization and return on investment.
EBA was brought on board in 2004 to oversee the implementation of Redirection. With EBA in a project management role, Redirection began with the four existing teams and less than 200 youth per year expected to enroll in the program. Under EBA’s leadership, Redirection has grown in capacity each year and now serves nearly 1,400 youth per year and most notably, has served more than 6,000 youth since inception. To follow the progress of the Redirection project, visit EBA’s website.
Begin or advance your career in family therapy with Evidence-Based Associates.
Are you looking for an opportunity to participate in an internationally recognized, proven, evidence-based therapy program; a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art program that consistently results in successful outcomes?
Are you passionate about serving youth who are in the delinquency system, and their families?
Do you possess superior interpersonal and open communication skills?
Do you want to work in a supportive environment with instructive and constructive oversight from dedicated professionals trained to address the needs of children in the delinquency system?
If this is you, we want you!
Master’s in a mental health field preferred. Competitive benefits. Base salary range: $31,000 to $46,000, commensurate with experience. Job openings throughout Florida for our award-winning Redirection Project.
Forward your resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidence-Based Associates applauds Attorney General Holder’s recent remarks to the National Association of Counties in his call for the nation to “transition from a prosecution-and-punishment model to a prevention-and-intervention paradigm…and to “adopt a comprehensive plan of action – one that engages law-enforcement partners, medical professionals, social services providers, lawyers, parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and community leaders”. After years of often misguided federal policy that too often brought a political ‘quick fix’ response to sensational cases involving youth offenders, Mr. Holder’s thoughtful strategy to merge community ownership of the influences contributing to problem behaviors among its youngest residents with well established science employing the highest standards of evidence-based program application is an approach that will save young lives while protecting diminishing resources – both precious commodities for our nation’s future.
Evidence-Based Associates joins General Holder in supporting this shift from a national tradition of over reliance on institutions and an under reliance on effective, community and systems-led solutions to problems that have perplexed us for generations.
Read General Holder’s full speech here.
As an organization that prides itself in producing measurable and beneficial results – for youth and taxpayers – we are alarmed that the ‘scared straight’ tactics that were proven unsuccessful in decades past have returned in A&E Television Network’s latest series, “Beyond Scared Straight”.
We fully support the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in their stance that this method of intervention can in fact lead to increased offending. There is proven and clear evidence that demonstrates youth do not benefit from these methods and that they in fact do more harm than good.
While the show produces shocking content to entertain its audience, we urge the network producers to consider not only the facts and the potential damage they are doing to the participants’ lives, but also to the message being sent to our nation’s youth.
By exposing the viewer to this raw, sensationalized view of a child’s fear of prison and the consequences of criminal behavior, we are actually presenting a one-sided, antiquated view that weakens the impact that many of the proven, evidence-based programs could have on our society.
The advancements achieved through the programs that EBA represents, while not garnering reality-TV fame, successfully redirect troubled youth from prison to more effective, family-focused, evidence-based treatment options, save millions of tax-payer dollars and improve public safety.
We strongly encourage others to demand A&E remove this damaging show from their schedule.
Outcomes for Florida’s Redirection Project
The current recidivism evaluation of youth released in fiscal year 2007-08, indicates that juvenile referral/adult arrest and juvenile adjudication/adult conviction within one year of program completion is lower for youth in the Redirection project
in comparison to those completing residential commitment services. These findings are particularly promising in light of cost figures which suggest that Redirection, as an alternative to commitment, has the potential to save over $30,939 dollars per juvenile offender. According to the 2009 DJJ Program Accountability Measures Report, it costs, on average, $40,235 for every juvenile offender who completes residential commitment (based on 2007-08 low, moderate and high–risk residential expenditures).
The current recidivism evaluation of youthreleased in fiscal year 2007-08, indicates thatjuvenile referral/adult arrest and juvenileadjudication/adult conviction within one yearof program completion is lower for youth in the Redirection project in comparison to those completing residential commitment services.These findings are particularly promising in light of cost figures whichsuggest that Redirection, as an alternative to commitment, has the potentialto save over $30,939 dollars per juvenile offender. According to the 2009 DJJ Program Accountability Measures Report, it costs, on average, $40,235for every juvenile offender who completes residential commitment (basedon 2007-08 low, moderate and high–risk residential expenditures).
The opening plenary session at the 2010 Blueprints Conference in San Antonio, Texas, is an event not to be missed by anyone involved in helping at-risk youth. There will be an historic gathering of leaders of the Blueprints for Violence Prevention effort, who will discuss ‘A 10-Year Retrospective and Look to the Future.’ In a fast-paced and unrehearsed format, these pioneers will debate how far evidence-based programs have come since their initial development and how far we still have to go to ensure effective
- Del Elliott, founder of the Blueprints project and director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado;
- Shay Bilchik, former administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1992-2000) and current director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University;
- David Olds, director of the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health at the University of Colorado and developer of Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP);
- Mary Ann Pentz, director of the Center for Prevention Policy Research at the University of Southern California and developer of the Midwestern Prevention Project;
- Mark Greenberg, director of the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University and developer of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS);
- Gil Botvin, director of the Institute for Prevention Research at Cornell University and developer of Life Skills Training (LST);
- Jim Alexander, professor of psychology at the University of Utah and developer of Functional Family Therapy (FFT); and
- Scott Henggeler, director of the Family Services Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina and developer of Multisystemic Therapy (MST).
The discussion will be moderated by Clay Yeager, a consultant with Evidence-Based Associates and former director of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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