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Juvenile Justice Reform: County Leadership Roles and Opportunities

Published Dec 29, 2014, National Association of Counties

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This report details why it is important to improve juvenile justice systems and how county governments can lead improvement efforts in their role as primary local providers of health, justice and social services for communities. Recognizing that many juvenile justice systems have inappropriate, cost-ineffective or nonexistent programs to assist youth who end up in courts and detention centers for nonviolent crimes, the report provides guidance to county officials and staff on community-based alternatives that are proven to produce better outcomes and cost less. For youth charged with status offenses, the report highlights efforts in Clark County, Washington and Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana that provide community-based court diversion by developing tools for identifying and addressing the underlying needs of problematic behaviors such as running away or truancy in a timely manner. It also provides a list of resources for further guidance.

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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.