The MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative is an effort to create successful and replicable models of juvenile justice system reform through targeted investments in key states, including Pennsylvania. Through Models for Change, the Foundation sought to accelerate the pace of change towards a fairer, more effective, rational, and developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system.
Juvenile Law Center directed the initiative in Pennsylvania from 2004 through 2010. The effort focused on reforms in three areas that state leadership identified as priorities. These three “targeted areas of improvement” were:
Goal: To identify youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system and have mental health and co-occurring substance abuse treatment needs as early as possible; to divert them from the juvenile justice system where appropriate; and to provide timely access to treatment.
Goal: To ensure that youth in the juvenile justice system are provided with the services needed for their smooth and successful transition back into the community.
Goal: To move Pennsylvania toward becoming a model of DMC data collection and to use the data collected to bring about needed change
MacArthur and Pennsylvania’s State Advisory Group (Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency) made grants to target counties to advance the three TAIs. In addition, grants went to state agencies and non-profits.
For a thorough discussion of Models for Change in Pennsylvania, see www.modelsforchange.net.
Last updated December 2011
In one study, over half of youth in juvenile detention have not completed the eighth grade and two-thirds of those leaving formal custody do not return to school.
Roy-Stevens, Cory. "Overcoming Barriers to School Reentry." National Criminal Justice Reference Service. U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Oct. 2004. Web. May 2011.
In one study, only 30% of youth were involved with school or work within 12 months of their release from involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Bullis, Michael and et al. "Life on the "Outs"--Examination of the Facility-to-Community Transition of Incarcerated Youth." Exceptional Children 69.1 (2002): 7-22. Web. May 2011.
Research suggests that the overuse of suspensions and expulsions, as in the case of a Zero-Tolerance policy, may increase the likelihood of later criminal misconduct.
"School to Prison Pipeline: Talking Points." ACLU.org. ACLU, 6 June 2008. Web. June 2011.
Studies have found that delinquent youth are more than seven times as likely to show a history of adult unemployment and welfare dependence than non-delinquent youth.
Sampson, R. J. and John H. Laub. "Crime and Deviance over the life course: The Salience of Adult Social Bonds." American Sociological Review 55.5 (Oct. 1990): 609-627. Web. May 2011.