Reducing Recidivism in the Juvenile Justice System: A Recidivism in the Juvenile Justice System: A Case Study of the Moran Center Abstract The juvenile justice system in the United

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    TableofContents

    AcknowledgmentsAbstractI. Introduction

    II. JuvenileJusticeintheUnitedStates

    III. Recidivism

    A. WhatisRecidivism?B. CurrentRecidivism

    IV. TheoriesofRecidivism

    A. CausesB. MethodsofCombatingRecidivism

    V. Hypothesis

    VI. Methodology

    A. WhatistheMoranCenter?a. History/Missionb. WhoTheMoranCenterServesc. WhatTheMoranCenterDoesd. WhyTheMoranCenter?

    B. DataCollectionC. DataBreakdown

    VII. Results

    A. LimitationsofStudyB. RecidivismRatesC. ComparisonthetheMoranCenterRecidivismRatestootherRates

    a. Comparisonb. AnalysisofDataComparison

    VIII. ConclusionIX. WorksCitedX. Appendix

    A. StaffMemberInterviews

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    Acknowledgements

    TherearemanypeopleIneedtothankwhocontributedtothisresearchstudy.Firstandforemost,

    IamveryappreciativetoColgateUniversityandtheLampertInstituteforCivicandGlobalAffairs

    forprovidingthefundingforthisproject.IwouldliketothankProfessorGregoryWolffor

    sponsoringmyproject,andalsoforhisguidancefromtheproposalprocessthrougheditingthe

    finaldocument.IwouldliketothankProfessorJasonKawallforhisencouragementasI

    consideredapplyingfortheproject,andhisassistanceinhelpingmeorganizemyinitialthoughts

    onhowtodevelopthispaperandtofindasponsor.ThisprojectcameaboutbecausetheMoran

    CentersExecutiveDirector,PatrickKeenanDevlinenthusiasticallyagreedtoallowmethehonor

    ofbeinganinternattheMoranCenter.Patricksuggestedthatdevelopingrecidivismratesforthe

    firsttimefortheMoranCenterwouldbebeneficialasithadnotbeendonebefore.Kirsten

    Kennard,theMoranCentersDirectorofSocialServices,wasveryhelpfulwalkingthroughthe

    typesoftherapeuticmethodstheMoranCenterprovidedandofferedacomprehensive

    perspectiveonthesocialemotionalandbasicdaytodaylivingneedsofherclients.Ilearneda

    significantamountaboutrepresentingclientsthroughwatchingTomVerdun,oneoftheMoran

    CentersattorneysasheworkedoncasesattheSkokieCourthouse.Ialsolearnedallaboutthe

    expungementprocessastwodaysaweekforacoupleofhourseachday,Iworkedatthe

    expungementdeskforadultsattheSkokieCourthouse,alongwithmanyMoranCenter

    volunteersandstaffwhoshowedmetheropes.AspecialthankstoMaxLooper,arecently

    graduatedUniversityofChicagolawstudentwhoworkedwithmeasIpulledinformationtoassist

    MoranCenterclientsintheirexpungementprocess.ManythankstotheotherMoranCenterstaff

    andvolunteersincludingKathyLyons,MayaDimantLentz,InaSilvergleid,DonnaMasini,Kelly

    Austin,AsaGezelius,andJoiAnissaRussell.Ialsowanttothankmyfriendsandfamilyfortheir

    supportandwillingnesstolistenmetalkforhoursaboutthisproject.Finally,Iwanttothankmy

    lovingparentswhoalwayssupportmeinmyendeavors.

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    Abstract

    ThejuvenilejusticesystemintheUnitedStateswasdevelopedasanalternativetothemore

    punitivesystemforadultoffendersasameanstorehabilitatejuveniledelinquentsbeforetheyturn

    intohabitualcriminalswhogothroughtherevolvingdoorofthecriminaljusticesystem.

    Unfortunately,thejuvenilejusticesystemisfailingtofulfillitspurposeasjuvenilerecidivismis

    extremelyhigh.It'sestimatedthatbetweentwothirdsandthreefourthsofalljuvenileswhoenter

    thecriminaljusticesystemendupbackinitwithinayearofrelease.Thelongerjuvenilesstayin

    thejudicialsystem,themoredetrimentalthelongtermeffectsareonthem.Theseeffectscan

    includelowereducationalachievement,limitedemploymentopportunities,andahigherlikelihood

    ofendingupintheadultcriminalsystem.

    Thesuccessesandfailuresofthejuvenilejusticesystemcanbeobservedbylookingat

    recidivismrates,whichgaugehowfrequentlyanindividualwhohaspreviouslycommittedacrime

    reentersthejusticesystem.Myresearchhelpstounderstandtheproblemofjuvenilerecidivism.

    Thepaperisbrokendownintotwoparts.Thefirstsectionofthepapercoverstheacademic

    literaturethatseekstounderstandrecidivism.Thissectionincludesahistoricalbackgroundonthe

    juvenilejusticesystem,adefinitionofrecidivism(howitsmeasuredandwhatistherecidivism

    rate),areviewofthetopicliteraturetobetterknowwhyjuvenilesrecidivateatsuchhighlevels,an

    analysisofpastattemptsatreducingrecidivism,andahypothesisthatprogramstargeting

    behavioralproblems,mentalhealthissues,andpovertywillshowsuccessatreducingrecidivism.

    ThesecondpartofthepaperteststhehypothesisusinganindepthcasestudyoftheJamesB.

    MoranCenterforYouthAdvocacy,anorganizationdedicatedtoadvocatingfortroubledyouthin

    Evanston,Illinois.Thecasestudyhasseveralfacets.Itprovidesasummaryoftheservicesthe

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    Centerprovidestojuveniles.ItincludesinterviewswithtwoCenterstafftogetaninsider

    perspectiveonhowtheCenteroperatesandhowandwhyithasbeensuccessful.Additionally,it

    featuresacomparisonofrecidivismratesofMoranCenterclients,formulatedthrougha

    quantitativeanalysisofthejuvenilerecordsofseventyclients,toavailablerecidivismdatafrom

    CookCounty,IllinoisandVirginia,Maine,andWashington.

    WhilethiscasestudyfoundMoranCenterrecidivismratestobehigherthanthoseofCook

    County,Virginia,Maine,andWashington,theresultswereultimatelyinconclusivebecausethe

    lackofstandardizednationalandcountylevelrecidivismdatamadeanaccurate

    comparison/analysisimpossible.Thispaperrecommendsthattostudytheeffectivenessof

    programsliketheMoranCentermoreconclusively,astandardizedwayofmeasuringjuvenile

    recidivismratesmustbeestablishedthroughoutthecountry.Theonlywayrecidivismwilleverbe

    loweredisthroughadatadrivenunderstandingofhowandwhycertainprogramsreduce

    recidivism.

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    I.Introduction

    Recentstudiesshowthattheareasofthehumanbrainresponsibleforexecutivefunctionand

    complexreasoningdonotbecomefullydevelopeduntilanindividualreachestheirmidtwenties. 1

    Asaresultofthisunderdevelopment,juvenilestendtotakemorerisksandsuccumbmoreeasily

    topeerpressurebothofwhicharecontributingfactorstodelinquentbehavior. This,combined2

    withavarietyofothernondevelopmentalfactorssuchaslowschoolparticipation,livingin

    poverty,orbeingrunaways/homeless,haveledtoextremelyhighnumbersofjuvenilesinthe

    criminalsystem. Inlightofthis,effortshavebeenmadetoreducethenumberofpeoplewho34

    enterthejuvenilejusticesystem.Theseeffortshavebeenlargelysuccessful.Between1997and

    2011,juvenileconfinementratesdeclinedbyalmostfiftypercentandarrestsofjuvenilesfor

    violentcrimesalsodroppedbyaboutfiftypercent. 5

    Despitetheseimprovements,thejuvenilejusticesystemstillrequiressignificantprogresstobe

    made.Whileconfinementrateshavedropped,recidivismrateshavenot.Recidivismisthe

    commissionofanoffensebyanindividualalreadyknowntohavecommittedatleastoneother

    offense.Infact,itestimatedthatbetweentwothirdsandthreefourthsofalljuvenileswhoenter

    thecriminaljusticesystemendupbackinitwithinayearofrelease. Thisisamajorissueas6

    1Gottesman,DavidM,andSusanWileSchwarz."JuvenilejusticeintheUS:Factsforpolicymakers."(2011).2PhysiciansforHumanRights.Adolescentbraindevelopment:Acriticalfactorinjuvenilejusticereform.Retrievedfromphysiciansforhumanrights.org/juvenilejustice/factsheets/braindev.pdf.3Christle,C.,Jolivette,K.,Nelson,C.M.,&Scott,T.M.(2007).Movingbeyondwhatweknow:RiskandresiliencefactorsandthedevelopmentofEBD:TheNationalCenteronEducation,DisabilityandJuvenileJustice.4Aratani,Y.(2009).Homelesschildrenandyouth:Causesandconsequences.NewYork:NationalCenterforChildreninPoverty.5CouncilofStateGovernmentsJusticeCenter,MeasuringandUsingJuvenileRecidivismDatatoInformPolicy,Practice,andResourceAllocation(NewYork:CouncilofStateGovernmentsJusticeCenter,2014).6ElizabethSeigle,NastassiaWalsh,andJoshWeber,CorePrinciplesforReducingRecidivismandImprovingOtherOutcomesforYouthintheJuvenileJusticeSystem(NewYork:CouncilofStateGovernmentsJusticeCenter,2014)

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    thelongeryoungpeoplearetrappedinthesystem,theharderitisforthemtobecome

    functioningmembersofsociety.Lowerfuturewages,aswellasoveralllostproductivity,arejust

    afewoftheharmsassociatedwithconfinement.

    Thispaperhastwogoals.Thefirstistobetterunderstandtheproblemofjuvenilerecidivism,

    includingfiguringoutwhyratesaresohighandhowratescanbereduced.Ibeginbyproviding

    abackgroundonthejuvenilejusticesystem,adefinitionofrecidivism,areviewofthetopic

    literaturetobetterknowwhyjuvenilesrecidivateatsuchhighrates,andananalysisofpast

    attemptsatreducingrecidivism.ThesecondgoalistoinvestigatetheJamesB.MoranCenter

    forYouthAdvocacywithaparticularfocusontheagencysimpactonjuvenilerecidivismin

    comparisontootheragencies.MyresearchledmetoconductinterviewswithCenterstaff.Ialso

    conductedaquantitativeanalysisofthejuvenilerecordsoftheclientsoftheMoranCenterand

    clientsofotheragenciestoproducecomparablerecidivismdata.ThroughmyinvestigationI

    foundthatthelackofstandardizednationalandcountyleveldataconcerningrecidivismmade

    anycomparison/analysisdifficult.Theproblemofhighrecidivismratescanonlybesolved

    throughfurtherstudyoftheeffectivenessoftheMoranCenterandotherprogramslikeit.This

    endeavourismadechallengingbythedearthofcomparablecountrywiderecidivismdata.

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  • ReducingRecidivismintheJuvenileJusticeSystem:ACaseStudyoftheMoranCenter

    II.HistoryofJuvenileJusticeIntheUnitedStatesJuvenilejusticehascomealongwayintheUnitedStates.Upuntiltheearly1800s,thejustice

    systemprovidedthesamelegaltreatmentandrightstojuvenilesandadults.While