OJD Week in Review: Feb. 19-23

This week we’ve got plenty of important news to share, with updates on Raise the Age, a new podcast, and job and training opportunities.

JJAC Comes Back for Thirds

On February 20, the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) met at the N.C. Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice for its third meeting since its creation.

JJAC

Co-chair Bill D. Davis called the meeting to order, greeting the members of the Committee and others in attendance, before approving the minutes of the previous meeting held in January, and moving onto the new business.

Heather Taraska, Assistant District Attorney of Mecklenberg County, presented the Legislative Revisions and Legal Issues Subcommittee recommendations.  The subcommittee first reported on the mandate in SB257 that the JJAC consider whether certain offenses allegedly committed by 16- and 17-year-olds should be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction once the law goes into effect.  Those offenses can be found under Section 16D.4(rr).  The subcommittee recommended that these offenses not be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction, arguing the impracticality of expecting law enforcement to determine whether juveniles should be charged in the juvenile or criminal system based on certain offenses.  Michelle Hall, Executive Director of the N.C. Sentencing and Advisory Commission, offered statistical data from a five-year period to point out that most felony convictions for certain offenses have actually been accompanied by other charges for juveniles.  The full Committee then voted and approved the subcommittee’s recommendations to include items in Section 16D.4.(rr) (1) through Section 16D.4.(rr)(10) in juvenile jurisdiction and amend the language of this section to read “Any H, I, or misdemeanor offense requiring registration as a sex offender pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.”

Following this vote William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice with the Department of Public Safety, presented on behalf of the Housing of Transfers Subcommittee.  The subcommittee’s recommendations included accommodating any child under the age of 18 exclusively in approved juvenile facilities prior to trial, more resources and training of transportation staff, and establishing a unified video conferencing system to allow communications between juvenile detention, adult detention facilities, and the courts.  There were some concerns voiced from the Committee about privacy between juveniles and their defense counsel in regards to the video conferencing recommendation and preparing juveniles to transition into the adult system if they are held in custody on their 18th birthday.  After suggestions were offered to address some of the issues members had with the recommendations in future discussions, the Committee passed these recommendations.

Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry also brought a recommendation to the Committee to fund an additional assistant juvenile defender position for the Office of the Juvenile Defender.  Zogry explained the position would help with training, delivery of services, and technical support needs upon implementation.  The Committee gave approval for the position.

Lassiter returned to offer the proposal for the final report due on March 1 to the Legislature.  The report is to include the approved recommendations from JJAC, timelines for potential stakeholder forums and community meetings, potential issues projected for the future, and milestones and progress to-date.  Implementation dates and funding requests for various aspects of the Raise the Age plan are also to be included.

Finally, Brad D. Fowler, Research, Policy, and Planning Officer of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), and Judge Marion R. Warren, Director of AOC, presented AOC’s requests for funding, which included additional judgeships, assistant district attorneys, district attorney legal assistants, and deputy clerks for several different districts.  With a request to amend the language to the recommendations clarifying the methodology for determining the needs and acknowledging more resources may be needed after implementation, the Committee approved this as well.

The Committee adjourned the meeting and confirmed its next meeting for May 22.

 

Job/Fellowship Opportunities

The UNC School of Government is seeking a tenure-track full-time permanent assistant professor of juvenile justice and criminal law.  The selected candidate for this position will be expected “to write for, advise, plan courses for, and teach” public officials, including judges, magistrates, law enforcement, prosecutors and defenders.  Applications will remain open until the position is filled.  The expected starting date for the new hire will be July 1.  Please find the full details for the position and how to apply here.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is now accepting applications for its 2018-19 Youth Justice Leadership Institute.  This is an annual year-long fellowship program that selects 10 people of color working as professionals in the juvenile justice field to participate in a curriculum to develop their leadership and advocacy skills.  The fellowship can be completed with the fellows’ current employment, so those selected will not have to leave their jobs to participate in the Institute.  The fellowship will include two fully financed retreats, mentoring and frequent distance learning opportunities.  NJJN will be hosting two informational webinars, one on Mar. 8 and another on Apr. 2.  To register for one of these webinars, please visit here.  Applications for the Institute (found here) must be submitted by Apr. 23.

Heard About the New Juvenile Defender Manual?

David Andrews Profile Picture - SmallWe’ve updated our SoundCloud page with a new podcast!  In this segment, OJD Communications and Office Manager Marcus Thompson sits down for a Q&A with Assistant Appellate Defender David Andrews to discuss Andrews’ work on the updated juvenile defender manual.  Andrews not only talks about his experience co-writing the manual with Professor John Rubin, but also shares thoughts on Gault, Raise the Age, and some other important cases.  You can listen to the new podcast here, and as usual, we’d like to thank our friends at the Administrative Office of the Courts who have graciously assisted us with these recordings.

Events Around the Community

The North Carolina Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section will be holding a council meeting on March 22, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.  A networking reception will be held directly after the meeting at Whiskey Kitchen on 201 W. Martin St. and appetizers and a cash bar will be provided.  All section members and attorneys who could be members are welcome to attend and may RSVP here.

Training Reminders & Webinars

The National Institute of Justice will be hosting a webinar titled “Using Brief Interventions to Prevent Teen Dating Violence” on Feb. 26, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EST).  The webinar will feature several researchers, policy advocates, and practitioners discussing methods to reduce teen dating violence in high-risk populations.  You can register for the webinar here.

Clean Slate Clearinghouse will be hosting a webinar on Feb. 28 titled “Juvenile Record Clearance — 2017 Legislative Reforms”  This webinar will focus on various state reforms to juvenile record clearance laws and will feature multiple state advocates.  To register for this webinar, please visit here.
yoda training

Registration is open for Higher-Level Felony Defense, Part I.  This training will take place April 9-10 and will offer 9.0 CLE credit hours.  Topics will include working with investigators and experts, building rapport with clients, investigation and discovery, the theory of defense, and third-party records.  Space is limited for only 36 participants, so please hurry if you are interested in participating!  Members of public defender offices should get approval from the Chief Public Defender to register and contractors and privately assigned counsel must receive a fellowship from IDS Director Tom Maher.  For more information on registration, the agenda, and hotel information please visit here.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform(CJJR) is accepting applications for its Youth in Custody Certificate Program, to be held June 11–15, 2018, at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  This training is designed for juvenile justice system leaders and partners working to improve outcomes for youth in post-adjudication custody.  The curriculum covers critical areas, including culture change and leadership, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, and reentry planning and support.  Upon approval of a Capstone Project Proposal initiating or building on local reform efforts, participants receive an Executive Certificate from Georgetown University and join the CJJR Fellows Network of more than 850 individuals.  Applications will be accepted until March 2.

New Resource

This week we’ve added a new document from the Department of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice to our Raise the Age page, located under the “Information for Defenders” tab. This presentation from Deputy Secretary William Lassiter presents points on the history, the implementation plan, and the vision for what Raise the Age will do for N.C.  This document also offers suggestions to reduce recidivism, youth psychological development research, and other data.

That’s all there is to share this week.  Please be sure to check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you would like to discuss something in the juvenile defense realm either through our podcast or on our blog.  We will be sharing more news you can use and other information here every week so be sure to check back again often!

 

OJD Week in Review: Jan. 8-12

This week we are lighter on the usual training notifications, but there are some important updates to be shared.

Training, Job Opportunities, and Events

wvpviwDue to the winter weather and the holidays, the UNC School of Government has announced that the deadline to register for the 2018 Child Support Enforcement:  Representing Respondents seminar has now been extended until Jan. 15.  Registration and other information can be found here.

Registration is also now open for the School of Government’s Regional Training for Indigent Defense: Defending Sexual Offenses.  This event will offer 3.0 CLE credit hours and will have sessions covering cross-examining experts, physical evidence, and motions and legal issues in sexual offense cases.  The training will be held on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Room 103 of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center at 1801 Nash St. in Sanford, N.C.  The deadline to register is 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29.  An $85 registration fee will be required which will cover materials, snacks, and CLE credits.  For registration, contact details and other info, please go here.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will be supporting National Drug and Alcohol Facts week, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  From Jan. 22-28, these organizations will be supporting community events nationwide and beyond that bring people together, from adolescents to experts, to discuss alcohol and drug abuse.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse will be providing free booklets about how to deal with drug abuse, in addition to other educational resources.

OJJDP will also be accepting nominations for their 2018 National Missing Children’s Day awards until Jan. 24.  They are seeking nominees for their Missing Children’s Citizen Award and Missing Children’s Child Protection Award.  These awards are meant to recognize private individuals who helped to recover a missing/abducted child and professionals, such as law enforcement officers and child protective service agents, who have worked to protect children from abuse and victimization.  For further details and to submit your nominations, please check here.

Finally, for those interested, there are four juvenile court counselor positions available in Iredell, Union, Cleveland and Forsyth counties that will be closing today.  Interested parties can view and apply to these jobs here.

Progression of Raise the Age

On Thursday, Jan. 11, the N.C. Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) met for its second meeting since the passage of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act.  During the meeting, several presenters addressed the Committee with research data and considerations for the juvenile justice system prior to and after the changes to the law are implemented.

AOC Director Marion Warren and Brad Fowler, manager of the AOC Research, Policy, and Planning Division, shared AOC’s analysis of the possible workload increase and need for more staff.  Fowler emphasized the need to assess the resources going into the cases we have now to prepare the juvenile justice system for the arrival of more cases.  “The system to handle 16- and 17-year-olds will not drop out of the sky the day the law changes,” he said.  “Having [the pieces] in place before that time is the goal.”

William L Lassiter, deputy secretary of juvenile justice for the Department of Public Safety, went on to discuss considerations for fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019.  Lassiter pointed out the need for subcommittees within JJAC, the success of raising the age in other states, and the need for more staff, improved facilities and community programs to assist youth.  Lassiter said that when Raise the Age was implemented in other states, complaints and recidivism rates dropped significantly, especially for kids younger than 12, because more diversion programs were explored as more kids were brought into the juvenile justice system.  While discussing community programs, he praised the success of North Carolina’s own Teen Court program.  “Teen Court is much more consequential and has a higher level of accountability than regular court.  Kids don’t want their friends to get away with something they didn’t get away with,” he said jokingly, pointing out how juveniles had to admit their guilt for a crime in Teen Court and a jury of their peers would ensure that juveniles would receive a suitable punishment in the form of community service, in addition to a term on the Teen Court jury.  Lassiter stated that participants in the Teen Court program only had a 12 percent recidivism rate and he desired for every district to have their own program.  He gave JJAC a breakdown of potential costs for community programs, new transportation for juveniles, and hiring of additional staff over the next few years, up to FY 2020-2021, which included about 292 new positions.

JJAC

Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry offered a brief presentation on the history and structure of North Carolina’s juvenile indigent defense system and the Office of the Juvenile Defender’s plan in preparation for the implementation of the law.  Zogry emphasized the need for a dedicated juvenile defender system in our state while pointing out that the majority of N.C. counties lacked a designated juvenile defender.  Mary Stansell, Juvenile chief of the Wake County Public Defender’s Office and member of JJAC, backed Zogry’s point, citing examples from her own personal experience of working with lawyers who were not familiar with or just not committed to the specialized practice of juvenile defense.

The last presentation by the Honorable J. Corpening, chief district court judge of District 5, discussed several phases to develop the school-justice partnership program.  Corpening talked about establishing relationships with other judges at leadership training, the progression of the program so far for specific counties, and the need for a comprehensive toolkit, website, and other resources to assist counties in implementing their own school-justice partnership programs.

Finally, the Committee returned to Lassiter’s suggestion to establish subcommittees to assist in the planning and execution of the new initiatives they would have to address in the coming months.  Several members of JJAC and others in attendance were selected to serve on the subcommittees before the chairs called for the meeting to be adjourned.

That is all the news for this week.  To catch up on upcoming training seminars, please be sure to check out our past posts.  We will be providing further updates on training, the progress of the Raise the Age initiative, job opportunities and more each week, so be sure to subscribe to the blog, Facebook page, and Twitter for all the news we have going forward into 2018!

#RaisetheAgeNC is Becoming a Reality with Introduction of New Bill

Since 2007, seven states have changed their laws to include youth 16 and 17 years of age in the juvenile justice system, cutting the number of youth in the criminal justice system in half nationwide and without any detrimental effects on the wallets of taxpayers.  North Carolina and New York still remain the only two states that treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

Image result for raise the age map

Today, House Bill 280, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, which raises the age to include juveniles 16 and 17 years of age in the North Carolina juvenile justice system, was introduced to the legislator and announced during a press conference.  Representative Chuck McGrady stated that “besides being the right thing to do, this bill was also fiscally the right thing to do” because it would save the state money in the long term.

“They did what they did, and parents would come to court and plead their children guilty every day because it was the right thing to do to take responsibility for their actions, and they have no inclination because they have no training and they assume that juvenile jurisdiction ends at 18, but they have no idea that they are putting a permanent mark that is an economic disincentive to the youth of our state,” said Judge Marion Warren, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts and a former district court judge who presided over hundreds of juvenile cases.  Judge Warren shared the statistic that 96.7 percent of crimes committed by 16- and 17-year-old offenders were for misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes. “This process brought the people together to see exactly what it was doing to our state.  North Carolina cannot be last…  North Carolina always finds itself as a leader on the position for self-improvement, introspection, and thought.  Now is the time to raise the juvenile age.  It is time to support House Bill 280.”

Representative Duane Hall, who noted his support of the issue the past decade, said that the bill had tremendous bipartisan support.  Representative Hall said that before he was a member of the Legislature, he worked as an attorney representing children for small, first-time offenses.  He stated that he had teenagers who came to him in tears because they would not have the opportunity to pursue their desired careers in military or obtain financial aid because of the permanent consequences that followed them for the smallest offenses.

Representative Kelly Alexander said that he and his colleagues of the Legislative Black Caucus on both the Senate and House sides have had an interest in juvenile justice for a long time and they supported the change 100 percent.

William Lassiter, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Juvenile Justice, said that the cost savings estimated for N.C. as a result of the bill could be in the range of $7 million to $50 million, depending on the economic contribution of each juvenile that would be effected in the justice system based on their ability to obtain a diploma, college degree, and be taxpaying citizens.  He said that just by keeping kids in the juvenile justice system there are lower rates of recidivism, which is the major factor in cost reduction for the state.  He mentioned that for nine years in a row now there has been a 30 percent decline in juvenile crime rates.  There has been a reduction in 16 and 17 year olds on probation from about 8,000 to less than 2,000 in the past decade under adult supervision because of improvements in the juvenile justice system every day.

When asked what improvements in the bill gained the support of law enforcement, Judge Warren said that he believed that the two most significant changes were the ability to transfer A-E felonies to criminal court, which would be more to the benefit of the community than to the juvenile, and a prepetition diversion, which allowed other stakeholders to get involved in putting a child on the right path.

According to the latest report from the Justice Policy Institute released on March 7th, despite concerns that the intake of these youth into the juvenile justice system would ultimately overwhelm the states that raised the age and significantly increase the costs to taxpayers, it was proven that by applying better practices these issues could be easily alleviated.  Programs to assist youth in getting past delinquency and reducing recidivism for them in turn reduced the need for confinement and increased public safety.  Fewer prisons are needed as a result of youth being taken out of the criminal justice system and juveniles are also safer when they are not being incarcerated with adults, which would put them at risk of being sexually assaulted.

In the past decade, North Carolina has halved the number of youth admitted to detention centers.  The North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice Committee on Criminal Investigation and Adjudication reported that, because the Division of Juvenile Justice has shifted to more effective youth justice practices, they have already produced millions of dollars in cost savings to help implement raise the age.

Contact OJD for more information about H280 and juvenile jurisdiction.