Juvenile Justice Resources: Webinars on Effective COVID-19 Responses

Posted September 9, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Speakers on a webinar about effective juvenile justice responses to COVID-19

Eight new webi­nar record­ings describe effec­tive juve­nile jus­tice prac­tices amid the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. The one-hour webi­na­rs fea­ture prac­ti­cal advice by and for youth jus­tice sys­tem lead­ers and prac­ti­tion­ers respon­si­ble for keep­ing young peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties and agency staff safe. The webi­na­rs high­light­ed below are orga­nized by four juve­nile jus­tice pri­or­i­ties that should guide the field dur­ing and after the pandemic.

Pro­mot­ing young people’s long-term suc­cess and doing so equal­ly for youth of every race and eth­nic­i­ty, every­where and every day, is at the heart of the path for­ward for youth jus­tice sys­tems,” says Nate Balis, direc­tor of the Foundation’s Juve­nile Jus­tice Strat­e­gy Group.

The webi­na­rs pre­miered on JDAIcon­nect, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s online com­mu­ni­ty for JDAI® prac­ti­tion­ers and peo­ple inter­est­ed in youth jus­tice. Join JDAIcon­nect to dis­cuss what you’re watch­ing or view oth­er free webi­na­rs relat­ed to build­ing a bet­ter and more equi­table youth jus­tice sys­tem. The webi­na­rs are coor­di­nat­ed by JDAI’s train­ing part­ner the Pre­tri­al Jus­tice Institute.

Pri­or­i­ty 1: Stop new admis­sions to juve­nile deten­tion, cor­rec­tion­al and place­ment facilities

Coura­geous Lead­er­ship in the Time of COVID-19: Reduc­ing Deten­tion Admissions

No young per­son should spend a sin­gle day in deten­tion unless there is an imme­di­ate and sub­stan­tial risk to pub­lic safe­ty. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true giv­en the poten­tial for a full-blown health cri­sis in any facil­i­ty where peo­ple are liv­ing in close quar­ters. In this webi­nar, lead­ers of juve­nile jus­tice agen­cies — two at the state lev­el and one at the coun­ty lev­el — dis­cuss how they have reduced admis­sions dra­mat­i­cal­ly and equi­tably since the onset of the pan­dem­ic. The lead­ers describe how they are using com­mu­ni­ty-based alter­na­tives to deten­tion and the impli­ca­tions for future prac­tice of safe­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduc­ing the use of deten­tion. Record­ed on May 15, 2020.

Data-Dri­ven Respons­es to COVID-19

The pat­terns emerg­ing from juris­dic­tions in response to COVID-19 reveal how rapid­ly and dra­mat­i­cal­ly change is hap­pen­ing in juve­nile jus­tice agen­cies across the coun­try. The data offer insight to state and local lead­ers about how their own juris­dic­tions com­pare to larg­er trends. By ask­ing them­selves the right ques­tions, lead­ers can begin to under­stand what’s behind the num­bers, what’s work­ing and what’s not. This webi­nar offers ques­tions that lead­ers can ask them­selves to scru­ti­nize deten­tion deci­sions and to review and recon­sid­er poli­cies that result in con­fine­ment. Record­ed on July 7, 2020.

Pri­or­i­ty 2: Release young peo­ple from secure and group care set­tings as quick­ly and safe­ly as possible

Break­ing Down Bar­ri­ers to Release Dur­ing the COVID Cri­sis and Beyond

After a surge of releas­es from deten­tion in March 2020, the pace of releas­es slowed, leav­ing many young peo­ple — dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly Black — still liv­ing in con­fine­ment with­out access to oppor­tu­ni­ties or con­nec­tions, and poten­tial­ly vul­ner­a­ble to the virus. This webi­nar pro­motes actions that accel­er­ate releas­es, such as review­ing indi­vid­ual cas­es and plan­ning for the safe release of each youth from deten­tion. The dis­cus­sion refers to over­com­ing bar­ri­ers and com­pli­ca­tions to releas­es that have arisen due to the pan­dem­ic. Record­ed on April 29, 2020.

Pri­or­i­ty 3: Pro­vide mean­ing­ful and devel­op­men­tal­ly appro­pri­ate sup­port and ser­vices to the small num­ber of young peo­ple remain­ing in out-of-home confinement

Col­lab­o­ra­tion Dur­ing COVID-19: Sup­port­ing Youth and Staff

Even as the youth jus­tice field is dra­mat­i­cal­ly reduc­ing the num­ber of youth in deten­tion and oth­er forms of out-of-home place­ment, some youth remain in cus­tody with front­line staff respon­si­ble for their care. The pan­elists in this webi­nar offer exam­ples of suc­cess­ful approach­es to keep­ing young peo­ple and staff safe in facil­i­ties using tech­nol­o­gy, col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­pas­sion. Then the pan­elists dis­cuss their strate­gies for main­tain­ing the most effec­tive of these inno­va­tions beyond the pan­dem­ic. Record­ed on June 13, 2020.

Pri­or­i­ty 4: Sus­pend require­ments that are at odds with pub­lic health rec­om­men­da­tions for youth who are on pro­ba­tion or some form of com­mu­ni­ty supervision

Young Adult Voic­es on the Effect of COVID-19 on Youth Involved in the Juve­nile Jus­tice System

Four youth advi­sors work­ing with the Foundation’s Juve­nile Jus­tice Strat­e­gy Group dis­cuss how youth involved in the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem have been far­ing since the onset of the pan­dem­ic. Based on their con­nec­tions with youth cur­rent­ly in juve­nile jus­tice facil­i­ties and on pro­ba­tion, the advi­sors con­vey how youth are cop­ing, meet­ing their needs — or not — and feel­ing about how their local jus­tice sys­tem is respond­ing to COVID-19. They reveal pos­si­ble blind spots in local respons­es iden­ti­fied by young peo­ple. Record­ed on August 19, 2020.

The Chang­ing World of Youth Pro­ba­tion Dur­ing COVID-19

This webi­nar focus­es on the fam­i­lies of young peo­ple on pro­ba­tion. With many or most young peo­ple on pro­ba­tion shel­tered in place, par­ents, care­givers and oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers in phys­i­cal con­tact with a young per­son are key part­ners for youth on pro­ba­tion to suc­ceed. Experts in build­ing pos­i­tive part­ner­ships between pro­ba­tion offi­cers and fam­i­ly mem­bers describe why and how to sup­port fam­i­lies as part of achiev­ing the long-term well-being of young peo­ple on pro­ba­tion. Record­ed on June 18, 2020.

Cre­ative Approach­es in Chal­leng­ing Times: The Vital Role of Com­mu­ni­ty-Based Orga­ni­za­tions in Sup­port­ing Youth and Families

Com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions in the youth jus­tice field enable youth to be heard, respect­ed and sup­port­ed in their own neigh­bor­hoods. Lead­ers of three com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions share effec­tive strate­gies on meet­ing the imme­di­ate needs of youth and fam­i­lies dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, being nim­ble in times of cri­sis and part­ner­ing with juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems to reduce admis­sions to juve­nile facil­i­ties and increase releas­es. The pan­elists note that sus­tain­ing local orga­ni­za­tions requires pub­lic fund­ing and respect for and recog­ni­tion of the role they play in keep­ing young peo­ple safe­ly in their com­mu­ni­ties and with their fam­i­lies. Record­ed on July 15, 2020.

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