Every year, approximately two million people under age 18 are arrested and 100,000 are held in residential placement facilities. Many juvenile offenders experience multiple challenges including mental health and substance abuse issues and learning disabilities, and have a history of poverty, trauma, abuse, and/or neglect. To prevent recidivism, young people can benefit from a range of re-entry and mentoring services.
AIR has conducted research and evaluated programs and interventions in the field of juvenile justice for several decades. Evaluations of boot camps, alternative schools, multi-systemic therapy, and statewide initiatives that serve neglected, delinquent and at risk youth inform and improve juvenile justice interventions. AIR has provided training and technical assistance to state and local juvenile justice agencies to improve outcomes for those with mental health challenges, promote educational reform, and provide mentoring initiatives. AIR also tracks national indicators that inform school and community safety.
Selected by the U.S. Library of Congress, AIR is conducting a five-year scientifically-rigorous evaluation of ten mentoring enhancement demonstration projects funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Today, nearly 95,000 youth under the age of 21 are in custody in publicly and privately operated facilities in the U.S. Increasingly, youth are finding themselves involved in the juvenile justice system as a result of school-related conduct. Researchers suggest that this trend, known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” is an unintended consequence of harsh school discipline policies such as “zero tolerance” and referring students to the police or courts for school code violations historically handled by schools.
To build system of care communities’ capacities to serve youth who are currently involved in or at-risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system, AIR's Technical Assistance Partnership, along with the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, recently published three new issue briefs.
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