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US Department of Justice
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Chair
Attorney General

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Robert Listenbee
Administrator

Corporation for National and Community Service
Wendy Spencer
Chief Executive Officer

U.S. Department of Education
Arne Duncan
Secretary

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Thomas S. Winkowski
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Julián Castro
Secretary

U.S. Department of Labor
Thomas E. Perez
Secretary

Office of National Drug Control Policy
Executive Office of the President
Michael Botticelli
Acting Director

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U.S. Department of Agriculture
Thomas Vilsack
Secretary

U.S. Department of Defense
Chuck Hagel
Secretary

U.S. Department of the Interior
Sally Jewell
Secretary

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Pamela S. Hyde
Administrator

Practitioner Members

Reginald Dwayne Betts
Maura Corrigan
Laurie Garduque
Adele L. Grubbs
Gordon A. Martin, Jr.
Pamela Rodriguez
Deborah Schumacher
Trina Thompson
Richard Vincent

 

Quarterly Meeting Summary

November 8, 2002

Office of Justice Programs
Washington, D.C.

Abstract

This meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provided members and the public with information about and a vigorous discussion of the Marijuana Initiative: Call to Action, an initiative of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's Demand Reduction Office. The Council was briefed on child delinquency, in particular the development, intervention, and service needs of very young offenders. The briefing and discussion that followed focused on particular risk and protective factors that are crucial to developing early intervention and protection programs for these juveniles.

The Coordinating Council will support new subcommittees that will provide the opportunity to accomplish work between the quarterly Council meetings. The initial subcommittees will focus on family health, including growth, stability, and strengthening the family, and mental and physical issues; tribal youth; resources, including expertise, experience, and volunteers, in addition to financial resources; drugs and alcohol; and education.

Participants

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
J. Robert Flores, Administrator, Vice Chair, Coordinating Council
Kathi Grasso, Director, Research and Program Development Division
Bob Hubbard, Advisory Committee Management Officer
Karen Boston, Project Coordinator, Juvenile Justice Resource Center (JJRC)
Jason Dixon, Administrative Assistant, JJRC
Daryel Dunston, Senior Project Coordinator, JJRC
Jackie Siegel, Editor, JJRC

Executive Office for Weed and Seed, OJP
Robert Samuels, Acting Director

Federal Bureau of Prisons
Alex Escarcega, Juvenile Services Administrator

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
Susan Curde, Acting Director, Office of Juvenile Affairs

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
Lori Hunter, Research Analyst

Office of Congressional and Public Affairs
Mary Louise Embrey, Public Affairs Specialist

Office of Tribal Justice
Tracy Toulou, Director

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
Eric Lindner, Deputy Director Youth Outreach Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs

U.S. Department of Education (ED)
Eric Andell, Deputy Under Secretary
Heather Carkuff, Program Analyst, Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Anthony Fowler, Interagency Coordinator
Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary, Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Trina Anglin, Chief, Office of Adolescent Health, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration
Sonia Chessen, Senior Policy Analyst
H. Westley Clark, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
Harry Wilson, Family Services Bureau
Don Winstead, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Service Policy

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Sonia Burgos, Senior Program Manager

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
Lorenzo Harrison, Administrator, Office of Youth Services
Charles Mondiano, Youth Program Specialist

U. S. Department of Transportation
Cheryl Neverman, Safety Specialist, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

U.S. Department of Treasury
Herb Jones, Director, External Affairs/Project Outreach, Office of the Under Secretary for Enforcement
Charlene Lane, Chief, Cooperative Agreement Section, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Corporation for National and Community Service
Jeffery Gale, Program Specialist
Hank Oltmann, Director, Special Programs

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Doreen Conton, Environmental Protection Specialist

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Andrea Barthwell, M.D., Deputy Director for Demand Reduction
Darlind Davis, Chief, Prevention Branch
Nataki MacMurray, Policy Analyst

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Lee Kessler, Director, Federal Partnerships

National Institutes of Health
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Redonna Chandler, Health Scientist Administrator
Jerry Flanser, Policy Analyst
Susan Martin, Health Scientist Administrator

Practitioner Members
Larry Brendtro, President, Circle of Courage
Larry Echohawk, Law Professor, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
The Honorable Adele Grubbs, Juvenile Court of Cobb County, Georgia
The Honorable Gordon Martin, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court, District Court

Other Participants
Patrick Aaby, Director of Government Affairs, The Channing Bete Company
Tricia Bent-Goodley, Assistant Professor, Howard University
Joyce Burrell, Senior Juvenile Justice Advisor, American Institutes for Research
Jose Dimas, Government Reference Associate, National Center for State Courts
Steven Ellsworth, Consultant, Prosocial Solutions
Rhonda Elsey-Jones, Assistant Director, Tamar's Children
Erika Fitzpatrick, Executive Editor, Criminal Justice Funding Report, Capital City Publishers
Stacey Gurian-Sherman, Director, Juvenile Justice Family Advocacy Initiative and Resources
William Howard, Assistant Administrator, Administrative Office of Courts, Maryland
Linda Kaplan, Executive Director, Danya Institute, Inc.
Erin Kliewer, Community Service Case Manager, Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington
Erica Lawson, Community Service Program Coordinator, Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington
Colleen Line, Sysinct
Rolf Loeber, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh
Michael Miller, Business Manager, Sysinct
Susan Mockus, Director of Advocacy, Tamar's Children
Kevin Morrison, Senior Attorney, American Prosecutors Research Institute
Robert Morrison, Director of Public Policy, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
Ottoniel Perez, Program Manager, Bureau of Rehabilitation, Inc.
Sam Schildhaus, Senior Research Scientist, NORC/University of Chicago (Washington Office)
Patricia Shahid, Lieutenant, Metropolitan Police Department
Deborah Shelton, Program Director, Associate Professor, Catholic University
J.J. Smith, Editor, CD Publications
Abby Taylor, Fight Crime Invest in Kids
Joyce Thomas, President, Center for Child Protection and Family Support, Inc.
Debra Whitcomb, Director, Grant Programs and Development, American Prosecutors Research Institute
Henry White, Sergeant, Prince George's County Police Department
Dawn Wilsey, Senior Attorney, American Prosecutors Research Institute, National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse

Welcome and Introductions

J. Robert Flores, Vice Chair, Coordinating Council, Administrator, OJJDP

J. Robert Flores, Vice Chair, Coordinating Council, Administrator, OJJDP, welcomed participants to the quarterly meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Coordinating Council is charged with making recommendations and providing advice on youth to Congress and the President. These recommendations must be based on current, reliable data that are widely accepted by the public. In addition to good data, the Council needs to investigate or develop tools and resources to accomplish its mission. Mr. Flores announced the creation of subcommittees that will facilitate the work of the Council and provide the opportunity to accomplish work between the quarterly meetings. The initial subcommittees will focus on the following areas.

  • Family health, including growth, stability, and strengthening the family; and mental and physical issues.

  • Tribal youth.

  • Resources, including expertise, experience, and volunteers, in addition to financial resources.

  • Drugs and alcohol.

  • Education.

The subcommittees will be responsible for two things: assessing the current programs and budgets on juvenile justice for each Council agency, and identifying and expanding the use of technology and tools--for example, the geographic information systems (GIS) crime-mapping program, demonstrated at the previous day's meeting. Mr. Flores thanked Herb Jones, Director, External Affairs/Project Outreach, Office of the Under Secretary for Enforcement, U.S. Department of Treasury, for urging the Council to consider GIS as a tool for juvenile justice. Mr. Flores suggested that it would be useful to map crime and overlay grant programming information to determine effects. GIS could be used to predict the effect and consequences of programs. For example, it could identify the effect of narcotics interdiction that occurs when drug dealers move into a new neighborhood as they're chased out of the old one. As an alternative to chasing a problem, he said, GIS could enhance the ability to intercept a problem and make an impact on its solution.

Mr. Flores said he expects data from the subcommittees to begin circulating within 45 days so the Council can have a full airing and debate of the issues. When the Council considers formal recommendations, it will proceed deliberately before making commitments.

Presentation: Marijuana Initiative: Call to Action

Andrea Barthwell, M.D., Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, ONDCP

Andrea Barthwell, M.D., Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, ONDCP, reported to the Council on ONDCP's Marijuana Initiative. The Office of Demand Reduction is targeting the large population of youthful nondependent users in this effort.

Marijuana is a powerful and potent substance, and initiation and use of the drug are at an all-time high. The younger children are when they first use marijuana, the more likely they are to use cocaine and heroin and become dependent on drugs as adults The last National Household Survey on Drug Abuse showed there were 14 million American users of marijuana. If use is initiated before the age of 15, 9 percent use heroin, almost 54 percent misuse psychotherapeutics, and 62 percent use cocaine.

More young people are now in treatment for marijuana than for alcohol. Marijuana use has increased dramatically as a cause for emergency room visits, leads to changes in the brain, and impairs the ability of young people to retain information. Weekly users are almost four times more likely to engage in violent behavior.

Recent ballot initiatives in three States calling for decriminalization, legalization, and medicalization of marijuana were rejected by voters. Obstacles to the demand reduction initiative include myths; cultural beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors; cynicism; and hypocrisy. Myths about marijuana use include the following.

  • Marijuana is harmless. There is clear and compelling scientific evidence that this is not true.

  • Marijuana is not addictive. There is clear and compelling scientific evidence that this is not true.

  • Youth experimentation with marijuana is inevitable. Although 51 percent of high school seniors have tried the drug, 49 percent have not.

  • Marijuana is not associated with domestic and international acts of terror or violence as are drugs like cocaine or heroin. There is clear and compelling scientific evidence that it is associated with violence.

  • Prisons are filled with nonviolent, casual marijuana users. There is clear and compelling scientific evidence that this is not true.

ONDCP will use this clear and compelling scientific evidence to deliver its message to the American public. There are potential harms and risks associated with marijuana; there are increased health and public health complications; and there are multiple, negative consequences of marijuana use.

This initiative will be implemented within the framework of ONDCP's other programs, including the Anti-Drug Media Campaign, Just Say No, and Safe and Drug-Free Schools. The foundation for preventing the initiation of drug use is through strengthening the core values that are learned in the home. ONDCP is looking to faith-based programs, physicians, laws, and public expectations to reinforce and communicate the non-drug message. ONDCP is working with ED to deter drug use through drug testing in the schools and with the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's program to disseminate information to treatment providers.

Discussion

Mr. Flores asked if ONDCP has interacted with groups like the Boys and Girls Clubs. Dr. Barthwell said that is an essential component of the initiative; ONDCP has met with many secondary social institutions to share its message and to hear from them regarding their local successes. These institutions ask for resources and materials to provide assistance to parents in strengthening core values. They want collaboration and coordination of the demand reduction effort. Those in the field see the potential to change behavior over years to come, particularly with the shift in focus to the non-dependent user.

Gordon Martin, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court, District Court, asked if ONDCP is prepared to support and fund drug testing in schools nationally. ONDCP is working with ED through Safe and Drug-Free schools and has prepared a booklet for schools to use in evaluating a testing strategy. Testing has been successful where it has been employed.

Mr. Jones, Treasury, said that often when you tell youth what not to do, they want to go right out and do it. Youth initiation of drug use is rising again from lows in 1998 to 2000. Dr. Barthwell agreed that in 1998 to 2000 there was a flattening of drug use and initiation, but the last Household Survey shows initiation is at an all-time high. The most recent ballot efforts are not a fringe effort, but are very well organized and well strategized in taking their case to the public. They have been successful in shifting the values and mores that influence youth; however, it should be noted that the gains made against the tobacco industry are holding.

Has ONDCP included youth and/or adults who formerly used drugs in its efforts to communicate with youth? Nataki MacMurray, Policy Analyst, ONDCP, said that the treatment community is filled with former users who have made alleviating marijuana abuse their personal mission. ONDCP has a target effort to address parents of this generation who may have experimented with drugs. Today, marijuana is a different drug, more potent and often laced with other chemicals.

Stacey Gurian-Sherman, Director, Juvenile Justice Family Advocacy Initiative and Resources, asked if there is any connection between illicit drug use and the use of Ritalin and psychotropic drugs at very young ages. What do the mixed messages from drug companies on feeling better through little pills say to young people? This is an argument that the legalization initiatives use, Ms. MacMurray said, and the pharmacological industry is in business to sell pills. The messages are mixed, and we need to be clear and consistent about the differences between treating clinically diagnosed diseases like depression and illegal drug use. Mr. Flores asked if there are any studies on use of Ritalin or other drugs for behavior control and consequent drug use. Trina Anglin, Chief, Office of Adolescent Health, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, said that many studies have been done that demonstrate the correlation is between untreated conditions and drug use. Those suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a 25-percent chance of developing substance use disorders or conduct disorders and thereby becoming involved with the juvenile justice system; but, if medicated, they are more likely to succeed and less likely to engage in adverse, risky behavior. Studies suggest that recent decreases in youth suicide may be attributable to increased use of prescriptions by primary care physicians.

Joyce Thomas, President, Center for Child Protection and Family Support, Inc., asked how the Marijuana Initiative will be structured to reach kids who are not in a family (or are on welfare) and therefore are at much higher risk. What can child welfare and community groups do?

Ms. MacMurray responded that ONDCP advocates a thorough community needs assessment and, when that community includes high-risk youth, collaboration with all the stakeholders--child protective services, foster families, schools, faith-based institutions, adults who are influential--who can reach out and influence youth.

Mr. Flores closed the discussion, suggesting that the Coordinating Council could develop a Council Web site where these productive and informative discussions could continue and where questions from the agencies and public could be answered. Judge Martin asked that Council members receive more information on Dr. Barthwell's discussion of how marijuana may pose a greater harm than alcohol.

Presentation: Child Delinquency: Development, Intervention, and Service Needs
Rolf Loeber, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh

Rolf Loeber, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, reported on the research findings of OJJDP's Study Group on Very Young Offenders. The report, based on hundreds of studies that describe the developmental course of child delinquency and key risk and protective factors, demonstrates the need to invest in effective early prevention and intervention efforts with children at risk of becoming child delinquents. OJJDP is publishing a special series of bulletins based on these studies of child delinquency.

The number of child delinquents--juveniles between the ages of 7 and 12 years--has increased by a third over the last 10 years. These statistics are troubling not only because offense patterns are generally more serious for child delinquents, but because these very young offenders are likely to continue their involvement in crime. In 1997, 250,000 young offenders, one-fourth female, were arrested. Although this is a small group, it poses a disproportionate threat to public safety and uses a disproportionate amount of resources from education, juvenile justice, and mental health providers among others. Research shows that male juvenile offenders begin to have behavior problems on average at age 7, much earlier than the average age of the first court contact, which occurs at age 14 . The interim period of time, 7 years, can be a window of opportunity for intervention.

Youth referred to court for a delinquency offense for the first time before the age of 13 were far more likely to become chronic juvenile offenders than youth first referred to court at an older age. The age of minimum criminal responsibility differs greatly by State; however, in some States, children as young as age 6 are thought to be capable of understanding court proceedings. Child delinquents are two to three times more likely to become serious, violent, and chronic offenders than adolescents whose delinquent behavior begins in their teens. Child delinquents account for one-third of all juvenile arrests for arson, one-fifth for sex offenses and vandalism, one-eighth for burglary and forcible rape, and one-twelfth of juvenile arrests for violent crime overall. Focusing on child offenders rather than later onset delinquents offers a great opportunity to intervene early and reduce overall levels of crime.

The sequence of persistent, disruptive problem behavior that leads to a risk for child delinquency includes a high degree of noncompliance with adults, truancy, and substance use. Eventually, from that group, a minority will become serious youthful offenders. Not all disruptive children become child delinquents and not all child delinquents become serious, violent, or chronic juvenile offenders; however, the majority of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders have a history of problem behaviors that began in childhood. Child delinquents are two to three times more likely to become violent--a risk that applies to both males and females and across different ethnic groups. There is one exception: children who have later onset delinquency but who live in the worst neighborhoods still carry a risk for serious offending later.

There are a number of myths about child delinquents:

  • Young children are too young to be processed in the juvenile court.

  • There is a new and more serious breed of child delinquents.

  • Today's child delinquents are destined to become tomorrow's superpredators.

  • Most delinquent acts should be ignored because children will grow out of this kind of behavior.

  • Little can be done to prevent child delinquency or its escalation to chronic crime.

  • Incarceration is the best response to serious child offenders.

  • A single agency can deal with child delinquents.

Risk factors for child delinquency include factors in the following domains: individual, family, peer group, neighborhood, and the media. The higher the number of risk domains and the lower the number of protective domains, the higher the risk of later persistent, serious delinquency. Individual factors that are important include early aggressiveness, delinquency, substance and/or alcohol use, truancy, hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, attention problems, risk-taking, and daring behavior. Physical fighting is an important indicator, as is cruelty to people or animals, covert behavior such as lying or stealing, getting along poorly with others, and fire setting.

Language development also affects the development of child delinquents. Many of these children have language processing problems that affect their ability to respond to rules and moral standards. Temperamental characteristics and early school experiences, which are generally negative, affect outcomes as well. Early-onset delinquents often come from families with criminal backgrounds, teenage parents or single parents, very large families, or families with childrearing practices that include child maltreatment, poor supervision, or inconsistent or punitive discipline.

In a Pittsburgh study of 30 individuals who had committed homicide, all had highly problematic behavior as children, with episodes of physical fighting that eventually spilled over into more serious violence. Ninety percent of the homicide offenders were known to be highly violent prior to the homicide. One-third of boys who engage in physical fighting eventually commit serious violence, and 1 in 10 of the violent group eventually commits a homicide. The progression from physical fighting to more serious violence to homicide is a developmental sequence of escalation in aggression, and this has implications for prevention and intervention. The prevention of violence and homicide should begin with the reduction of physical fighting at a young age.

There are a number of promising programs, all based on a comprehensive model incorporating prevention, early intervention, graduated sanctions, and special needs of child development. Most involve coordinated efforts among police, the public, prosecutors, judges, schools, child welfare agencies, and mental health services. Practitioners agree that more coordination is needed to deal with very young offenders, and some type of interagency mechanism to do so should exist. Dr. Loeber said that there is a strong need to develop training protocols for parents and professionals and an accompanying single Web site that combines all of the agencies' resources into one accessible location. The Study Group on Very Young Offenders concludes that national and State leadership is needed to fund and coordinate research, screening, prevention, and intervention with regard to child delinquents.

Discussion

Charles Mondiano, Youth Program Specialist, Office of Youth Services, DOL, asked if the additional risk factor for children who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods would change any proposed intervention efforts in those neighborhoods? Dr. Loeber said the study findings don't remove the need to reduce child delinquency in those neighborhoods, but the caveat is that it is not sufficient. There are children who go through the high-risk period up to adolescence without becoming child delinquents, but because they are still at risk after that in disadvantaged neighborhoods, intervention programs are warranted.

Susan Curde, Acting Director, Office of Juvenile Affairs, INS, suggested that parents of upper and middle class youth involved in shootings might not believe their children could have these problems. Should these parents be a target population also? Dr. Loeber said the proportion of serious crime from advantaged neighborhoods is small. The only predictive factor is physical aggression, which is a uniform predictor of violence regardless of social class.

Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary, Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, ED, asked if children who have disabilities or who participate in special education programs were part of the Study Group's research. Although Dr. Loeber could not provide exact numbers, he said that, compared to later onset offenders, there is a much higher proportion of learning disabilities in earlier onset offenders as well as a higher percentage of hyperactivity, conduct problems, and depression. Two-thirds of these children never have contact with agencies or have contact only once or twice.

Alex Escarcega, Juvenile Services Administrator, Federal Bureau of Prisons, said he was very interested in capital offender treatment programs as they relate to youth who have committed homicide and asked if there is any research on the effectiveness of victim impact panels in the overall treatment of young offenders. Dr. Loeber was not aware of such research. Eric Andell, Deputy Under Secretary, ED, asked if there is any science indicating that States that intervene judicially earlier have greater success, or any research on States that extend juvenile status before shifting to adult status. Dr. Loeber said that States differ significantly with regard to age of criminal responsibility, but he is not aware of any evaluation studies on these particular issues.

Ms. MacMurray, ONDCP, noted that the risk and protective factors are the same for substance abuse, truancy, teenage pregnancy, and dropouts. Would it be a viable approach for all agencies to focus on these risk and protective factors in general? These risk factors are shared by a variety of problems, Dr.Loeber agreed; children's exposure to these risk factors puts them at risk for a number of bad outcomes.

Harry Wilson, Family Services Bureau, HHS, said early crimes and deviant behaviors such as arson and sexual acting out are red flags for child maltreatment. Has child victimization been studied in relation to child delinquents? Dr. Loeber said the data referred to above were reported in the courts but agreed this was an area for further study. Rhonda Elsey-Jones, Assistant Director, Tamar's Children, said trauma is not often addressed. Nine of ten women in Tamar's Children, a program for women with children in jail, have experienced trauma, yet no one addresses it; many of their children are given medication for ADHD, but the roots of their problems and exposure to trauma are not addressed. Dr. Loeber said there are many causes of child delinquency addressed through the risk factors, not a single trauma or factor; for example, ADHD is caused by biology, but the behavior problems that accompany ADHD can be caused by trauma.

Jeffery Gale, Program Specialist, Corporation for National and Community Service, asked if there is a connection between literacy rates and child delinquents. Many do have serious problems with reading, writing, and math, but whether these are causes or correlates is not known, Dr. Loeber said. In response to a question regarding connections between video games and delinquency from Steven Ellsworth, Consultant, Prosocial Solutions, Dr. Loeber said that the connection between violent television shows and delinquency is much better established than a connection between violent video games and delinquency.

Dr. Anglin, HHS, suggested looking at clinicians as first responders to identify these youth. Disruptiveness in the family and emergency room visits are early indications of problems that a clinician could address with the proper training and connections. Lori Hunter, Research Analyst, COPS, said that the SEARCH Institute has identified 40 developmental assets that could be used as a framework for ensuring that protective factors are present in a child's life.

Closing Remarks
J. Robert Flores

The Coordinating Council will set regular Thursday and Friday dates for the quarterly meetings so members can plan their calendars in advance. Mr. Flores thanked the Council members and guests for their participation and comments and adjourned the meeting.

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