U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Innovation. Partnerships. Safer Neighborhoods.
Justice Resource Update. Advancing the Field of Criminal Justice. APRIL 2011
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Addressing Youth Violence: Moving Forward Together

Addressing Youth Violence: Moving Forward TogetherYouth violence and gang activity pose serious challenges for communities throughout the country, but local policymakers and practitioners frequently struggle to address these problems in isolation. A lack of local and national collaboration exacerbates the problems caused by gangs, violence, crime, and drugs. In the face of what has become a national epidemic, communities often find themselves on the front lines alone.

In October 2010, President Obama launched the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention to reduce violence, improve opportunities for youth, and encourage innovation and collaboration at both the local and federal level. As part of the forum, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its federal partners held a Summit on Preventing Youth Violence in early April.

During the summit, six cities presented comprehensive plans to address youth violence in their communities. The cities—Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Memphis, Tennessee; and Salinas and San Jose, California—were selected based on need, geographic diversity, and willingness and capacity to develop comprehensive plans.

Each city’s plan incorporates multidisciplinary partnerships, balanced approaches, and data-driven strategies. The plans acknowledge that youth violence is not a problem easily solved, focusing instead on collaboration to seize opportunities.

The summit represented the beginning of a national conversation that will expand and deepen as new voices are added. As Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. told Summit participants, "Today, as you discuss six comprehensive youth violence prevention plans, you are also sending a powerful message—that, in this country, we will not give up on our children."

Ultimately, it is our hope at the federal level that these plans will become a blueprint for youth violence prevention not just in the six cities, but throughout the country. As these cities work toward implementation, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and other federal offices will continue to provide technical assistance and support. Of course, we welcome your questions, comments, or feedback on this effort and on everything we do.

Bullet Addressing Youth Violence: Moving Forward Together
Bullet Revised Proposal on Race to the Top Funding
Bullet Sexual Assault Kits Research Teams Announced
Bullet Resources for Sexual Assault Response Teams
Bullet NIJ Conference Highlights
Bullet Findings on Serious Adolescent Offenders
Bullet Violent Crimes in the Workplace Declined
Bullet Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project Seeks Case Submissions
Bullet Punitive Damage Awards in State Courts
Bullet ‘Perspectives in Policing’ Reports Released
Bullet Peer Reviewers Wanted
Bullet Mark Your Calendar
Revised Proposal on Race to the Top Funding

Since the release of its fiscal year 2012 budget request, the Administration heard a great deal about the proposal for juvenile justice spending. Concerns were expressed, for example, about the potential impact on states’ compliance with mandates under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act and on other protections for system-involved young people.

Responding to the feedback, the Administration developed an alternative to its original Race to the Top-style incentive grants program and has now proposed that the $120 million in the budget be allocated in the following fashion: $110 million as formula funding, including $80 million under Title II, Part B, of the JJDP Act-Formula Grants program; $30 million under the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program; and $10 million in a demonstration program to encourage innovation and juvenile justice system improvements.

Sexual Assault Kits Research Teams Announced

During ceremonies to launch National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Attorney General Holder announced the winners of competitive awards for researcher-practitioner teams to study why many sexual assault kits (SAKs) are not sent to laboratories for testing and use in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults. The two awards went to Wayne County, Michigan, and the City of Houston, Texas. Researchers at Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at Austin are partnering with the city of Houston; researchers from Michigan State University are partnering with Wayne County.

The teams will examine various research questions, including whether all SAKs should be tested, if a triage method is more effective, how victims should be notified when their case is reopened, and the types of training law enforcement should receive.

To learn more about the issue of untested evidence in sexual assaults, read "Solving the Problem of Untested Evidence in Sexual Assaults" in the NIJ Journal.

Resources for Sexual Assault Response Teams

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) released an online toolkit for communities that want to develop or improve Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs). Developed by the National Sexual Assault Resource Center with support from OVC, the toolkit provides information and resources for establishing and/or enhancing collaborative, multidisciplinary SARTs to respond effectively to victims of sexual assault in local communities. The toolkit reviews the basics, lays out the steps involved in putting together a SART, describes how to maintain the focus on victims, highlights SART programs throughout the country, and includes resources to use when developing and evaluating SARTs.

The complete toolkit is available online.

NIJ Conference Highlights

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will host its annual conference in Arlington, Virginia, on June 20–22, 2011. The conference is an opportunity for criminal justice scholars, policymakers, and practitioners at the local, state, and federal levels to share the most recent findings from research and technology.

Keynote speakers will include Attorney General Holder and Lawrence D. Bobo, the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University. The conference will also feature several notable plenary panels and a wide array of smaller panels and breakout sessions.

The opening day plenary session, "Translating the Science of Community to Criminal Justice Practice (and Back)," will explore community well-being and the relationship between neighborhoods and crime. Panelists will discuss the research and its implications for thinking about community capacity and crime.

The second day plenary session titled, "10-Year Anniversary of 9/11: Advances in Science From Tragedy," will discuss the unprecedented challenges that the tragedy of 9/11 posed to forensic science, social science, and science and technology and the impact that fateful day had on scientific priorities.

The closing day plenary is titled "Translating Science: A Town Hall on the Challenges." The heads of several science agencies will answer questions about how scientific discoveries shape policy and practice and what the obstacles are for translating science to the field.

At the conference, OJP will launch CrimeSolutions.gov, a user-friendly Web site that will use rigorous research to inform practitioners and policymakers about what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.

A partial conference agenda is currently available online. Registration is free and open.

Findings on Serious Adolescent Offenders

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released a fact sheet detailing findings from a study following serious adolescent offenders into early adulthood. The Pathways to Desistance Study is a large collaborative, multidisciplinary project that is following 1,354 serious juvenile offenders ages 14–18 for 7 years after their conviction. This study has collected the most comprehensive data set currently available about serious adolescent offenders and their lives in late adolescence and early adulthood.

The study looks at the factors that lead youth who have committed serious offenses to continue or desist from offending, including individual maturation, life changes, and involvement with the criminal justice system. The fact sheet summarizes the most important findings of the study to date: most youth who commit felonies greatly reduce their offending over time; longer stays in juvenile institutions do not reduce recidivism; in the period after incarceration, community-based supervision is effective for youth who have committed serious offenses; and substance abuse treatment reduces both substance use and criminal offending for a limited time.

Violent Crimes in the Workplace Declined

Nonfatal violent crimes and homicides in the workplace have decreased, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) publication Workplace Violence, 1993–2009. More than 572,000 nonfatal violent crimes—including rape, robbery, or assault—occurred against persons age 16 or older while they were at work or on duty in 2009. This level of nonfatal violent crime is about a quarter of the 2.1 million nonfatal violent crimes that occurred at the workplace in 1993. Meanwhile, the number of homicides in the workplace decreased by 51 percent from a high of 1,068 homicides in 1993 to 521 homicides in 2009.

Law enforcement personnel, security guards, and bartenders had the highest rates of nonfatal workplace violence, while persons in retail sales occupations had the highest rate of nonfatal non-workplace violence. Males had a higher rate of workplace violence and a slightly higher rate of non-workplace violence than females.

The complete report is available online.

Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project Seeks Case Submissions

The Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project is seeking information on post-1980 felony cases that ended in either acquittal or dismissal. The cases must involve a defendant who was considered to be factually innocent by the prosecution, court, or jury.

This effort is part of a research project to ascertain how the criminal justice system identifies and addresses cases of innocence. Funded by NIJ and with assistance from the Innocence Project, the Police Foundation, and the National District Attorneys Association, the project compares felony cases that ended in an official exoneration with those in which defendants had charges dismissed or were acquitted on the basis of their factual innocence. Eventually, at least 500 cases are expected to be analyzed, both by quantitative methods and with the help of an expert panel.

Interested participants can share case names anonymously using a secure link. For more information, please visit the project’s Web site.

Punitive Damage Awards in State Courts

Punitive Damage Awards in State Courts, 2005 presents findings on civil trials concluded in 2005 in a national sample of state trial courts in which punitive damages were requested or awarded. The BJS report discusses major civil categories such as intentional tort, automobile accident, medical malpractice, product liability, and employment discrimination and the rates at which litigants requested and received punitive damages. The report also describes variations in punitive damage activity by different pairings of plaintiff and defendant litigants and compares punitive damage award activity between bench and jury trials.

The complete report is available online.

‘Perspectives in Policing’ Reports Released

NIJ has released several new reports in the "New Perspectives in Policing" series from the Harvard-NIJ Executive Sessions on Policing and Public Safety. The first, Moving the Work of Criminal Investigators Towards Crime Control, points out the challenges police executives face in moving criminal investigators towards a more active role in crime control. The paper provides research on the effectiveness of criminal investigators, the problem-oriented approach to crime control, and intelligence-led policing.

Two additional reports present different perspectives on police professionalism. The Persistent Pull of Police Professionalism suggests the past model of police professionalism has been updated as a result of technology and federal funding. The authors note that by the early 1980s, the police professionalism model had been discredited, giving birth to community policing, which also has shortcomings, such as being vague and not reducing serious crime. Although the community policing model is incomplete, a model of "advanced community policing" could address unanswered specifics about the nature of community policing that would help law enforcement agencies, police researchers, and the public resist the persistent pull of police professionalism.

Meanwhile, Toward a New Professionalism in Policing argues that community policing was an improvement over the previous policing paradigm and represented a great change in how police officers did their jobs. The authors argue that it is now time for a new model for the 21st century, one that they call a "New Professionalism."

More information on the Harvard Executive Sessions is available on NIJ’s Web site.

Peer Reviewers Wanted

OJJDP seeks consultants with juvenile justice expertise to serve as peer reviewers for its competitive grant applications. Peer reviewers have at least 2 weeks to evaluate and rate a set number of applications and submit their assessments electronically to the OJP Grants Management System.

OJJDP will conduct a conference call with a panel of three reviewers to discuss their evaluations and to reach consensus on the merits and shortcomings of each application. Reviewers will be compensated for their time and effort.

To apply for consideration as a peer reviewer, e-mail a current résumé or curriculum vitae. Write "Peer Reviewer Candidate" in the subject line. Be sure to note professional areas of expertise in the message body and to provide complete contact information.


Financial Management Training Seminars

OJP’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) offers 2-day financial management training seminars throughout the country for individuals responsible for the financial administration of discretionary or formula grants.

Registration is currently open for several seminars in 2011. The full list of 2011 trainings is available online.

Missing Children’s Day Ceremony

DOJ will hold its annual Missing Children’s Day ceremony on May 25, 2011, in DOJ’s Great Hall. The commemoration, planned and managed by OJJDP, will include remarks by Deputy Attorney General James Cole; Acting OJJDP Administrator Jeff Slowikowski; and Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Mika Moulton, the parent of an abducted child and founder of Christopher’s Clubhouse, a community safety education program, will also speak.

Missing Children’s Day honors law enforcement personnel and private citizens for outstanding contributions to the effort to recover missing children. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Sixth National SART Training Conference

This national conference is scheduled for May 25–27, 2011, in Austin, Texas. It will focus on expanding the capacity of SARTs to promote the health and healing of sexual assault victims, hold sex offenders accountable for their crimes, and realize the hope of preventing further sexual violence in communities. Registration is now open.

National Gang Symposium

The 2011 National Gang Symposium, "Progress Through Partnerships," will take place June 7‏10, 2011, in Orlando, Florida. OJJDP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the National Gang Center will sponsor the conference, which will focus on successful gang-related programs and gang reduction strategies. Additional information and registration details are available online.

Innovative Technologies for Corrections Conference

On June 13–14, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Justice Technology Information Network will host its Innovative Technologies for Corrections Conference. Professionals from all areas of community and institutional corrections, including probation, parole, pretrial, alternative sentencing programs, and treatment providers, are invited to attend. Additional information is available online.

IACP Law Enforcement Information Management Training Conference

Law enforcement chief executives, commanders, operational practitioners, technical developers, and industry representatives are invited to attend the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Law Enforcement Information Management Training Conference on June 13–15, 2011, in San Diego, California. Complete information is available on the IACP Web site.

National Center for Victims of Crime Conference

On June 20–22, 2011, the National Center for Victims of Crime will hold its annual conference in Washington, D.C. Conference sessions will highlight practical information to better support services for the wide range of persons victimized by crimes of all types. Additional details are available online.

Juvenile Justice National Conference

OJJDP will hold its National Conference on October 12–14, 2011, at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference will bring together juvenile justice practitioners and policymakers from throughout the country to share current trends and promising practices in the juvenile justice field. Registration is available online.

Funding Opportunities

OJP’s Web site includes a complete listing of all open solicitations. Just click on Funding at the top of the site to review all funding opportunities. Don’t forget to check the Web site regularly for updates.

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or feedback, please contact OJP’s Office of Communications. To register to receive Justice Resource Update in your inbox, please visit www.ncjrs.gov.

Justice Resource Update is designed to help criminal justice practitioners stay informed and better serve their constituents by providing valuable information about federal resources, advancements in the field, and training opportunities. We strive to provide information you can use, and we welcome your input.

E-mail: AskOJP
Web site: www.ojp.gov
Phone: 202-307-0703