IACP Releases National Summit Report Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in Juvenile Justice Reform: Actionable Recommendations for Practice & Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2014 

CONTACT:
Casey Shellenberger
703-647-7398 or shellenberger@theiacp.org

 

IACP Releases National Summit Report Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role
in Juvenile Justice Reform: Actionable Recommendations for Practice & Policy

Alexandria, VA – Today, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) released the report of the National Summit on Law Enforcement Leadership in Juvenile Justice, which the IACP convened with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  The summit drew attention to the often untapped potential of law enforcement executives to improve their agencies’ response to young people and to serve as credible voices for “smart on crime” juvenile justice reforms in their communities and beyond. The summit report, Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in Juvenile Justice Reform: Actionable Recommendations for Practice & Policy, sets forth 33 recommendations for concrete actions that law enforcement leaders can take in collaboration with partners at the local, state, and national levels. 

The summit recommendations provide a roadmap for elevating the priority of preventing and addressing juvenile crime, and for responding to young people in more effective and developmentally appropriate ways.  These recommendations were developed during two days of working group deliberations by a multidisciplinary group of 90 participants that included law enforcement executives and officers at various levels, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, young people, parents, policymakers, researchers, mental health service providers, and a range of other juvenile justice stakeholders from across the country. 

The 33 recommendations are divided into eight thematic areas:  making juvenile justice a priority within law enforcement agencies; building partnerships among law enforcement, youth and families; collaboration and information sharing; promoting alternatives to arrest, court referral and detention; data collection and expanding evidence-based and promising initiatives; pathways to school completion; responding to youth with behavioral health conditions and trauma histories; and amplifying law enforcement’s advocacy on juvenile justice reform.

A wide array of summit participants shared the view that arrest, court referral, and detention often run counter to public safety by making it more likely that a young person will reoffend.  “We cannot arrest our way out of juvenile crime,” said IACP’s President, Chief Yousry “Yost” Zakhary (City of Woodway, Texas). “As the first point of contact with the juvenile justice system, law enforcement agencies have an opportunity to prevent many young people from penetrating into the system and to connect them with needed resources – but they cannot do it alone.”  A theme echoed throughout the summit was the importance of strong collaboration among law enforcement and community partners including school officials, mental health providers, social services agencies, parents, and youth. 

Chief Dean M. Esserman (New Haven, Connecticut), Chair of IACP’s Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Committee, said, “The starting point for any reform is a clear commitment from law enforcement executives to make improving the response to young people a priority.  Numerous agencies and communities around the country have transformed their approach to juvenile offenders and at-risk youth.  The recommendations in this report draw on those successes, outlining realistic and achievable steps for changing agency culture and practice, strengthening partnerships, and sustaining progress.”

Laurie Garduque, Director of Justice Reform for the MacArthur Foundation, said, “Increasingly the juvenile justice reform community is recognizing that law enforcement leaders are crucial partners in the effort to develop more effective and developmentally appropriate responses to young people who get in trouble with the law.  This report offers tools for law enforcement and their partners across the juvenile justice system to improve public safety and outcomes for young people. It also recognizes the tremendous influence law enforcement leaders can have in shaping public opinion and calls on these leaders to take on a greater role in advocating reforms both in their communities and at the state and national levels.”

“As we work to make our justice system more fair and equitable, the science is beginning to tell us that, whether it’s the way a law enforcement officer approaches a kid on the street, or the way a judge talks to a young person in the courtroom, nuances can make a big difference in whether children decide to get back on track or whether they decide to continue their anti-social behaviors,” said the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Administrator Robert L. Listenbee, who attended the summit.  “This report is a useful resource for the federal government and for jurisdictions nationwide.”

The National Summit on Law Enforcement Leadership in Juvenile Justice is part of a multi-year collaboration between the IACP and the MacArthur Foundation to expand law enforcement’s leadership role in the advancement of promising practices in juvenile justice.  The next phase of this initiative is a Law Enforcement Leadership Institute on Juvenile Justice, which IACP is launching with MacArthur Foundation support in September 2014.  
IACP has been working on juvenile justice reform for more than 15 years, offering training, technical assistance, publications, and resources for law enforcement on a broad array of juvenile justice topics. 

A copy of the complete report can be found by visiting the IACP’s website at http://www.theiacp.org/jjsummitreport.   
About the IACP       
The International Association of Chiefs of Police is a dynamic organization that serves as the professional voice of law enforcement. Building on our past success, the IACP addresses cutting edge issues confronting law enforcement though advocacy, programs and research, as well as training and other professional services. IACP is a comprehensive professional organization that supports the law enforcement leaders of today and develops the leaders of tomorrow.

About the MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at www.macfound.org.

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