OJJDP Administrator Bob Listenbee to Address Congressional Staff for First Time

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) Boasts Youth Incarceration Reduction in CT Along With Leaders in OH, TX

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Administrator Bob Listenbee for the first time since his installation will address congressional members on juvenile justice issues during “States Innovations in Juvenile Justice: Investing in Better Outcomes for Our Communities,” a congressional briefing hosted by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) at the Washington Capitol Visitors Center Tuesday, July 30, 2013 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The briefing comes on the heels of a report disclosing a drop in youth crime this week authored by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, of which the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a participating agency

Pointing at statistics highlighted in the Justice Policy Institute’s report released earlier this year, “Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have Improved Public Safety and Outcomes for Youth,” Sen. Murphy, a staunch champion on juvenile justice issues, will highlight successful efforts to improve responses to youth who engage in delinquent behavior and to reduce the number of youth placed into detention centers, correctional training schools, and/or other residential facilities along with other experts from Ohio and Texas, states that, too, experienced dramatic reductions in juvenile confinement and serve as models to the rest of the nation.

A separate report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation this year on national trends, reportedthat the number of young people locked away has recently reached a 35-year low, dropping from over 107,000 in 1995 to under 71,000 in 2010, the most recent year for which federal statistics are available. Crime has also declined, vindicating these policy changes.

“This briefing with Administrator Listenbee and Sen. Murphy is symbolic of the trend in juvenile justice reform,” said Zerline Hughes, JPI’s Director of Communications. “Advocates are now even more hopeful that policymakers will take heed to what’s happening in states like Connecticut, Ohio and Texas in an effort to not only affect taxpayers dollars but make real change for our youth in need. Juvenile justice advocates are calling on Administrator Listenbee while at the helm of OJJDP to accelerate and expand these reforms.” The briefing will be moderated by Mike Thompson, Director of the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Panelists include Mike Lawlor Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, Connecticut; Sen John Whitmire, Texas State Senate; Judge Linda Teodosio Summit County Juvenile Court, Ohio; and Listenbee who was installed by the President in February.

For decades, Connecticut was one of only three states that prosecuted and punished all 16 and 17 year-olds as adults. Connecticut reduced residential commitments from 680 in 2000 to 216 in 2011 (nearly 70 percent), even though most 16 year-olds, who were previously treated as adults, are now handled in the juvenile system. JPI’s report, released with support from the Connecticut-based Tow Foundation, found that the state closed one of its three state-operated detention centers, and reduced the under 18 population in Connecticut’s adult prisons from 403 in January 2007 to 151 in July 2012. Meanwhile, Connecticut expanded its investment in evidence-based, family-focused adolescent treatment programs from $300,000 in 2000 to $39 million in 2009.

Young people in Connecticut – and other the scores of states working to improve the fate of young people – are now benefitting from successful advocacy and policy reform, said Emily Tow Jackson, executive director of the Tow Foundation. “We applaud the achievements that make our state a leader in juvenile justice,” said Jackson.  The briefing takes place Tuesday, July 30, 2013 from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm at the Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 202-203, Capitol Driveway, NW Washington, DC 20004. RSVP is required by COB Friday July 25; email Hayne Yoon at [email protected] or call 202.224.4041. 

To read JPI’s juvenile confinement reduction reports, Common Ground or Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut, CLICK HERE. For more information, contact Zerline Hughes at (202) 558-7974 x308 or [email protected]. For more on JPI’s research, please visit our website at www.justicepolicy.org The Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C., is working to reduce the use of incarceration and the justice system and promoting policies that improve the well-being of all people and communities. For more information, please visit www.justicepolicy.org.