In the spring of 2017, I was working as a Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator in Montana. I’d heard about groups that used creative writing as a form of therapy for veterans but hadn’t heard of any in Great Falls. So, I worked with the local Vet Center to start a group called The Sword and the Pen. Initially, we met every other Thursday and by October of 2017, prior to my moving to DC to pursue a graduate degree, we were meeting every week, rain or shine.
This week in news – major criminal justice reform may be coming to Florida this year; Philadelphia’s juvenile justice reform initiatives takeover the spotlight; and Louisiana’s public defense system is crippled by the sheer number of cases assigned to public defenders. Stay tuned with JPO’s news roundup!
I believe in art! I see it as a powerful tool whether used in teaching, as I’ve seen first-hand through the eyes of my good friend, Sara, who is an art teacher in a DC elementary school, or as I experienced this week during a remarkable photo exhibit, by Richard Ross, which focuses on juvenile injustice.
As I looked at the photos of young people not much older than my daughter, incarcerated and isolated I wondered: is it possible to reframe our perception of young people in the juvenile justice system to see them as young adolescents who are still developing, instead of, in a discriminatory manner, labeling and incarcerating them as offenders for adolescent behavior –ultimately causing irreparable harm?
This week in the news – criminal justice reform is classified as a humanitarian issue in West Virginia, Purdue Pharma and several top executives are named in a lawsuit as profiteers of the opioid crisis, and a federal bill to support the expansion of veterans treatment courts nationwide is introduced in Congress. All these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. Continue reading “Friday News Roundup: February 1, 2019”
This past Fall, The Marshall Project launched, “What’s the Story?”, a monthly speaker series that highlights how narratives and media impact criminal justice policies and practices. The latest event on January 23, 2019 featured Tayari Jones, Piper Kerman, and David Simon. All three spoke powerfully about how broadcast and print media can shape perceptions and drive the narrative around criminal justice.
This week in the news – representatives in the House look to build on the success of the First Step Act; people imprisoned in New York protest facility conditions during the government shutdown; and the Indiana General Assembly moves toward a restructure of public defense in the state. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. Continue reading “Friday News Roundup: January 25, 2019”
Over the past decade, veterans treatment courts have transformed the way the justice system identifies, assesses, and responds to veterans. One of the keys to veterans treatment court’s success has been the inclusion of veterans from the community who serve as mentors to their fellow veterans in crisis.
This week in news – the government shutdown delays criminal justice reform, youth justice reform initiatives are being discussed on the state level; and drug court participation declines in Oklahoma. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup.
It’s no secret that substance use disorders are linked to mental health issues. According to SAMHSA, over 7.9 million Americans experience co-morbidity (two or more conditions at a time) with a mental and substance use disorder.[i] Drug courts are designed to bridge the gap between substance use treatment and the criminal justice system, but mental health treatment is often an overlooked link. For participants in drug courts nationwide, between one-quarter and one-half are referred to a mental health treatment provider for a co-occurring mental disorder.[ii] Unless drug courts begin to properly address the mental health of the participants, they will not be resolving all underlying problems that led to criminal justice involvement for people with co-occurring disorders. Continue reading “Addressing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Treatment Courts”
Happy New Year! This week in news – two notable individuals were released from prison after the First Step Act took effect, and on the basis of clemency; the opioid crisis strikes Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria; and changes to juvenile justice systems across the country are in the works. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup.