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Two Reports Released on Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released two reports on allegations of sexual victimization at juvenile correctional facilities: Report Examines LGBTQ Youths Engaging in Survival Sex, Their Interactions With Law Enforcement
Locked In: Interactions With the Criminal Justice and Child Welfare Systems for LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Who Engage in Survival Sex, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, describes the cycle of involvement in the juvenile justice, criminal justice, and child welfare systems affecting 283 youths who engaged in survival sex in New York City and self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW). The 3-year study found that more than 70 percent of such LGBTQ youth had been arrested at least once, with some experiencing violence, abuse, and disrespect when interacting with law enforcement and system stakeholders.


Epidemiologic Reviews Releases Special Issue on Gun Violence Prevention
The public health journal Epidemiologic Reviews released a special issue this past week entirely on gun violence prevention and policy research. The issue features nine different review articles authored by many of the nation’s top academics in gun violence research.

Among the notable findings:
  • In 2012, firearm-related homicide was the leading cause of death for African American men ages 15–34 and firearm-related suicide was the second-leading cause of death for white males ages 10–34.
  • Statutes that restrict purchase and possession by individuals with a domestic violence restraining order show a promising impact in reducing fatal intimate partner violence.
  • Because one’s network of peers has been shown to have a large influence on his or her subsequent gun use, researchers recommend that the potential of social network analysis to predict gun violence should guide prevention efforts.
  • A 40-year (1975–2014) systematic literature review with meta-analysis found than more than one fourth of firearm fatal victims had acutely consumed alcohol before their deaths. Heavy drinking increases the likelihood both of suicide and accidental death.
  • While federal law prohibits individuals who are “unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance” from purchasing or possessing firearms, the law does a poor job of defining “unlawful users,” in part because the epidemiologic research on the relationship between controlled substances and violence has not been comprehensively reviewed. More research is needed.
President Bans Solitary Confinement for Juveniles in Federal Prisons
President Obama on Jan. 25 announced a ban on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons. At the time of the announcement, some 10,000 minors were being held in solitary confinement. Sometimes euphemistically called “restrictive housing,” solitary confinement is a form of further punishing a prisoner inmate by confining the inmate in a small cell without human contact for an extended period—often months, or even years.

Obama outlined his executive actions in a Washington Post op–ed, noting that solitary confinement—especially for juveniles and persons with mental illness—has the “potential to lead to devastating, lasting psychological consequences.” He added:
It has been linked to depression, alienation, withdrawal, a reduced ability to interact with others and the potential for violent behavior. Some studies indicate that it can worsen existing mental illnesses and even trigger new ones. Prisoners in solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially juveniles and people with mental illnesses.
The President also called for state and local corrections systems to examine their practices around solitary confinement.

Newport News’s STEP Expands for Second Straight Year
For the third year in a row, Newport News, Va., is looking for eligible young people and businesses to participate in the Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Initiative’s Summer Training and Enrichment Program (STEP), a 10-week summer work readiness program that provides paid work experience, field trips, workshops, financial literacy training, and GED preparation classes. Participants will work at job sites 3 or 4 days a week, participate in Enrichment Days 1 or 2 days per week, and be paid a weekly stipend.

The program begins in mid-June and will serve about 600 young people who live south of Newport News’s Mercury Boulevard or within the designated service area of the North. The city needs businesses and organizations willing to provide summer opportunities to STEP participants at no cost to the business.

Last year, 64 Newport News–based businesses and organizations participated in the program. In an effort to attract more business participants, the city has opened up the partnership to businesses located throughout the Hampton Roads area. All funding for the STEP program is provided by the Newport News Youth & Gang Violence Prevention Initiative, including the stipend the participants receive.

Last summer the program served 316 youths and young adults, more than double the number who took part in 2014, the program’s first year. At the end of last year’s program, 21 participants were offered employment because of the skills they learned through STEP. In its third year, STEP has expanded in scope to include a larger target area of the city and larger number of participants.

To learn more about the STEP program and the city of Newport News’ gang violence prevention initiatives visit here.

Other Resources

Fayetteville, N.C., Police Officer Describes How He Uses Evidence-Based Research Daily on the Job
Capt. James Nolette of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Police Department, a 2014 National Institute of Justice LEADS (for Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science) scholar, has authored a fascinating and pithy piece about how his department incorporates research into practice through programs like COMPSTAT and global positioning monitoring to reduce crime and better help the public. Read the five-page piece here.

Video Series From Crime Victims Office Addresses Human Trafficking
The Office for Victims of Crime has released the Faces of Human Trafficking, a nine-part video series designed to help service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and communities raise awareness of human trafficking. The series addresses sex and labor trafficking, multidisciplinary approaches to serving victims of human trafficking, juvenile victims of human trafficking, effective victim services, victims' legal needs, and voices of survivors. Find the videos, a full discussion guide, fact sheets, and posters here.

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The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Newsletter is prepared under Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Cooperative Agreement No. 2014–MU–FX–K021 with Development Services Group, Inc. The views, opinions, and content of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of OJJDP.