Change in Juvenile Justice

DC Public Safety Radio

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See radio show at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/2016/02/2769-change-and-juvenile-justice/

Leonard: From the nation’s capital, this is DC Public Safety. I’m your host Leonard Sipes. Ladies and gentlemen, this show titled today is “Change in Juvenile Justice,” and we have a national expert by our microphones. We have Jake Horowitz. Jake is the policy director for the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trust. Before joining Pew, Jake worked for the National Institute of Justice, which is the principal research arm of the US Department of Justice. He was at the House of Representatives and the Eckerd Youth Alternatives organization. Jake, welcome to DC Public Safety.

Jake: Pleasure to be here with you.

Leonard: All right, juvenile justice. One of the things that I figured out, Jake, is that a lot of us who were in the adult system really don’t have a clear understanding of the juvenile justice system. Before getting on to that explanation, give me a sense as to what Pew is doing and what you’re doing to advance the calls of change in juvenile justice.

Jake: The Pew Charitable Trust is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that brings the best research to bear on today’s most challenging problems that’s applied in our Public Safety Performance Project where we assist states that want to take a fresh look at their sentencing and corrections system and choose data-driven, fiscally sound sentencing and corrections policies in both the criminal and juvenile justice systems that can protect safety, hold offenders accountable, and contain corrections costs.

Leonard: Pew has been at the forefront of change in the adult and juvenile criminal justice system. I mean that needs to be said upfront.

Jake: Well, we’ve had a good run of it right now. We’re about 10 years in to our Public Safety Performance Project. We started as a pretty modest initiative, looking to bring together policy makers from across the country who are working on these issues, bring new research to bear, and also provide direct technical assistance to state leaders who, as I’ve mentioned, want to take a fresh look at these issues. We also hit it at a key time. States were spending about $50 billion a year on adult prisons. They were getting returns that they didn’t like. Recidivism rates were stubbornly high. But crime was really low. Crime had been falling since the early to mid-’90s. It was a key moment, almost an inflection point in Americans’ consideration of sentencing and corrections issues, and that has certainly be motivated as much on the juvenile side as on the adult side of the ledger.

Leonard: I keep setting up questions and then deferring to other questions. Before getting on to the change in juvenile justice, which has been remarkable, there’s been, in my sense, a lot more change in juvenile justice than the adult system. In essence, give me a layman’s explanation as to what the juvenile justice system is because people are confused, even those of us in the adult system. We don’t quite understand that the juvenile justice system is there for the best interest of the child, not like in the adult system, accountability and punishment.

Jake: There’s a bunch of ways to break this down. You’re absolutely right that American criminal justice is a fractured system. You’ve got 50 state systems. You’ve got thousands of county systems with their own jails. You have district attorneys and judges and defense attorneys working at the local and county and state level. You’ve got a federal system. You have DC’s bifurcated and complex system that we were discussing earlier before the show.

You’re absolutely right. One other way to break down the system is between adults and juveniles. Every state sets its own age of jurisdiction that demarcates at what age people are processed either as a juvenile in the juvenile justice system or an adult in the adult system and under what conditions they can be transferred, so there’s actually fluidity between the systems. The reasons, as you pointed out, is that overall the motivation for a separate juvenile justice system in this country comes from the understanding that kids are less culpable. They’re cognitively less developed. They’re emotionally less developed. They’re much more a product of their environment than adults.

Because of all of that, these are all seen as partially mitigating circumstances in a sense, not legal sense, but in a moral and ethical and how the system chooses to respond to delinquent or criminal behavior. I wouldn’t say it’s so much that it’s not about accountability, but you’re absolutely right that many states actually have in statute statements that the decisions shall be in the best interest of the youth. The idea is that the first response to juvenile crime should not be one of punishment but asking the question: what can we do at this point to reduce recidivism, to maximize public safety and to hold juveniles accountable? Very few states or state policy makers would ever say this is not about accountability.

Leonard: Well, I probably mischose my words, but the point is is that if you have a system that is predicated to be in the best interest of the child, there’s going to be a different reaction than if you have the person at 15 and that person’s tied up in 3 or 4 burglaries. These reaction to that individual is going to be different in the juvenile justice system versus 3 or 4 burglaries done by a 25-year-old in the adult system.

Jake: I think that’s accurate. Another we see happening right now is some of that thinking, and let me just characterize that thinking, that the question we’re trying to answer is not how do we show we’re tough on crime or that we are holding people accountability? The question is what is the best use of our resources right now to maximize public safety. That thinking has always been on the juvenile side of the ledger, and now it’s actually starting to seep into the adult criminal justice system.

Leonard: That’s interesting because the fundamental change … that segues nicely into the next question. The juvenile justice system in essence … Here’s my laymanesque view of the juvenile justice system. 10, 15 years ago, it probably wasn’t hugely different from the adult system. You had institutions, not prisons, but you had institutions that were there, again, for the best interest of the child, but you still locked up a tremendous amount of people who were caught up in the juvenile justice system. They may have gotten treatment that you don’t get in the adult system, mental health or substance abuse, but in essence it was institutional-based and the bulk of individuals went into those institutions, filtered into juvenile justice’s form of parole and probation. That has dramatically changed, correct? What states are doing in terms of putting people into, I don’t want to call them prisons, institutions, the reliance upon facilities and placing juveniles into those facilities has lessened tremendously over the course of the last 15 years, correct?

Jake: You’re absolutely right. Let’s go back even a little further. In the approach to the mid-’90s let’s say, crime was on the upswing in this country.

Leonard: Yes.

Jake: There was massive growth in the number of facilities, the number of people in facilities and the overall incarceration, and on the juvenile side we refer to it as a commitment rate, and so those went upward quickly in that period of time. What’s happening since about the millennium is fascinating. Here’s where the 2 systems really diverge. On the both the adult and juvenile side of the ledgers, crime rates, violent crime rates have plummeted. If you look at the period 2001 to 2012, juvenile violent crime during that period fell 42%.

Leonard: Wow.

Jake: It’s massive.

Leonard: Yes.

Jake: In any other area of major policy in this country …

Leonard: Correct.

Jake: … that would be heralded as a almost unprecedented shift in public safety.

Leonard: That’s right. That’s right.

Jake: Here’s where things differ a little bit. At the same period of time, actually it’s a little different time frame because of the different data sources, but from 2001 to 2013, the juvenile commitment rate fell 53%.

Leonard: The juvenile commitment, juveniles going to institutions, we’re not calling them prisons, juveniles going to institutions decreased 53%.

Jake: That’s right.

Leonard: Where on the adult side it’s increased.

Jake: It’s essentially, yeah. The adult side’s a little more complex. It grew till about 2007, 2008, and then it started falling, but it fell much less than on the juvenile side despite the fact that crime fell almost in lock step.

Leonard: But the declines in the adult system have been minuscule.

Jake: They have been very modest, yeah.

Leonard: They’ve been very modest.

Jake: Yeah, we’re talking 1 or 2%.

Leonard: When you’re talking about a 53% reduction in juveniles being put into institutions versus the adult system where the declines have been very modest, there’s a huge difference.

Jake: Right. Let me just qualify this. I just said 1 or 2%. What it actually is that 1 or 2% per year reduction for the past 4 or 5 years in adult incarceration. That adds up to about a 10% reduction in the adult incarceration rate since 2007. It’s nothing to sneeze at, but it is not on the level of 53% we saw on the juvenile side. Here’s the way I think state policy makers in particular are framing this, because juvenile justice, even more so than the adult criminal justice system, is a state focus because there’s almost no federal presence on juvenile justice in this country in terms of the court adjudication and disposition of federal cases.

Here’s, I think, the takeaway as state policy makers look at that. What they’re saying is juvenile crime is clearly a cost. It has victims. It is bad for communities. It is harmful to families. We know that. They’re also saying juvenile commitment, the placement of kids, taking them from their families and putting them in residential facilities, whether or not those groups homes or industrial homes or boot camps or wilderness residential programs, is also a huge cost. This involves taxpayer cost. You’re separating kids from their families. What’s happened here is really fascinating. The thing that is really drawing state policy makers to it is saying we’ve achieved both a massive reduction in the cost associated with juvenile crime and a massive reduction in the costs associated with the commitment of juveniles to out-of-home residential facilities.

Leonard: And why?

Jake: Why did it happen?

Leonard: Why has that happened? Why have we been able to achieve that kind of reduction on the juvenile justice side where on the adult side it’s been a lot less than that? I mean in essence what we are saying is that we’re going to do, quote, unquote, something else with a 16-year-old. We’re going to do something else besides putting that person in some sort of institution. Where in the adult side, we basically haven’t made that decision as of yet or the reductions have been far more modest. Why did in happen in the juvenile justice system, and why hasn’t it happened in the adult system?

Jake: There’s 2 parts to this equation I think. Let me just preface all this by saying that you see different stories from state to state. It’s not necessarily 1 national story, but I’m going to characterize what we see when we look at the data across the nation. There’s 2 things that could be driving this reduction in the … let’s call it the out-of-home or incarceration population. The first is overall crime rates. If there are fewer kids, juveniles, committing crimes, it’s going to be fewer referrals to court, fewer referrals into the juvenile justice system from schools. You have fewer cases, fewer adjudications, fewer dispositions, etc. There’s a funnel that you can see almost narrowing at its widest point. On the juvenile side, that has to be part of the equation. Part of the reason that juvenile commitment has declined is because there are fewer juvenile crimes per capita.

Leonard: But we just talked about there are fewer adult crimes.

Jake: That’s right. That’s only a partial … so essentially …

Leonard: It’s happening concurrently.

Jake: That’s right. I’m trying to explain why the juvenile committed population has gone down. Part of it is the crime reduction. The other part are the policy decisions. When you look into some of these states, what you’ll see is a decrease in admissions to juvenile facilities but an increase in length of stay.

Leonard: Ah.

Jake: So policy plays a role and sometimes that policy role can actually swamp the reduction in crime. What we see in the juvenile side is definitely reduced commitments from reduced crime, some policy choices [clearly 00:11:44]. A bunch of states have been doing reforms for more than a decade and so that also has to have an effect. But we also see some policy choices that run counter to that that actually maybe mean the population didn’t decline as fast as it otherwise would have but for policy decisions made by leaders of states. Now the question is, I think a great question, why hasn’t the adult system done this? I think a couple reasons. One is that the juvenile system by its nature is time limited. You can only be a juvenile for so long and every state sets that in statute. As crime comes down, the juvenile system, in its essence, clears very quickly because you can only be in a juvenile facility for a limited number of years.

Leonard: Good point.

Jake: Whereas on the adult side, we have some sentences. Now there’s a lot of variation from state to state and across crime type, but it’s not uncommon to come across cases of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25-year sentences in the states. There nothing like that on the juvenile side. Once the crime rate starts going down, you don’t have the stacking effect of all those long sentences which we do see on the adult side of the ledger.

Leonard: Again, there’s a 53% reduction in the use of some sort of out-of-home placement as you put it. Other people would say institutionalization; other people would say prison. There’s a dramatic reduction that hasn’t happened in the adult system. Pew is looking at this from the adult system and the juvenile justice system. Between you and Adam Gelb, who has been before these microphones before, Pew has been working on this, systematically working with states, working with local jurisdictions to analyze the criminal justice systems, and to come up with alternatives and to help them implement those alternatives. I know you and Adam Gelb and the staff at Pew have sat down and say, “Gee, how come we’re able to accomplish such big changes on the juvenile justice side and modest changes on the adult side?”

Jake: Part of it I allude to. I think part of it is a length of stay discussion, but really the big umbrella over this is policy decisions.

Leonard: That’s what I thought.

Jake: It’s not a question for how did the juvenile justice system do it? On some level it’s a natural outcome of reducing crime on the juvenile side. The question is why hasn’t the adult system done it? We can certainly dive into what are the policy decisions that are driving this, but we know that there are 2 determinants of an adult prison population. It’s how many people come in the front door and how long do they stay, and both of those are determined by policy.

That policy can be statute: what’s written in the laws. It can be policy on the sense of administrative policy of a department of corrections of awarding earned time or of a parole board in deciding who to release and when. It can be a policy about probation and parole and who gets revoked for how long under what conditions. Then there’s practice of course, which is you may have great policies on the books but are people actually implementing them the way they were meant to be implemented? I think in all those cases we can point to areas on the adult criminal justice system where the intent to use incarceration in the most economical way, focus on the most chronic violent offenders, and find more cost effective approaches for the lower level offenders that better reduce recidivism have not been pursued.

Leonard: Is it fair to say that throughout the country and we’re talking about 50 states and 7 territories … is there a sense through osmosis, through some sort of unwritten contract that everybody seems or most people seemed to be saying let’s take risks on the juvenile justice side that we may not want to take on the adult side? Let’s be a bit more amiable to fundamental, systemic change on the juvenile justice side.

Jake: Going back to the reasons for why we have a separate juvenile justice system to begin with in this country, I think there’s certainly something to that. People view juveniles differently than they view adults. I think I wouldn’t go so far as to say people are more prone to second chances or leniency on the juvenile side. I think what’s motivating at the state level right now is a question of how do we get the best return on our investment in terms of public safety, in terms of recidivism?

Leonard: That’s been Pew’s motto from the very beginning: how to get the best returns on investment?

Jake: I think it’s our motto because it reflects the discussion going on at the state level.

Leonard: We’re more than halfway through the program. Jake Horowitz is the policy director for the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trust. Pew has just had an amazing history in terms of involvement in the criminal justice system. As far as I’m concerned one of the leading entities. Yes, there are a lot of them out there, but I think Pew has taken the lead over all of us who are looking at change within the criminal justice system. I didn’t write this down before the program, Jake, www.pew. …

Jake: Pewtrust.org.

Leonard: Pewtrust.org. Again, an amazing amount of data there, original research coming out of Pew taking about what’s happening both on the juvenile justice side and on the adult side. There has been less of emphasis on separation/incarceration/institutionalization on the juvenile justice side. What do you think we’ve gotten as a result of that? Are we safer? What is the state of the art in terms of juvenile justice? We’ve implemented lots of programs concurrently to try to focus on juvenile justice. Programs that the juvenile justice system has had for decades that we don’t have in the adult system interestingly enough. I find the amount of money spent on juveniles to be 5 times that in some cases than what we spend on the adult system. So we’ve done all this and focused on programs and use of alternative and that meant what? What has come from all that?

Jake: Let’s see. There’s a bunch of ways we could cut this question up. I think one way of looking at is state policy makers are looking to make investments. They make investments through policy choices and through appropriations because that determines where the youth go and what services and supervision and sanctions they receive. One of the first things that I think this reflects about states is that they’ve actually really absorbed some of the research on this front. Part of the question is people might ask, “Wait, you’re saying the commitment rate went down and crime went down. How are those 2 things reconcilable?” What the research says here is actually really quite powerful, which is that by and large lengthy out-of-home placements and residential facilities fail to produce better outcomes than noncustodial sanctions. This catches people by surprise. They think, “Wait, of course a kid is going to be deterred by an out-of-home sanction. Of course it’s going to reduce their risk of recidivism.” This is why it pays to invest in research.

There’s a study called “Pathways to Desistance.” That study is the largest longitudinal study of serious adolescent offending ever. It follows more than 1,000 kids for more than 7 years in Maricopa County, which is Phoenix, and Philadelphia County, which is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. What they found after controlling for a host of variables, in fact more than 5 dozen variables, is that putting a kid in a residential facility does not reduce the likelihood they recidivate. It further found that the length of stay doesn’t matter. Holding a kid 6 months versus 9 months versus 12 months has no affect on future recidivism. What that shows you is that we can make modifications in our use of out-of-home residential placement without affecting recidivism and public safety. It also really points to the issue of opportunity costs. We haven’t touched on this yet. Another difference between the adult system and the juvenile system is that the adult system cost about $25,000 to $30,000 per person per year for incarceration. The juvenile system, it’s more like $80,000. In several states it’s $150,000 to $200,000 per youth per year.

Leonard: Big difference because the focus there is on programmatic activity.

Jake: Programmatic and staffing levels are low so it’s a higher ratio of … Sorry, I don’t mean staffing level are low. The ratio of youth to staff is lower, and there are a bunch of other costs. The facilities tend to be smaller, a bunch of more specific reasons. The point is there’s huge opportunity costs with residential placement, so the more money we’re spending on these facilities, that’s less money we’re spending for the things you were alluding to earlier which are the things that actually reduce recidivism.

You can turn to resources like the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative or the Washington State Institute for Public Policy and take a look at their rating of programs based on does it reduce recidivism and what’s the benefit to cost to ratio on these programs? You can point to programs from functional family therapy to multi-systemic therapy, a lot of cognitive behavioral type interventions and say, “These work, they’re cost beneficial, they reduce recidivism, and we shouldn’t be putting our money in some of the programs that don’t work.”

Leonard: Summarize that for me. I understand that Scared Straight programs do not work. I understand that boot camp programs do not work. But again, you’re saying for the noncriminal justice people out there, cognitive behavioral therapy. Can you summarize it in a laymanesque way as to what does work on the juvenile justice side?

Jake: I mean eventually it begins with focus your resources where they’ll matter so pay attention to risk and needs. What this means is we need to understand whether or not a juvenile before us presents a high risk of recidivism or a low risk, and we need to focus our resources on the high risk.

Leonard: Assess the risk, and once you figure out the person is high risk or medium risk, what do you do with that person that’s effective?

Jake: What basically cognitive behavioral therapy tends to focus on is asking the youth in what conditions are they triggered to do the kind of delinquent or criminal behaviors that have gotten them in trouble in the first place.

Leonard: Decision-making?

Jake: Decision-making, perception of risk, overall social and emotional development, understanding the different peer groups that they get in trouble with and don’t get in trouble with.

Leonard: Is that the heart and [hull 00:21:21] of it? Or is there a drug treatment component? Is there a mental health component?

Jake: Drug treatment, mental health, employment, education are a big part of all this, family strength and things like that. But the highest risk factors are usually antisocial thinking, antisocial behaviors. It’s not necessarily whether or not the kid’s in school. Oftentimes when that kid’s in school is triggered by whether or not they have antisocial or negative peer groups, and that’s what leads to that, so you want to address some of the underlying reasons that they’re getting in trouble.

Leonard: We’ve able to show that if you don’t have to necessarily rely upon incarceration, removal, whatever we’re going to call it and if you focus on programs, you can lower the rate of recidivism.

Jake: That’s right. Another …

Leonard: By how much?

Jake: You take a look at these programs and you tend to see recidivism reductions on the order of 10 to 30%.

Leonard: So it’s not much different from the adult system where it’s basically 10 to 20%.

Jake: Not massively different. The one big difference is that a lot of youth desist on their own. If you’ve ever looking at these age crime curves that show how many arrests does a typical person pick up every year of their life? That peaks at around 18 or 19 years old. A lot of people, if you don’t do anything with them, even if they’re getting in some trouble as a 16 or 17-year-old, will desist on their own. You don’t have need an intervention.

Leonard: I’m told …

Jake: That’s different from the 30 or 40 year olds.

Leonard: I wasn’t going to go here, but I’m told years ago that the average person who comes into contact with the criminal justice system does not remain in the criminal justice system, that we never hear from then again. In other words 14 year olds, 15 year olds can do something incredibly stupid or illegal and harmful, but the odds are they may not come into contact or will not come into contact with the criminal justice system ever again. Is that true?

Jake: Yeah, it’s absolutely the case. I think we see the folks who are released from prison and it’s their first time going to prison have a much lower recidivism rate than the people who’ve been there before. Ditto on the juvenile justice system. There’s always a first interaction for someone who’s in the system. Oftentimes those folks have much lower risk of recidivating.

Leonard: The fundamental issue here is sort of similar to the adult system, be careful as to how much you intervene because you may end up doing more harm than good.

Jake: I’m so glad you raised that. The same study that I mentioned earlier, “Pathways to Desistance,” found that for the lowest risk youth who are removed from their homes and put in these facilities, the intervention, the placement in an institution actually increased their risk of recidivism. Same from a study of the RECLAIM Initiative in Ohio that found that for low and moderate risk youth who are placed out of home actually increased the risk of recidivism versus a noncustodial sanction. One of the most humbling findings from a lot of this research is that we should be really careful about intervening in the lives of youth lest we do harm.

Leonard: There’s no national stats on recidivism as there is in the adult system. There are no national statistics on the juvenile justice side as to how often they recidivate, how often they come back to criminal justice system.

Jake: That’s right. The data sets on the juvenile side tend to be more fractured, and so we don’t have a national figure. Working at the state level, we’ve seen figures anywhere from 50 to 75% of youth are either readjudicated or reincarcerated within 3 years at least.

Leonard: That’s a very high number.

Jake: Really a high number. It’s stubbornly high. Folks are asking, “Wait, we’re spending $100,000 to $200,000 per kid per year and we’re getting a 50 to 75% recidivism rate. There’s got to be a better alternative.”

Leonard: But you go into the opposite side of that argument and people are saying, “Well, if you’re spending that much money …” Again, it’s not like I know a lot about the juvenile justice system, but I know that the juvenile justice spends far more on their system than we do on the adult side. I wish it wasn’t that way but it is. If we’re getting that sort of return, then isn’t there an inevitable frustration and a questioning as to the programmatic initiatives? If we’re spending that amount of money and our recidivism rate is that high, somewhat comparable to the stats on the adult side, people are going to sit there and go, “Well, why spend that much money?”

Jake: Right. The way to find dollars if you want to spend them in a different way is through reducing the use of out-of-home placement. Again you could spend $80,000 per bed per year, or you could move that into a continuum of supervision services and sanctions at the community level which research shows will reduce recidivism. One of the tricks here and one of the questions is if we know the research says to do this, why aren’t we more naturally moving in that direction? There’s plenty of evidence that we have moved in that direction. Those were the national trends we began with. There’s inefficiencies baked into the system in the way that jurisdictions are aligned and funded, and you see this on the adult side, but juveniles are adjudicated and disposed of at the county level generally through county level judges and prosecution and defense but the state pays the tab for …

Leonard: The decision [crosstalk 00:26:14].

Jake: … the equivalent of juvenile incarceration. There’s a perversity in this. It’s not just that from the local or county perspective that out-of-home placement is subsidized by the state. It’s more that if I want to keep a kid locally, if I want to provide true supervision, real services in my community particularly if I’m a rural area or a non-urban area of the state, the money doesn’t follow the kid. “I don’t think this kid belongs in one of those facilities, but I’d like to keep them locally,” but there’s nothing locally. If I keep him locally, no money’s going to follow. That’s a bad incentive. In fact when you talk to the stakeholders in the system, whether or not they’d be judges or prosecuting attorneys, 1 thing you hear consistently is, “I’m not sure this kid needed to be removed from home and put in a facility, but there was not a viable alternative where I live.” What they’re saying is it’s either slap on the wrist, nothing deferred adjudication or deferred prosecution, or I send them to a state facility. There’s nothing in between.

Leonard: I want to begin to close out the program because we’re running out of time. Pew, the Public Safety Performance Project, Adam Gelb at the adult level, you at the juvenile justice level, in essence you’re going in, working with states, working with counties, analyzing data, it’s a data driven process, talking to stakeholders, figuring out what that jurisdiction wants to do and help them implement those things. Certainly Pew has been a dramatic part of the sense of doing something else with people on the adult side and juvenile justice side in terms of something else besides incarceration. That’s the bottom line.

Jake: Yeah. States want this. This is the most important part. I mean there’s a view that this is a advocate-driven initiative or that reform in general is something … There’s certainly a case … I mean that has happened. There are folks who want this, who are pushing for elected officials to move in this direction. I think what’s just as remarkable and even more remarkable is that state leaders and federal leaders we now see up on Capitol Hill and in the administration want to move these reforms forward.

What see happening at the state level, to play out an example here, is that a governor, a chief justice, a Speaker or Senate president of the state legislature will say, “I’m looking for an issue that I believe in. Here’s an issue many of my constituents are bringing to me. I may have come out of the system myself” in the sense that many of these elected officials previously worked in the criminal justice system as prosecutors or as judges, volunteered their own time, mentored a youth. The governor of Georgia is a former judge and a family of folks have come out of the criminal justice system working professionally …

Leonard: But they’re all asking themselves, “Why are we spending all this money and not getting the results? We need to get better results.” That’s where they bring in Pew and allied organizations.

Jake: They’re asking that question and they’re forming a bipartisan inter-branch work group to tackle these issues. They ask for our assistance to help run the numbers and analyze the system. They bring in leaders from other states and researchers to tell them about what works and what innovative programs are available. Then they forge consensus. This is the impressive part. All these folks are on the table representing different stakeholder groups saying, “We can agree on a package of reforms that we prefer over the status quo, and we’re going to advocate for it in legislation, court rule and agency policy.” The last thing I’d say here, too, is the public support. We’ve done public opinion polling on this, and across the board, [Rs, Ds 00:29:28], independents, crime victims, law enforcement families say it’s not how long a kid spends out of home or even if there’s sent out of home, it’s whether or not we’re able to reduce recidivism.

Leonard: It’s been a fascinating conversation. 30 minutes goes by way too fast. Jake Horowitz is the policy director for the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trust. Ladies and gentlemen, this is DC Public Safety. We appreciate your comments. We even appreciate your criticisms. We want everybody to have themselves a very, very pleasant day.

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