Juvenile Justice Coalition

Speaking Out with Ohio's Youth

Author: efc

Ohioans concerned about mistreatment of children in ODYS institutions

On October 12, 2004, the Juvenile Justice Coalition, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Ohio, organized a meeting of representatives from Ohio organizations concerned about children and juvenile justice issues. The catalyst for the meeting was the allegations of abuse in Ohio’s juvenile correctional facilities, brought to light by newspaper investigations and a report prepared by Fred Cohen for the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS).

Summary of problems:

  • Scioto Correctional Facility issues identified in the Cohen report – “Our site visits convinced each team member that there has been and remains a culture of violence among the uniformed staff, that verbal and physical abuse are common, that sexual misconduct by staff occurs, only crisis-type mental health care is available, and structured programming consistent with clearly stated and shared objectives is virtually non-existent.”
  • A Federal lawsuit filed in July 2004 by the Children’s Law Center claims that ODYS routinely denies juveniles access to legal help. According to the lawsuit, the Department of Youth Services did not adequately respond to the allegations of abuse, then failed to provide legal assistance despite repeated requests for help.
  • Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility (for sexual offenders) – a Columbus Dispatch investigation identified a significant amount of sexual activity among residents and a lack of appropriate treatment/ supervision of residents.

We are very concerned about the problems addressed in the Cohen report related to the safety and appropriate treatment of residents at Scioto Correctional Facility. Furthermore, we have serious concerns about the safety of residents and inadequate programming and treatment at all ODYS facilities. No one is charged with oversight of ODYS facilities. Within the current environment, we question the ability of ODYS to provide adequate care for youngsters in their care. There should be zero tolerance for abuse of residents or the denial of their civil and legal rights.

We hold the Ohio Executive and Legislative branches responsible for the care, protection, and mental and physical development of children in ODYS facilities (Ohio Revised Code Section 2152.01). We would like to meet with you to discuss these issues.

H.R. 2215: Congressional Reauthorization of The JJDP Act of 1974 (finally) and the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JAIBG)

On October 3, 2002, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 was reauthorized by Congress, ending a six year long battle over the legislation. HR 2215 also reauthorized JAIBG. It is expected to be signed by the President.

The purposes of the JJDP Act are:

  • to support state and local programs that prevent juvenile involvement in delinquent behavior;
  • to assist state and local governments in promoting public safety by encouraging accountability for acts of juvenile delinquency; and
  • to assist state and local governments in addressing juvenile crime through the provision of technical assistance, research, training, evaluation and the dissemination of information on effective programs for combating juvenile delinquency.


The JJDP reauthorization essentially maintains the core mandates of the Act. They are:

  • Deinstitutionalization of status offenders. Retains current prohibition on detaining status offenders in secure facilities;
  • Separation of adults and juveniles in institutions;
  • Removal of juveniles from jails, lockups, and other adult facilities; and
  • DMC. Requires states to address prevention and systemic efforts to reduce the disproportionate representation of minorities that come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

However, there are some provisions that provide exceptions to the core requirements. For example, runaways can be held longer in secure confinement to provide for family reunification purposes as specified in the Interstate Compact on Juveniles; and juveniles in rural areas can be held 48 hours (instead of the present 24 hours) in a adult facility.

The compliance requirements have been changed to provide that a state that fails to comply with a core requirement will be penalized by 20% of the state’s formula grant allotment and must use 50% of the remaining funds to come back into compliance. Current law ties 100% of a state’s formula grant to compliance and if the state fails to comply with any requirement 25% of the allocation is forfeited and the remaining funds must be used to reach compliance with the core requirements.


In addition, the legislation provides for the continuation of formula grant funds (Title II) to the states; provides that child welfare records must be shared with the Court; and juveniles brought into the system for the violation of a valid court order must be interviewed and assessed by a public child serving agency within 48 hours of intake. Several new focus areas for funding are included:

  • Programs to provide mental health services to juveniles;
  • Programs that provide post placement services to juveniles;
  • Programs that provide mentoring, counseling and training opportunities for juveniles; and
  • Programs to expand the use of probation to allow nonviolent offenders to remain in the community.

It maintains previous focus areas, including hate crime prevention programs, programs to provide counsel to juveniles and programs to provide services to females in the juvenile justice system.


The legislation retains Title V, incentive grants (matching funds) for local delinquency prevention programs.

The administrator may make grants to the state to local units of government for delinquency prevention programs and activities for juveniles who have had contact with the juvenile justice system, including the provision of services to children and their families of:

  • alcohol and substance prevention services
  • tutoring and remedial education
  • child and adolescent health and mental health services
  • leadership and youth development activities
  • the teaching that people are and should be held accountable for their actions
  • assistance in the development of job training skills


The legislation consolidates five program authorities to create a Delinquency Prevention Block grant that funds activities designed to prevent and reduce juvenile crime in communities which have a comprehensive juvenile crime prevention plan, including projects that provide treatment to juvenile offenders and juveniles who are at risk of becoming juvenile offenders. Activities may include (partial list):

  • Mentoring Family strengthening programs
  • Drug & alcohol abuse treatment programs Gang prevention programs
  • Job Training and Employment Recreation programs
  • Youth development programs Probation programs

Eligible recipients include community-based organizations, law enforcement agencies, local education authorities, local governments, social service providers and other entities with a demonstrated history of involvement in juvenile delinquency prevention.


The authorization is “such sums” for fiscal years 2003 through 2007.

In addition to the JJDP reauthorization, Congress also reauthorized the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JAIBG). The program was initially created in the FY98 Commerce Justice State Appropriations bill to provide states and units of local government with funds to develop programs to promote greater accountability in the juvenile justice system. Program purpose areas are expanded significantly to provide additional services and treatment for troubled youth, including:

  • implementing graduated sanctions programs that include counseling, restitution, community service, and supervised probation
  • establishing or expanding substance abuse programs
  • promoting mental health screening and treatment.
  • building, expanding, renovating or operating temporary or permanent juvenile detention, correction, or community corrections facilities;
  • hiring judges, probation officers and court appointed defenders and special advocates
  • establishing gun courts
  • establishing drug courts
  • establishing and maintaining programs to enable juvenile courts and juvenile probation officers to be more effective and efficient in holding juvenile offenders accountable and reducing recidivism.

(There are 16 activities provided in the reauthorization. The above are just a sample.)


$350 million for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2005

Please check the web-site regularly. Additional information on the reauthorization will be provided in the next month.

The above information was provided in an e-mail from Marc Schindler, Youth Law Center and from the Congressional Conference Report.

Submitted by Donna Hamparian, President, Juvenile Justice Coalition

Summary of H.B. 400 – Juvenile Delinquent Confinement

This bill sponsored by Representative Keith Faber does two things: 1. It specifically permits the confinement of adjudicated delinquent children in juvenile detention facility and 2. Permits the confinement of a person under disposition imposed for a delinquent child or juvenile traffic offender disposition, after the person attains 18 years of age, in a facility other than one for juveniles. The bill was introduced on October 11, 2001 and assigned to the Criminal Justice Committee.

If a child is adjudicated delinquent or a juvenile traffic offender, at any time after the person attains 18 years of age, the places at which the person may be held under that disposition are not limited to places authorized under this chapter solely for the confinement of children and the person may be confined under that disposition in places other than those authorized under this chapter solely for the confinement of children, including but not limited to, a county, multicounty, or municipal jail or workhouse, or other place where an adult convicted of crime, under arrest or charged with crime is held. The child shall be confined in a manner that keeps the child beyond the range of touch of all adult detainees. The child shall be supervised at all times during the detention.

It also allows the commitment of a child to the legal custody of a detention facility or district detention facility for up to 90 days.

Summarized by Donna Hamparian, President, Juvenile Justice Coalition, February 2002

Summary of Am. Sub. H.B. 393 – Juvenile Law Revised

The above bill sponsored by Representative Robert Latta and 15 other Representatives passed the House on January 9, 2002, and is awaiting action in the Senate. One of the main purposes of the legislature seems to be to “clean up” H.B. 179, the juvenile sentencing bill, which passed last session.

Some of the primary provisions include:

The bill specifies that parents, guardians or other custodians of the child may inspect any court records maintained on the child and the child’s case. However, it does not require the release or authorize the inspection of arrest or incident reports, law enforcement investigatory reports or records or witness statements.

It makes specific that community control sanctions include community service as a disposition for an unruly child and community service shall not exceed one hundred seventy five hours.

This bill seems to restore some of the release from institutional care (ODYS) and discharge from supervision to the Court.

It provides that the child can waive the right to an indictment as a serious youthful offender, instead charging the child in a bill of information.

Added to the procedures for the Director of ODYS to request the prosecuting attorney to file a motion with the juvenile court to invoke the adult portion of the dispositional sentence is:

The motion shall state that there is reasonable cause to believe that either of the following occurred and shall state that at least one incident of misconduct of that nature occurred after the person reached fourteen years of age.

Another provision was added: the court may modify the adult sentence the court invokes to consist of any lesser prison term that could be imposed for the offense and in addition to the prison term or in lieu of the prison term if the prison term was not mandatory, any community control sanction that the offender was eligible to receive at sentencing.

In the following provision, if the child is adjudicated a delinquent child for committing an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the juvenile court may commit the child to the legal custody of ODYS for secure confinement, the following was added: a commitment under this section is subject to a supervised release or to a discharge of the child from the custody of the department for medical reasons…., but during the minimum period specified by the court, the department shall obtain court approval of a supervised release or discharge.

In addition, in each case in which a court makes a disposition (under the commitment procedure) the court shall retain control over the commitment for the entire period of the commitment.

Also added, the court that commits the delinquent child may grant judicial release of the child to court supervision…, during the first half of the prescribed minimum term for which the child was committed to the department, or if the child was committed …until the child attains 21 years of age, during the first half of the prescribed period of commitment that begins on the first day of commitment and ends on the child’s 21st birthday. And, the court may grant judicial release of the child during the second half of the prescribed minimum term for which the child was committed—or if the child was committed until 21 years of age, during the second half of the prescribed period of commitment that begins on the first day of commitment and ends on the child’s 21st birthday.

The bill clarifies that a delinquent child adjudicated a delinquent for committing a sexually oriented offense includes a child who receives a serious youthful offender dispositional sentence for committing a sexually oriented offense.

Summarized by Donna Hamparian, President, Juvenile Justice Coalition, February 2002.

SB-3 Juvenile Sex Offenders – Inventory to Assess Sex Offenders

NCJ Number: 191197
Title: Computerization and Validation of an Inventory to Assess Adult and Juvenile
Sex Offenders, Final Report
Author: Raymond A. Knight

Corporate Author: Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02154

Sponsor: National Institute of Justice US Dept of Justice
810 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20531

Sale: Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02154

Paper Reproduction Sales National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000 Department F
Rockville, MD 20849

Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 300
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Grant Number: 94-IJ-CX-0049

Annotation: This report focuses on the reliability and validity of an instrument for assessing sex offenders.

Abstract: The Multidimensional Assessment of Sex and Aggression (MASA) was initially created to supplement the often poorly represented information in the archival records of sex offenders and to provide sufficient data to classify adult sex offenders. The MASA’s construction involved the specification of multiple domains that research had revealed to be important in the assessment of sexual aggression. Its development also involved the creation of an extensive item pool covering all these domains, the rating by experienced clinicians of the appropriateness of items for each domain, the selection of the most suitable items for each domain, the rewriting of the chosen items to give them maximum relevance, and further steps through testing and re-testing. The MASA has now undergone four revisions to expand the breadth of its assessment, simplify its language to make it appropriate for juveniles, and computerize its administration. Recent reliability and validity analyses of the MASA used a wide variety of samples. These samples included college students, community noncriminals, criminals not convicted of sex offenses, and adult and juvenile sex offenders. Results revealed that the continued reliability and cross-sample stability of factor structures and the intercorrelations across the scales suggested that this inventory had promise as a useful assessment for sex offenders. Findings suggested that the MASA could be developed into a useful clinical assessment tool, especially for identifying treatment needs and for offender classification. Such a development would be the first step to addressing a significant gap in the assessment of sexual aggression. Figures, tables, appended instrument and background information, and 81 references (Author abstract modified)

Thesaurus Term: Criminology ; Computer aided operations ; Testing and measurement ; Offender classification ; Sex offenders ; Psychological evaluation ; Recidivism prediction ; Sex offender profiles ; Instrument validation ; NIJ final report

Implementation of SB 3 – research related to sex offenders

SB 3, the juvenile sex offender registration bill, was effective January 1, 2002. There are several sources of information and research to help Ohioans understand the impact of this bill. Listed below are links to websites and research documents.

The Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM). Documents listed are on the CSOM website.

CSOM Publications – Community Notification and Education – April 2001 – information about what states are doing on community notification.

Recidivism of Sex Offenders, May 2001

Understanding Juvenile Sexual Offending Behavior: Emerging Research, Treatment Approaches and Management Practices, December 1999

An Overview of Sex Offender Community Notification Practices: Policy Implications and Promising Approaches, November 1997

Sex Offender Registration: Policy Overview and Comprehensive Practices, October 1999

Myths and Facts About Sex Offenders, August 2000

Juvenile Sex Offender Protocol Manual, Robert Prentky, Ph.D. and Sue Righthand, Ph.D. This is a checklist to be used in the review of risk factors associated with sex offending behavior. It is designed to be used with boys, ages 12 – 18, to assess the risk of sexual reoffending for nonadjudicated youth with a history of sexually coercive behavior and those who have been adjudicated for sexual offenses.

The following document provides a useful study of recidivism, following implementation of the Washington state’s community notification law.

Schram, D. and Milloy, C. (1995). Community notification: A study of offender characteristics and recidivism. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

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