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Keep the Numbers Low

Keep The Numbers Low: Reducing Youth Confinement in the Wake of COVID-19: Straight Talk About Youth Incarceration

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, juvenile justice administrators had to quickly pivot to practices that mitigated the spread of COVID-19 while serving youth as best as possible. In this episode, our host has a conversation with Michael Dempsey from the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA) and Brett Peterson from the Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services about leading during this crisis and how they have worked to decrease the use of youth confinement.

For a tool that youth confinement decisionmakers can use to keep youth confinement numbers low, download the Checklist for Juvenile Confinement Decisions During and After COVID-19.

Guest Bios:

Michael Dempsey is the Executive Director of the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA). Prior to joining CJJA, Michael served as Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Corrections, Division of Youth Services (DYS) from 2009 to 2015.   He began his work with the Indiana Department of Corrections as Superintendent of the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in June 2006. Prior to moving to Indiana, he served as the Superintendent of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex for approximately two and a half years. Mike has held positions as a Correctional Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Major. He has also held positions as Correctional Training Officer, Internal Affairs Investigator, Assistant Superintendent and Associate Superintendent.

Brett Peterson is the Director of Juvenile Justice Services. He is responsible for the operation and management of the continuum of care including early intervention, shelter, detention and long- term secure settings. As Director, Brett is committed to reducing the need for out-of-home placements, correlating the services provided with the leading research related to adolescent brain development and ongoing implementation of significant juvenile justice reforms.

Resources: Resolution Regarding Standards for the Secure Care of Youth, Judicial Leadership For Community-Based Alternatives To Juvenile Secure Confinement, The Role Of The Judge In Transforming Juvenile Probation: A Toolkit for Leadership, The Impact of COVID-19 on Juvenile Justice Systems: Practice Changes, Lessons Learned, and Future Considerations

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