The Evidence-to-Impact Podcast
Episode 17: Digging Deeper into the Juvenile Justice System
April 10, 2022
We're back for our third season! Kicking off the 2022 season, we explore the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania.
We spoke to Megan Kurlychek, Professor of Sociology, Criminology and Public Policy and Associate Director of the Criminal Justice Research Center at Penn State, and Rick Steele, Executive Director of the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission at the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, about their work in the juvenile justice field, the history of the juvenile justice system, prevention programs, the issue of recidivism, and more.
Episode Resources and Notes
- Megan mentions that she began her career working at the National Center for Juvenile Justice, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Both Rick and Megan discuss the concept of parens patriae. According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law, parens patriae is Latin for "parent of the people." Under parens patriae, a state or court has a paternal and protective role over its citizens or others subject to its jurisdiction.
- Megan discusses the court case, In re Gault, as one of the landmark Supreme Court cases that changed how juvenile justice was approached back in the 1960s.
- Rick refers to the MAYSI-2, the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument – Second Version, when mentioning how behavioral health and substance use issues are assessed among justice-involved youth.
- Additionally, Rick discusses how the Pennsylvania Commonwealth has incorporated the University of Cincinnati's EPICS, Effective Practices in Community Supervision, into their probation model.
- Rick mentions using a standardized program evaluation protocol based on the work by Mark Lipsey, Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.
- Megan mentions a prevention program that partners nurses with young mothers called the Nurse-Family Partnership.
- The School-to-Prison Pipeline is something that both Megan and Rick discuss as it relates to prevention research and programming.
- Megan talks about risk need assessments for assessing justice-involved youth. More information is available here.
- Rick discusses the Models for Change program, which helped to advance reforms to make juvenile justice systems more fair, effective, rational, and developmentally appropriate. He also mentions the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, which is nationally renowned.
- JCJC's reports are available online for anyone interested in reading more about their work.
- Rick talks about working with other researchers in the field such as Gina Vincent, Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Keith Cruise from Fordham University, and Edward Mulvey, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine.
- Megan mentions her book, The Cycle of Juvenile Justice, which she co-wrote with Tom Bernard, Ph.D. back in 2010.
The transcript for the episode is available here.