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The October–November Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) topic is economic issues. In addition to the newsletters, we have provided a Webinar and podcast as supplemental resources on this topic, which are available to the National Forum, Community Based Violence Prevention, and Defending Childhood Initiative sites.

Banning the Box Once and for All

BIDs Make for Better Communities

•  Funding Opportunities
•  Training Opportunities

News and Views
•  Reports, Guidelines, and Briefs
•  News
•  Other Resources
by Alexis Maciel

On Oct. 2, 2015, President Obama announced a new executive order, "ban the box," which seeks to protect federal job applicants from bias based on a criminal record. The "box" refers to the section of an application that requires an individual to disclose his or her criminal history, and it has long limited opportunities for ex-offenders to gain meaningful employment. Banning the box means people with a conviction record will get their fair shot at securing a job, restoring their independence, reducing their chances of recidivism, and contributing to the economy. It is one of the most hopeful paths to post-prison reintegration.

Results from a recent National Institute of Justice survey suggest that between 60 percent and 75 percent of formerly incarcerated people are jobless up to a year after their release. Many qualified workers are denied employment, and ex-offenders are returning to their old habits. President Obama noted that minorities make up a large portion of the nation's prison population. According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, African Americans were admitted to prison at a rate almost "six times higher" than the rate among whites, and Hispanics were admitted at "two times" the rate among whites (Hartney 2009). Added to the bias posed by disclosing one's criminal history, Latinos and African Americans are more likely to experience discrimination in the workforce, leaving businesses wanting for diversity and disenfranchised communities where employment is frightening low.

Some have questioned ban the box's connection to reduced crime rates and positive community outcomes, arguing that violence and crime stem from the individual, not the situation in which he or she is placed (D'alessio 2015). But the President believes this initiative will produce a "virtuous cycle" of national benefits. Not only will people with past convictions have an opportunity to thrive, but their families and communities will also experience economic and social improvements.



Funding Opportunities

Statewide Family Network Program
The Statewide Family Network Program builds on the work of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Mental Health Services. This program will enhance state capacity and infrastructure to better respond to children and teens who have mental health challenges. It encourages family involvement by providing information, referrals, and support to families and connecting them to state and local mental health services planning and policy development. Applications are due Jan. 21, 2016.


Training Opportunities

Protecting Children of Arrested Parents
Parental arrest can have long-lasting traumatic effects on a child. Shock, confusion, and fear are just a few emotions that arise when a child's parent is taken into custody. A new video developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Bureau of Justice Assistance trains law enforcement agencies on safeguarding children of arrested parents. The video outlines strategies to help police implement a trauma-informed approach for protecting children before, during, and after a parent's arrest.


by Annie Lyles and Ali Goodyear


With the implementation of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), U.S. cities are experiencing less crime and notable economic benefits. A 2010 analysis in Injury Prevention of 30 BIDs in Los Angeles, Calif., found a 12 percent decline in robberies and an 8 percent decline in violent crime, as well as substantial economic development. The savings attributed to the decline in robberies alone offset implementation costs of these districts, making BIDs a sustainable prevention strategy.

BIDs are public–private partnerships created by neighborhood property owners and merchants to invest in local services, activities, and improvements, with the goal of enhancing a city's appeal, use, and safety. In Los Angeles, the BID provided security officers and public ambassadors and helped beautify certain areas. Local BIDs can invest in various strategies, such as street cleaning, security, community events, and green spaces.




How Juvenile Justice System Failures Affect Girls
Girls are becoming increasingly more involved in the juvenile justice system at all stages of the process. Over the past two decades, researchers found arrests among girls have increased by 45 percent, despite overall declining juvenile arrest rates. Court caseloads for girls have increased 40 percent, as has the number of girls in detention. This report makes nine reform recommendations, including decriminalizing trauma-linked behavior, engaging families, addressing unnecessary detention, using trauma-informed approaches, and adopting a strengths-based, objective approach to probation services.


Are 'Smart Guns' the Answer to Youth Violence?
Getting hold of a gun poses a minimal challenge for most youth, but firing that weapon may soon be more difficult. So-called "smart guns" only work when the user is wearing a wireless wristband that broadcasts a specific frequency. Scientists say this technology is the key to reducing suicides among youth and violent deaths in general. Firearms account for 4,500 suicides (46 percent) among youth. A Washington CeaseFire survey of 508 parents nationwide found 72 percent of gun owners were open to the idea of smart guns, and a majority would be willing to pay a 50 percent premium for them.

Other Resources

WHO WHO Manual Addresses Youth Violence as Public Health Issue
Homicide is the fourth leading cause of death among youths 10 to 29, with an estimated 200,000 cases reported each year. For each young person killed, many more sustain serious injuries. Countless others develop mental health issues and engage in risky behaviors, like smoking and drinking, as a result.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a new manual, Preventing Youth Violence: An Overview of the Evidence, which details effective practices and interventions for areas where resources are limited.

The manual presents an evidence-based framework that explains why some young people are more likely to become involved in violence and why youth violence is more concentrated in particular communities and populations. It addresses how youth violence is influenced by personal traits, family and peer relationships, and the community. Twenty-one youth violence prevention strategies address early childhood development, academic growth, social skills, parenting, substance use, problem-oriented policing, and urban upgrading. There are risk and protective factors for youth violence, a review of evidence on what works in violence prevention, and steps policy makers can take to scale up antiviolence efforts.


Economic Issues in Youth Violence Prevention
35 mins by Development Services Group, Inc.
Contact Us
Send questions or feedback about the newsletter to or Bass Zanjani, project director, at 301-951-0056.

Looking for a particular article? You can read past issues of the newsletter 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. 2012–MU–FX–K009 with Development Services Group, Inc.

The views, opinions, and content of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of OJJDP.