1 to raise new ideas and improve policy debates through quality information and analysis on issues shaping New Hampshire s future. One Eagle Square Suite 510 Concord, NH (603) Fax: (603) Board of Directors Martin L. Gross, Chair John B. Andrews Cotton M. Cleveland John D. Crosier Todd I. Selig Donna Sytek Georgie A. Thomas James E. Tibbetts Kimon S. Zachos Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire Author: Katherine Merrow Senior Research Associate Co-Executive Directors Douglas E. Hall (603) Richard A. Minard, Jr. (603) December 2004
2 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in NH By Katherine Merrow Senior Research Associate Contents 1. Executive Summary Rate of Teen Drug Use Is High and Increasing NH Juvenile Drug-Crime Rate Is Higher than Average YDC Commitment Rates Vary by Race and Jurisdiction Need for Treatment in the Juvenile System Unknown Drug Courts Are Keeping Young Offenders in Treatment Next Steps Tables Table 1: Prevalence of teen alcohol and drug use, nationally and in New Hampshire... 4 Table 2: Delinquency charges filed in NH district and family courts, 1996 to Table 3: Juvenile arrests, charges, detentions, and commitments during Table 4: Relative rates of youths arrest, detention, and commitment by race and ethnicity... 9 Figures Figure 1: Delinquency charges decreased even as drug charges increased by 60 percent... 7 Figure 2: Most alcohol charges are against 17- to 20-year olds... 8 Figure 3: YDC commitments and delinquency charges by court, Figure 4: Youth treatment admissions decreased from 1998 to 2003, and increased in Figure 5: Youths are waiting longer for treatment Acknowledgments The Administrative Office of the Courts, the Division for Juvenile Justice Services, and the former Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Recovery provided most of the data in this report. The Center is indebted to state data managers Gary Fowler, William McGonagle and Alan West for their assistance in providing data and analysis for this report and for the Center s evaluation of the Reclaiming Futures Initiative. The Center appreciates the many court and state agency personnel who took the time to provide information, review drafts, or contribute to this analysis. Support for this paper was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey.
3 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 1. Executive Summary Two recent surveys indicate that New Hampshire teens use drugs at rates significantly higher than their national counterparts. One survey placed New Hampshire among the top 10 states in the nation in terms of the proportion of its teen population abusing either alcohol or drugs. The same survey placed New Hampshire in the top 10 for the proportion of teens needing but not receiving treatment for drug abuse. Both surveys indicate that rate of marijuana use among New Hampshire teens is one of the highest in the country. This paper examines these findings in light of data the Center has assembled on drug and alcohol charges filed against juveniles in New Hampshire and state records of publicly subsidized treatment for teens. The paper puts these data into the broader context of juvenile crime and the use of detention and diversion programs in New Hampshire. The Center concludes that the results of the national surveys are consistent with other data on juveniles in the state, and point to a relatively high rate of drug use among the state s teenagers and a low rate of drug treatment. While the exact size of the problem is difficult to measure, the results of one of the surveys conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2002 provide a credible estimate of the magnitude of the problem. SAMHSA estimates that 12 percent of New Hampshire s teens, 13,600 young people, have a serious problem with alcohol or drugs or both. The second federal survey the U.S. Centers for Disease Control s Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that significantly more New Hampshire teens were using marijuana than their counterparts across the country. Nationwide, 22 percent of respondents said that they had used marijuana in the past month; in New Hampshire, the corresponding figure was 31 percent the highest reported rate of any state participating in the survey. New Hampshire s court statistics affirm the seriousness of the state s juvenile drug problem. Although rates of juvenile crime in most categories are low and falling in New Hampshire, the arrest rate of juveniles for drug crimes is the ninth highest in the country and rising. Drug charges against New Hampshire s juveniles rose by 18 percent between 2000 and One of New Hampshire s attempts to deal with the problem has been the creation of five juvenile drug courts. This paper concludes that the four drug courts presently in full operation have succeeded in at least one respect: they are getting juveniles into treatment and keeping them there for sustained periods. It remains too early to measure the full impact of the drug courts or their relative cost-effectiveness. Juvenile-justice data raise several other questions that the Center cannot yet answer: Why do commitment rates to the Youth Development Center, the state s secure facility for juveniles, vary across court jurisdictions? Why are black and Hispanic teens who are arrested much more likely to be sent to the state s secure detention facility than white teens?
4 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 2 Why did the number of uninsured youths receiving state-subsidized alcohol or drug treatment drop after 1998, even as the number with private insurance or Medicaid remained relatively constant? Definitions and Introduction to the Juvenile Justice Process For the purposes of this report, a juvenile is a person aged 10 to 16. The legal age of adulthood in New Hampshire is 17. Some data sets used in this report include 17-year-olds; those instances are noted in the text. The juvenile justice system functions separately from the adult system. When a juvenile is charged with a crime, he or she is tried privately before a judge in a district or family court. (Juvenile drug courts, in contrast, work with young offenders in a group setting.) If the youth is convicted, the judge has a range of options, from ordering community service or a fine, to committing the youth to the state s secure juvenile institution, the Youth Development Center in Manchester. While awaiting trial, a youth may be detained at the Youth Detention Services Unit, a separate secure facility. These facilities are the only two secure juvenile facilities in the state. Judges may not send a juvenile to a county jail or state prison, except for the rare cases where a juvenile is tried as an adult. When a youth turns 17, the district or family court no longer has jurisdiction, and the case is closed. In certain circumstances, the court may retain jurisdiction over an individual past the age of adulthood; the Division for Juvenile Justice Services reports that many judges take advantage of this option. 1 A youth convicted of an offense is called a delinquent. If the offense would not have been a crime for an adult such as running away, or skipping school the court considers the youth a Child in Need of Services, or CHINS. Both CHINS and delinquents are supervised by courts and the Division for Juvenile Justice Services. This analysis focuses mostly on delinquents. In this report the Center analyzes statewide data on charges filed against juveniles. There are often several charges associated with a single crime incident or arrest. For example, if a youth is arrested for vandalism and found to have drugs in his or her possession, the police might file two charges against that youth: one for vandalism and one for possession. 2. Rate of Teen Drug Use Is High and Increasing Two federal surveys indicate that young people in New Hampshire use drugs at rates higher than their national counterparts. One of the surveys places New Hampshire among the top 10 states in the nation for the proportion of young people in need of drug treatment but not receiving it. Both surveys indicate that rate of marijuana use among New Hampshire teens is one of the highest in the country. Table 1 summarizes the findings of the two studies. 1 Data provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts show that approximately 4 percent of juvenile defendants were between the ages of 17 and 21 from 1997 to 1999.
5 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 3 The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administered to New Hampshire youths through questionnaires in high schools. The 2002 survey results convey the responses of 1,327 New Hampshire high school students in rural, suburban, and urban districts throughout the state. The CDC does not disclose results by district, and students completing the survey do so anonymously. Over 15,000 young people took the same survey nationally. 2 The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducts its survey by interviewing young people in their homes. SAMHSA interviewed 300 New Hampshire teens for its 2002 survey, and then adjusted the results using New Hampshire s census data to arrive at a statewide estimate. SAMHSA conducts its survey every year in all 50 states. SAMHSA ranks states by dividing them into fifths based on SAMHSA s estimates of substance abuse for each state. SAMHSA placed New Hampshire in the top fifth on a number of measures of youth drug use and unmet need for treatment, based on three separate random samples taken between 2000 and In fact, for the past three years New Hampshire s estimates were among the five highest in the country for both illicit drug use and unmet need for drug treatment among adolescents. 3 Preliminary analysis of the 2003 survey results indicates the same pattern of adolescent drug use has continued. 4 Among adults, New Hampshire s drug problem is less severe than many other states. SAMHSA ranked New Hampshire in the lowest fifth for serious drug problems and unmet need for drug treatment among adults aged 26 and older. It remains to be seen whether this ranking will change as the current youth population ages into adulthood. For alcohol abuse and need for alcohol treatment among adults, the state ranked in the second fifth. In general, the SAMHSA survey reports lower rates of alcohol and drug use than the YRBS. The reason for this is unclear. It may be that the YRBS sample is slightly older in age. (YRBS respondents are in high school and thus generally range in age from 13 to 18; SAMHSA respondents range from 12 to 17.) It may also be that teens are more likely to say they use substances if asked in school as opposed to in the home. It is unknown which levels are more accurate. Both surveys, however, indicate that New Hampshire teens use of marijuana is significantly higher than the national average, as shown in Table 1. Anywhere from 31 to 50 percent of the state s teens have tried marijuana, compared to 20 to 40 percent nationally. The estimated rates of marijuana use were among the three highest reported rates of all states. Not only are New Hampshire teens more likely to use drugs than their national counterparts, their drug use is increasing, contrary to a national downward trend. At the national level, 2 Thirty-two states participated and met CDC standards for response rates and documentation in 2003; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Surveillance Summaries, May 21, MMWR 2004;53 (No. SS-2), p The Center notes that although SAMHSA s methodology is rigorous, the margin of error in the survey technique makes it impossible to pinpoint New Hampshire s exact ranking relative to other states. 4 Information on the 2003 sample was provided by Douglas Wright, SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies.
6 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 4 marijuana use among teens decreased by 2 percentage points from 1995 to 2003, while in New Hampshire it increased by 14 percentage points over the same time period. 5 In 1995, 6 percent of New Hampshire teens reported that they had tried marijuana before they turned 13; eight years later, that rate had nearly doubled, to 11 percent. This change is significant because early use of drugs increases the likelihood of addiction. 6 Table 1: Prevalence of teen alcohol and drug use, nationally and in New Hampshire Youth alcohol or drug use US 2003 YRBS high-school survey 7 (Based on 1,327 youths) NH 2002 SAMHSA in-home survey 8 (Based on 300 youths) NH NH confidence interval 9 US NH confidence interval 10 SAMHSA ranking Any illicit drugs past month 12% 15% 12-19% Top fifth Any drug other than 6% 7% 5-10% Top fifth marijuana Marijuana use ever 40% 50% 45-55% 20% 31% Marijuana use past month 22% 31% 26-36% 8% 11% 9-15% Top fifth Inhalants 12% 13% 11-15% Cocaine use 9% 10% 8-12% 2% 3% 2-5% Top fifth Ecstasy use ever 11% 10% 8-12% Heroin use ever 3% 2% 1-3% Alcohol use past month 45% 47% 45-52% 18% 18% 15-22% Third fifth Binge drinking past month 11 28% 31% 26-36% 11% 12% 9-15% Second fifth Any drug or alcohol 9% 12% 10-16% Top fifth dependence or abuse Needing but not receiving alcohol treatment 6% 8%* 6-11% Top fifth* Needing but not receiving drug treatment 5% 6%* 5-10% Top fifth* Blanks indicate the survey does not report on this particular question. * These rankings do not take into account treatment provided by clinicians who operate independently of treatment facilities, or treatment provided in hospital outpatient facilities, in all states. The surveys found that: An estimated 35,000 to 56,000 New Hampshire teens have tried marijuana. Approximately 20,000 to 53,000 New Hampshire teens consume alcohol. 12 Alcohol use among teens in New Hampshire is only slightly higher than the national average; 47 percent of New Hampshire students report they drank alcohol in the month before the survey, compared to 45 percent nationally. 5 The Center compared results of the national 1995 and 2003 YRBS; state data are available at 6 National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research on Drug Abuse, Sixth Triennial Report to Congress, available at 7 YRBS results are available at 8 SAMSHA s survey results are available at 9 The actual state value will fall between this interval 95 percent of the time, according to the CDC. 10 The actual state value will fall between this interval 95 percent of the time, according to SAMHSA. 11 Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in two hours. 12 These calculations use SAMHSA s estimate of 112,627 for the total statewide population aged 12 to 17.
7 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 5 Both nationally and in New Hampshire, fewer teens in 2003 reported that they drink alcohol than in Approximately 8,000 New Hampshire teens are using drugs other than marijuana. SAMHSA estimated 12 percent of New Hampshire teens approximately 13,600 young people have serious alcohol or drug problems. 14 It estimated some 7,900 young people 7 percent of all youths in the state need drug treatment yet don t receive it, and approximately 9,300 teens, or 8 percent, need but don t receive alcohol treatment. (There is considerable overlap in these estimates of unmet need because many youths abuse both alcohol and drugs.) The estimates of unmet need were the second- and third-highest in the nation for drug and alcohol treatment respectively. 15 The Center considers these estimates plausible upper bounds of the need for treatment in New Hampshire. The actual treatment gap may be smaller and the state ranking lower because SAMHSA did not count treatment provided by clinicians who work independently of treatment centers. While this omission affects all states, it may have a greater affect on rankings for rural states because there tend to be fewer treatment facilities in rural areas. The Center has requested further data from SAMHSA that would provide a more complete estimate of all treatment received by youths. 3. NH Juvenile Drug-Crime Rate Is Higher than Average The relatively high level of teen drug use in New Hampshire is reflected in a relatively high rate of arrests and drug charges filed against juveniles. Apart from drug crimes, New Hampshire s juveniles are less likely to get into trouble with the law than youths in other states: New Hampshire s per-capita arrest rate of juveniles for violent crimes is the seventh lowest in the nation; for juvenile property crimes it is eighth lowest. 16 New Hampshire has the third lowest number of secure commitment and detention beds for juveniles per capita in the country. 17 However, in terms of arrests of juveniles for drug crimes, New Hampshire ranks ninth highest in the country. 18 As with teen drug use, New Hampshire s rate of drug arrests and charges has been increasing, contrary to a nationwide decline. Nationally, drug arrests of young offenders dropped by 16 percent from 1997 to This trend is from a comparison of YRBS results. 14 SAMHSA included youths who either were dependent on an illicit substance or who abused it; based on standards in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM IV). 15 SAMSHA, Office of Applied Studies, 2002 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, available online at see tables on state-level data and footnote Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D., Juvenile Arrests 2001, and Juvenile Arrests 2002, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, December 2003 and September 2004, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. 17 The state has a secure capacity of 131 beds at the Youth Development Center and the Youth Detention Services Unit combined. New Hampshire was ranked third behind Vermont and Hawaii; Maine ranks fourth. Sickmund, Melissa, Sladky, T.J., and Kang, Wei. (2004) Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook. Available online at 18 This is based on drug arrests per 100,000 juveniles, from Snyder, Juvenile Arrests 2001 and 2002, p. 11.
8 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 6 In New Hampshire, drug charges filed against youths increased by 28 percent over the same time period. 19 Arrests of young drug offenders also increased by 18 percent in New Hampshire between 2000 and In 2000, there were an estimated 595 drug arrests; in 2002, there were The increase in drug charges and arrests in New Hampshire may be the result of more illegal drug activity, heightened law enforcement efforts, or some combination of the two. It should be noted that the estimated number of arrests in New Hampshire is based on voluntary reporting by police departments to the NH Department of Safety. Communities with approximately one-third of New Hampshire s population including the city of Nashua do not report arrests to the state and thus are not included in the federal estimate. If crime were disproportionately high in those communities, the statewide figures would underestimate the true rates of crime and arrests in New Hampshire. For this reason, the Center bases its analysis not on arrests but on charges filed, for which complete statewide data are available. New Hampshire s increase in drug charges is occurring against a backdrop of declining juvenile delinquency at both the state and national level. Delinquency charges in New Hampshire decreased by 10 percent from 1996 to Charges have increased slightly in recent years. Figure 1 illustrates the number of charges filed against juveniles in New Hampshire from 1996 to While total delinquency charges decreased, drug charges increased by 60 percent. Although the state s juvenile population increased during this time period, the increase in drug charges was significantly greater than the population increase, as shown in Table 2. In 1996, drug charges accounted for about 6 percent of all charges, while in 2002 they accounted for 11 percent. Criminal threatening, reckless conduct, and simple assault charges also increased. Table 2 illuminates trends in charges against youths in greater detail. 22 Charges for alcohol possession among youths have also increased, most likely due to recent changes in the state law. As of January 1, 2003, law enforcement officers can arrest youths who possess alcohol internally, meaning the youths are intoxicated or have a certain level of alcohol in their blood. Officers file these violations for possession of alcohol in criminal court, and offenders usually pay a fine. Figure 2 shows the number of alcohol charges filed in New Hampshire s criminal courts from 2000 to Data on charges and arrests are not exactly comparable, but it is significant that the two trends are in different directions. Nationally, charges increased far less than in New Hampshire; data available at Data on New Hampshire charges were provided by Gary Fowler, Administrative Office of the Courts. 20 These are estimates based on 62 percent of the population, from the FBI s Crime in these United States. 21 Although the decrease in juvenile charges was 13 percent, three percentage points of that decrease are attributable to New Hampshire s change in the age of majority from 18 to 17 on January 1, Gary Fowler of the Administrative Office of the Courts provided data on age of defendants for this analysis. 22 Although the average number of charges per individual defendant varies from year to year, it happened to be the same in 1996 as in 2002, enabling the simple comparison included in the last column of the table.
9 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 7 Figure 1: Delinquency charges decreased even as drug charges increased by 60 percent Delinquency charges filed in district and family courts, 1996 to Number of charges filed in District and Family Courts Violent charges decreased Violent or sex offenses Other crimes against persons Property Other Drugs (excludes alcohol) Drug charges increased Table 2: Delinquency charges filed in NH district and family courts, 1996 to 2002 Type of delinquency charge (excludes CHINS) Number of charges per year in order of largest increase from 1996 to change Drug possession and sales (excludes alcohol offenses) % Criminal threatening & reckless conduct % Simple assault 1,033 1,161 1,235 1,061 1,241 1,316 1, % Other property or other non-violent % Other crimes against persons % Attempted crime/liability % Vehicle % Vandalism % Violent or sex offenses % Burglary/theft/stolen property 1,902 1,600 1,544 1,206 1,327 1,233 1,320-31% Alcohol (partial data, see Figure 2 for other charges) % Shoplifting % Type of offense not specified % Total statewide charges in delinquency charges 7,659 6,954 7,212 6,377 6,515 6,768 6,672-13% Percent change adjusted for change in age of majority -10% Estimated state juvenile population aged 10 to , , % 23 These alcohol charges are those filed in district and family courts only; most alcohol offenses are filed in criminal court, and are shown separately in Figure 2. Data on alcohol charges was provided by Gary Fowler of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
10 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 8 Figure 2: Most alcohol charges are against 17- to 20-year olds Alcohol charges filed in NH criminal courts from 2000 to Number of charges Tobacco possession DWI Alcohol possession Under Under Under Under YDC Commitment Rates Vary by Race and Jurisdiction Illegal alcohol and drug use may be high among young people in New Hampshire, but the vast majority of users never come into contact with the state s juvenile justice system. Among those who do, the outcomes may vary significantly depending on which court hears the case and on the juvenile s race. Less than 6 percent of youths aged 10 to 17 are arrested, and approximately 75 percent of those arrested are formally charged. 24 Of those charged, approximately 18 percent are diverted into one of the state s juvenile diversion programs. Only three youths for every 100 arrests eventually spend time confined at the Youth Development Center (YDC), as shown in Table 3. New Hampshire s minority youths have contact with the juvenile justice system at higher rates than their representation in the general population. Moreover, minority youths are less likely to be diverted out of the court system than Caucasian youths, and more likely to be placed in the YDSU or the YDC, according to a recent analysis by the state s Division for Juvenile Justice Services (DJJS). 25 African-American youths in particular are almost three times as likely to be arrested, and more than twice as likely to be committed to the YDC, as shown in Table See Table 3 for detail. Nationally, 73 percent of all juvenile arrests are referred to court; see Snyder s Juvenile Arrests 2002, p. 5. The figures on arrests and diversions include 17-year-olds. 25 These data were provided by William McGonagle of DJJS, see footnote 26.
11 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 9 Table 3: Juvenile arrests, charges, detentions, and commitments during Juvenile justice status Total Number per 100 Number per 100 number youths arrests Total NH population aged , n/a Juvenile arrests (incl. 17 yr. olds) 8, Cases diverted (incl. 17 yr. olds) 1, Charges filed (DJJS data)* 6, Charges filed (Court data)* 6, Charges found delinquent 2, Cases detained at YDSU Cases committed to YDC *The DJJS figures on charges include delinquency and Child in Need of Services charges combined; the court figures include delinquency charges only. The reason for the discrepancy in the number of charges is unknown. The Center considers the court figures to be more accurate. DJJS analysis does not aggregate this data by type of crime, so it does not address whether or to what extent the nature of the offense affects charges or commitment rates. The division has, however, created a plan to address these findings, as required by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). OJJDP currently contributes about $1 million in grant funds to New Hampshire s State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice. 27 It had originally placed restrictions on the release of grant funds while DJJS was formulating its plan. OJJDP has since accepted the division s plan and removed all restrictions. 28 Table 4 presents data from DJJS analysis comparing arrest and detention rates among Caucasians and New Hampshire s largest minority populations. 29 Of all arrests in 2002, 613 were of minority youths. Thirty-one minority youths were committed to the YDC. Table 4: Relative rates of youths arrest, detention, and commitment by race and ethnicity Relative rates at each stage of the African juvenile justice system, 2002 Caucasian American Hispanic Asian All Minorities Arrested *1.07 Cases diverted * Referred to juvenile court * *1.02 Cases involving YDSU detention 1.00 * * Cases resulting in YDC commitment * * These differences were not statistically significant according to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 26 This analysis was provided by William McGonagle of the NH Division of Juvenile Justice Services, from the division s unpublished report to the U.S. Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, dated January 2, The groups in the table are not subsets of each other because the youth category counts individuals, but the charges and arrests categories do not. Multiple charges may be associated with one individual and also with one arrest. Also, individuals may be counted in several categories (in both YDSU and YDC, for example), and case processing occurs over multiple calendar years. The number of arrests is an actual count produced by DJJS, not an estimate. Unfortunately, the division s count does not specify type of charge. 27 DJJS provides financial management and administrative support for the state advisory grants. 28 Information provided by John McDermott, Manager of Field Services, DJJS, November 5, The grant amount was for FY 2005 and was provided by Pam Sullivan, Grants Manager Juvenile Justice Specialist, DJJS. 29 This table does not show actual rates of arrest or confinement, but shows how the rates for each group relate to each other. For example, the African American rate of arrest is 2.72 times higher than the Caucasian rate of arrest.
12 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 10 Commitment rates to the YDC also vary by court. The Center analyzed data from all 36 of the state s district courts to see how frequently each of them committed juveniles to secure treatment in the YDC. Figure 3 presents data from six of those courts. 30 It is not clear why commitment rates vary, but the relative proportion of violent charges 31 filed in each court does not explain the variation. Manchester District Court, for example, has the highest rate of commitment to the YDC of all the courts in the state, but it does not have relatively more violent offenses or sex offenses than Nashua or the other five courts the Center has studied in detail. Figure 3: YDC commitments and delinquency charges by court, Percent of total charges filed from by type (Includes multiple charges per individual) 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Plymouth* 1.8% Distribution of delinquency charges and use of YDC by court Keene 2.1% 2.8% 2.0% 4.5% 1.6% Laconia* Concord* Manchester Nashua* Drugs Offense not specified Other Percent committed to YDC Property crimes Other crimes against persons Violent or sex offenses Violent and sex offenses *These courts have drugcourt programs. Manchester District Court does have a higher percentage of other crimes against persons, primarily criminal threatening, reckless conduct, and simple assault. It is not known whether these charges led to increased commitments to the YDC. State standards indicate these charges alone do not qualify as being serious enough for commitment to the YDC, 32 but it depends on the 30 See the Center s Reclaiming Futures: Performance Review 1, February 2004, for commitment rates on all 36 courts. The Center selected the six courts shown because they are part of an ongoing evaluation the Center is conducting of juvenile drug courts and the Reclaiming Futures initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The analysis is based on the percent of charges not individuals that resulted in a commitment to YDC. 31 Violent charges include first and second degree assault, robbery, and murder. 32 The state requires police departments and judges to rank the severity of offenses when attempting to commit a youth to the YDC; state guidelines provided by Julie Lordes, then juvenile clerk, Manchester District Court.
13 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 11 particulars of each case. A 2002 study showed 38 percent of YDC residents were committed for simple assault. 33 Some suggest that Manchester s higher rate of commitments has more to do with the presence of the YDC and three youth placement facilities in the city. Any offense by a youth in the YDC would likely result in a continued commitment to YDC, and would be recorded as a commitment from Manchester District Court, even if the youth were originally from another jurisdiction. 34 Manchester does have the highest proportion of escape charges. 35 Manchester District Court also serves the poorest community of all the six courts in the study, and this may have some effect on court cases and sanctions. More research is needed to determine to what extent these and other factors affect commitment rates. In an effort to better understand variation in YDC commitment rates, the Center has begun to analyze data on court referrals to state-subsidized treatment providers. Over the next three years, the Center will track these referrals in an attempt to determine whether there is a relationship between treatment referrals and commitment rates, and whether regional treatment capacity affects judicial practices. The Center will also be reviewing a sample of Manchester District Court cases as part of an ongoing evaluation of juvenile drug courts. 5. Need for Treatment in the Juvenile System Unknown Nationally, 80 percent of young offenders have problems with alcohol or drugs. 36 In New Hampshire, the percentage of offenders with alcohol and drug problems is unknown because neither DJJS nor the court system has routinely asked offenders about alcohol or drug use. Recently, however, DJJS and the courts have begun working on an initiative to screen youths for alcohol and drug problems. DJJS has begun to screen youths as part of its ongoing initiative to identify and build on each juvenile offender s strengths. The screening is being promoted as part of the courts Reclaiming Futures initiative, discussed in section 7 of this report. In the absence of formal assessments of offenders alcohol and drug problems, one DJJS official with clinical experience and familiarity with the population estimated that 80 to 90 percent of youths under supervision have used alcohol or other drugs, and that up to 50 percent have a serious alcohol or drug problem. 37 A recent study of youths committed to the YDC found 80 percent had some history of drug use or abuse noted in the files. 38 Data suggest that many of those with substance abuse problems receive no treatment while under state supervision other than supervision by a probation officer. In 2002, 49 percent of those 33 Michael Skibbie, Children with Disabilities in the NH Juvenile Justice System, Justiceworks and the Institute on Disability, the University of New Hampshire, April Interview with Paula Hurley, Clerk of the Manchester District Court, and her staff, June 2, Manchester had 31 escape charges, equal to 1 percent of all charges. Escape makes a youth potentially eligible for detention, and potentially for commitment to the YDC, according to state guidelines. 36 The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, Criminal Neglect: Substance Abuse, Juvenile Justice and The Children Left Behind, October 7, Available at 37 Information provided by Egon Jensen, then assistant director, DJJS, June 17, Michael Skibbie, Children with Disabilities in the NH Juvenile Justice System, p. 51.
14 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 12 under DJJS supervision 2,848 youths received state-provided services of some kind, including purely non-clinical services such as transportation. A sample of 456 youths charged in Keene and Manchester courts during 2002 showed 55 percent received some kind of services while under supervision in the community, but only 23 percent received either drug testing, counseling from an alcohol- and drug-treatment provider certified by DJJS, or both. 39 Some additional youths received counseling from alcohol and drug programs not certified or paid for by DJJS, and some may have received counseling from general mental-health providers. (Since the DJJS database tracks treatment by certified providers only, and does not distinguish between general and alcohol and drug counseling for some providers, complete data on alcohol and drug treatment provided to youths under supervision are not available from the division s electronic database.) These data suggest, however, that a significant number of young offenders need alcohol and drug treatment but do not receive it. Most conversations with juvenile probation and parole officers and members of the judiciary support this conclusion, and indicate that treatment availability varies by region. In some areas, judges and juvenile probation officers report having adequate treatment options available. It should be noted that treatment for alcohol and drug problems is not always successful, and juveniles tend to be a particularly difficult client population to reach. In the most effective adolescent treatment programs, only 30 to 50 percent of youths remain drug- or alcohol-free 90 days after completing treatment. 40 Additionally, research indicates that the most effective treatments address youths multiple needs, focus on their strengths, and don t pull them out of their communities. DJJS has begun efforts to steer its services in this direction. In this report, the Center makes no judgment about the quality or effectiveness of the state s publicly funded alcohol and drug treatment. 6. New Funds Reverse Decline in Treatment Admissions Youth admissions to treatment programs supported by the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Recovery (DADAPR) 41 have been declining in since 1998, but have recently begun to increase as a result of new funding. Some youths involved in the juvenile justice system receive treatment from these providers. DJJS pays private clinicians to treat youths under its supervision; parents contribute to the best of their ability. Some DJJS providers are also funded by DADAPR. Forty percent of youth admissions to DADAPR-funded providers are court-mandated, and 29 percent are referred directly from the juvenile justice system Data provided by William McGonagle, DJJS; drug-testing data includes laboratory testing only. 40 Adolescent Substance Abuse: A Public Health Priority, Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy, Brown University Center for Addiction Studies, September Although the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Recovery no longer exists due to state reorganization, the Center uses the term for the purposes of this report. 42 These data and other analysis on treatment admissions from FY 2001 to FY 2004 were provided by Alan West, DHHS.
15 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 13 The number of youth admissions to DADAPR-funded providers declined from FY 1998 to FY Youth admissions increased significantly from 2003 to 2004, largely because the state began using a portion of liquor profits to fund treatment and prevention services. Much of this new funding, distributed through the Governor s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment, was spent on treatment for youths. As shown in Figure 4, there were 936 youth admissions in FY 1998, 468 in FY 2003, and 747 in FY Even with the recent increase, admissions declined 20 percent between 1998 and Figure 4: Youth treatment admissions decreased from 1998 to 2003, and increased in 2004 Admissions for youth under age 18 to DADAPR-funded alcohol and drug treatment providers, by type of insurance Number of admissions Uninsured Medicaid Other Private insurance Fiscal year State devotes some liquor profits to treatment Over the same time period, the number of prevention visits subsidized by DADAPR also decreased, from about 105,000 contacts in FY 2001 to 90,000 in FY Data quality problems make it impossible to determine whether prevention services are actually declining or whether providers are reducing duplication in their reporting. 45 The state plans to address these data problems with federal funds recently awarded to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It received $11.7 million to expand its prevention programs and improve the quality of the state s prevention data. Figure 4 illustrates another trend in access to treatment: a sharp decline in the number of young people without insurance who received DADAPR-funded treatment. While admissions for youths with private insurance or Medicaid remained fairly steady from FY 2001 to FY 2003, admissions of uninsured youths fell. Indeed, data provided by DADAPR indicate that almost all of the reduction in admissions was among those who were uninsured. During the period, the 43 Some of the decrease between FY 2001 and FY 2003 occurred because DADAPR instituted stricter standards as to what constitutes treatment, and required providers to report certain admissions formerly reported as treatment as prevention instead. The Center has adjusted the data in Figure 4 to account for this change by adding those prevention visits (from 66 to 100 admissions per year from FY ) back into the treatment admissions data. 44 This data was provided by Jim Shanelaris, DHHS. 45 Telephone interview with Alice Bruning, DHHS, October 11, 2004.
16 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 14 state greatly expanded its Medicaid coverage for children, but there appears to have been no significant increase in admissions for youths covered by Medicaid. The quality of this data is in question, however. Some providers reportedly classify all youths as uninsured if the provider is not licensed to bill insurance companies. New Hampshire s financial support for its treatment providers has eroded steadily over the last decade. From 1993 to 2003, state funding of DADAPR decreased by 18 percent in dollars adjusted for inflation and population growth. 46 DADAPR reports that in recent years it has observed a decrease in the number of treatment sessions provided by each staff person DADAPR funds, and providers have reported increased staff vacancies. Despite this decrease in utilization and declining admissions through 2003, DADAPR has received no reports of youths being turned away by providers. 47 The average waiting period for young people seeking treatment from DADAPR-funded providers increased steadily from 1996 to 2003, and dropped slightly after the infusion of new treatment funds in FY In a recent survey, most treatment providers reported that they see youths for intake and assessment within two weeks, and begin treatment within a month. 48 DHHS admissions data show an average wait of 10 days in FY 2004, a significant increase from the late 1990s, as illustrated in Figure 5. Figure 5: Youths are waiting longer for treatment Average days youth wait for treatment DADAPR-funded providers 12 Average number days FY 1996 FY 1997 FY 1998 FY 1999 FY 2000 FY 2001 FY 2002 FY 2003 FY Douglas Hall, NH Center for Public Policy Studies, Six Program Fueled State spending Increases, , September Interview with Joyce Heck, Jim Shanelaris, and Rosemary Shannon of DHHS. 48 This information is from the unpublished results of New Futures 2003 Survey of New Hampshire Alcohol and Drug and Community Mental Health Treatment Providers, conducted from May through July 2003.
17 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 15 Although state-supported mental health centers report waiting periods of up to two weeks, DJJS agreements with these treatment centers specify that youths under DJJS supervision will not be asked to wait but will be admitted for treatment immediately. 49 It remains to be seen whether the legislature will continue to use revenue from liquor sales to fund treatment, and what impact those programs will have on teen drug use and crime. New Futures, a private advocacy group, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation are initiating a five-year effort to increase alcohol and drug treatment for adolescents. The initiative s goal is to secure public funding to continue the programs after the first five years. 7. Drug Courts Are Keeping Young Offenders in Treatment The district courts, supported by the Department of Health and Human Services, have established four juvenile drug courts (in Plymouth, Laconia, Nashua, and Concord). A fifth one, in Claremont, is just beginning. These programs provide intensive alcohol and drug treatment to youths in their communities, combined with strict court supervision and sanctions, including detention and commitment when necessary. The Center is currently working on a three-year evaluation of the effectiveness of these drug courts in comparison to traditional juvenile courts. The Center s analysis to date indicates the four courts combined serve about 45 non-violent offenders per year. Fourteen percent of the participants are minorities, and nearly a third are girls. Their average age is 16. About one-third of drug-court participants are first-time offenders and two-thirds are repeat offenders. Forty-two percent of the participants have commitments to YDC deferred or suspended contingent upon their participation in drug court. Although the state sets guidelines to limit YDC commitments to youths at a certain risk level to themselves or others, some have questioned whether all drug-court participants with suspended commitments in fact meet those guidelines. 50 The Center s research should shed light on this issue as the evaluation progresses. Of the 84 youths admitted to drug court through July 2004, 59 percent have graduated. There is considerable variation in graduation and tenure rates among the courts. On average, participants in the drug courts stay in the program for about seven months, and attend treatment during that time. 51 They miss an average of two treatment or other rehabilitative sessions during their participation. The drug courts are thus succeeding in their efforts to get young offenders into treatment and keep them there for an extended period. This is a significant accomplishment given that studies show the median treatment duration for adolescents is six 49 Interview with Egon Jensen, then assistant director, Division for Juvenile Justice Services. 50 Comments from a meeting with New Hampshire Public Defenders June 12, 2004, and discussions with Judge Paul Lawrence, Goffstown District Court, November The Center is still gathering data on the amount of treatment received by participants. Nashua reports participants attend an average of 10 clinical sessions. The other courts include non-clinical interventions when tracking attendance, and report participants attend anywhere from 30 to 85 clinical and non-clinical sessions, including treatment, educational classes, Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and other required activities.
18 Teen Drug Use and Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire 16 weeks, and in some programs as many as half of all adolescents drop out after a few sessions. 52 As the drug courts develop a longer track record, the Center will determine if this success translates into lasting reductions in the participants alcohol and drug use and delinquent behavior. The Center s focus on drug courts is part of a broader evaluation of the Reclaiming Futures project, an initiative financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and managed by New Hampshire s Office of the Administrative Judge of the District Courts. The goals of Reclaiming Futures are to improve treatment in the drug courts and throughout the juvenile justice system while connecting young offenders with their communities in ways that will strengthen the positive aspects of their lives. To date the Reclaiming Futures initiative has: trained providers around the state in new clinical methods to identify youths alcohol and drug and other problems, and determine appropriate treatment; connected approximately 25 drug-court youths to positive activities in their communities, and trained community groups in ways to support all youths in the juvenile justice system; initiated collaboration between the courts and DJJS to institute a new court protocol to help identify alcohol and drug problems among all youths as they enter the juvenile justice system; provided direct supervision to drug-court staff to focus offenders case plans on embodying best practices, building on youths strengths, and including input from family members; supported the opening of and staff training for the new Claremont juvenile drug court; together with DJJS, led efforts to apply for federal grants, including one to assist young offenders re-enter the community. The Center is reporting on the impact of these and other Reclaiming Futures activities in performance reviews published periodically on the Center s website. 8. Next Steps This paper leaves many questions unanswered: Why are minority and Caucasian youths treated differently by the New Hampshire juvenile justice system? To what extent have young people without insurance been squeezed out of the treatment network? Why do certain juvenile courts send a disproportionate number of offenders to YDC and does it make a difference? Over the next two years, the Center will try to answer these questions and to identify which public and private strategies are most likely to reduce the problems associated with teen drug use and crime. 52 Adolescent Substance Abuse: A Public Health Priority, Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy, Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, September 2002, p. 34.
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