Criminal justice programs have won two of the three Innovations in American Government awards from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, reports Stateline.org. They are Missouri, for its successful approach to rehabilitating juvenile offenders and Arizona, for its one-of-a-kind prisoner re-entry system. The third award went to North Carolina for a college preparation program for disadvantaged kids. The winners were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants.
One of this year's winners – Missouri's Division of Youth Services – already has imitators. Started in the early 1980s, the intensive counseling program has resulted in lower numbers of repeat offenders, a huge reduction in violence and suicide in youth facilities. and higher-than-average job placements and education levels compared to traditional juvenile lockups. Officials in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Texas and the District of Columbia already have begun working with Missouri to develop similar programs.