This report, authored by the Impact Justice’s Research & Action Center, explores Reclaiming Futures’ Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) initiative, which seeks to improve screening processes, including the development of assessments and referrals for youth before they enter the juvenile justice system. With funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Reclaiming Futures has adapted SBIRT for use with young people. SBIRT is a public health protocol for identifying problematic substance use in a series of very short meetings.
From the perspective of juvenile justice reformers, this model is particularly innovative because it intentionally minimizes the number of hours that youth are being assessed for behavioral health needs and, subsequently, engaged in treatment. Such a reform promises to reduce the number of hours youth–particularly youth of color–are surveilled by the juvenile justice system, and ultimately arrested, charged, or incarcerated.