Kids, Crime & Justice: Progress or Paralysis?

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In the past year, news reports and academic studies have revealed startling conditions for juveniles at adult and youth detention facilities, systemic hurdles faced by teens whose parents are imprisoned, and institutional biases against students with behavioral issues.  But the media has just started covering these troubling subjects.

In an effort to educate  journalists on the juvenile justice system twenty-Five U.S. reporters from print, online and broadcast outlets were awarded Reporting Fellowships to attend a conference Oct 6 & 7 2014 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City on how to report on this topic. The  symposium, “Kids, Crime & Justice: Progress or Paralysis?” focused on how law enforcement, school officials and social service practitioners can apply research and best practices to dealing with troubled youth.

The unique fellowships, organized by John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice (CMCJ), are aimed at promoting top-quality journalism on juvenile justice issues. The first juvenile justice reporting fellowship program was organized by CMCJ and Tow in 2012.

Speakers said that a key factor in reducing the number of youths jailed or placed in detention is the recognition that adolescents who misbehave don’t necessarily belong in the criminal justice system. Often, incarceration is used as the state-ordered solution for youths who misbehave because they suffer from mental illness, according to Elizabeth Cauffman, a professor of sociology and social behavior, at the University of California Irvine School of Social Ecology. She spoke to journalists alongside other panelists which included Shaena Fazal, National Policy Director of Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.; Laurence Steinberg, Professor, Temple University; Marc Schindler, Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute; and Linda Tucci Teodosio, Judge, Summit County Ohio Juvenile Court.   Dr. John Deasy, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Tracie Keesee, co-founder of the Center of Policing Equity, headed the list of speakers.

Fellows also attended two workshops on data visualization and engaging your audience through social media hosted by CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Workshops were run by Amanda Hickman, director of data mining and visualization instruction at CUNY and Sandeep Junnarkar, director of interactive journalism

For a full agenda click here.

A complete list of fellows that attended the conference can be found here.

Watch Dr. John Deasy, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, deliver the keynote address below.

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Fellows Stories

Why we shouldn’t charge the Sayreville kids as adults: A Q&A
Julie O’Connor, Newark Star Ledger
Read the full story »

Hope in a Hidden Public Health Crisis
Heather Tirado Gilligan, California Health Report
Read the full story »

Stopping Homicides, One Shooter at a Time
Heather Tirado Gilligan, California Health Report
Read the full story »

Florida lawmakers consider proposal to reduce youth arrests
Kathleen McGrory, Miami Herald
Read the full story »

How Communities Are Keeping Kids Out of Crime
STACY TEICHER KHADAROO, Christian Science Monitor
Read the full story »

A Portrait of the Artist As a Juvenile Lifer
Gary Gately, Juvenile Justice Information
Read the full story »

Resources from the Conference

Systems Integration: Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
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Trends in State Courts: Juvenile Justice & Elder Issues
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Solutions for Youth with Mental Health Needs in the Criminal Justice System
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Conference Audio

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Panel 4: Mental Health, Jails, Courts & Adolescents

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Panel 2:Juvenile Crime, Victimization and Understanding Traumatized Youth

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Panel 3: The Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Youth

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