Kids Behind Bars: John Jay/Tow Foundation National Symposium for Journalists


Bryan Stevenson speaks to journalists at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Why does the U.S. lead the world in youth imprisonment? What should a truly effective juvenile justice system look like? How can the media stay ahead of the story?

On April 23-24, 2012, 30 journalists from around the nation joined some of the country’s most prominent juvenile justice experts, practitioners and advocates to explore those questions at a special symposium at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, organized by John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice with the support of the Tow Foundation and in cooperation with John Jay’s Center for Research and Evaluation.

The 30 journalists, selected as Reporting Fellows, examined current sentencing and detention practices, the impact of race, treatment of mental health and substance abuse, and the role of police, courts, schools (and parents) in the so-called “school to prison pipeline.” The year-long fellowship also includes the establishment of a “juvenile justice news network” for reporters to assist them in following trends in this area, and new research–with the aim of providing the tools that can help foster informed public debate at local and national levels in 2012 and beyond.

The symposium entitled Kids Behind Bars: Where’s the Justice in America’s Juvenile Justice System, Covering the Juvenile Justice Reform Debate in 2012 featured keynote speeches from Gail Garinger, The Child Advocate of the State of Massachusetts; attorney Bryan Stevenson who argued the Supreme Court case related to juvenile Life Without Parole; and Mike Bocian, Pollster & Founding Partner, GBA Strategies.

Panelists included: Vincent N. Schiraldi, Commissioner, New York City Department of Probation, James Bell, Founder and Executive Director, W. Haywood Burns Institute, C. Jama Adams, Professor and Chair of John Jay College’s Africana Studies Department and Joseph Gaudett, Chief of Police, Bridgeport, Connecticut.

For live blogging of the conference click here for Day 1 and here for Day 2.

Proceedings of the conference, including podcasts, research materials provided by speakers, are covered below. For a full list of speakers, panelists and the agenda click here.

For a list of attending journalism fellows click here.

NOTE: this page will be updated regularly with articles by Fellows and other information as it becomes available.

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