The MacArthur Foundation has spent more than $100 million since 2004 on developing blueprints for reform in the juvenile justice systems of 16 states. This week, the reform initiative Models for Change brought together nearly 400 judges, advocates, probation officers, and other juvenile justice professionals for two days of workshops in Washington, D.C., reports Youth Today. It came at a time when the foundation is beginning to wind down funding for new research into juvenile justice reforms and enter a new phase focused on defining, sustaining and disseminating to the rest of the U.S. the reform models its state partners and networks have already developed.
This week’s emphasized the power of storytelling and collaboration as a way to convey the impact of justice reforms to other states and to the public. The storytelling theme ran through several events. Public relations professionals held a plenary session to discuss how juvenile justice organizations could craft an effective public message. University of California at Santa Barbara professor Richard Ross exhibited a collection of photographs that illustrated the stark conditions within juvenile facilities around the country. Journalists from the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and CBS This morning explained how justice professionals could engage the media without compromising the privacy of minors. NPR reporter Cheryl Corley told how she came to report a radio series on juvenile offenders in Chicago last year.