Children and the Law

Reporting on the Changing Culture of Juvenile Justice

The momentum for re-thinking our national approach to juvenile justice continues to build across the country. But while several bills now before Congress have put justice change squarely on the national agenda, the special needs of at-risk juveniles are too often eclipsed in the national debate. As the country headed into a new election cycle in 2016, it was important to recognize that failures in how we deal with our most troubled young people exact a huge cost on our society—not least in the impact on our schools, neighborhoods and quality of life.Agenda Cover Art v1

Neglecting their needs,without changing the culture of our present approach to juvenile justice, condemns them—and all of us—to a pipeline that ends in an adult criminal justice system that is already overburdened, inequitable, and pays too little attention to rehabilitation.

The media remains the critical channel for making the connections between juvenile justice and our larger justice challenges in the public arena. In order to maintain the salience of the juvenile justice reform agenda, the Center on Media, Crime and Justice selected 26 journalists from around the country as Reporting Fellows  for its third year-long program aimed at strengthening reporting on juvenile justice during the election year.The fellowship program, sponsored by The Tow Foundation, was launched Monday, June 13th and Tuesday, June 14th 2016 with a symposium at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, entitled Children and the Law: Reporting on the Changing Culture of Juvenile Justice.

 Speakers at the workshop included: The Honorable Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of Connecticut; Dean Esserman, Chief of New Haven, CT Police Department; Captain Merrill Ladenheim, Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department, Human Trafficking Bureau; Fred Ryan, Chief of Police, Arlington, MA; and Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow, Director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

The Symposium placed special emphasis on the efforts already underway at the state levels that can serve as models for change in other jurisdictions, and on the latest research and best practices that can help journalists produce informed and compelling coverage.

A conference agenda with a full list of speakers is available HERE. A list of the 2016 John Jay/Tow Reporting Fellows and their bios is HERE.

Research and additional material provided to Fellows is listed below. Podcasts and videos from the symposium will be uploaded when they are available.

Please check this space for links to Fellows’ articles as they appear.


Resource Toolkit 

Briefing Note on Opioid Epidemic (Dr. Sharon Stancliffe)

Justice By Geography: Do Politics Influence the Prosecution of Youth as Adults? (Research Report, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice)

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection Act: Investing in What Works (JJDPA handout)

Use of Valid Court Order State-by-State Comparisons (Coalition for Juvenile Justice)


Sara Barr

States Consider Options for Young Adults in Juvenile Justice System (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange/Youth TodayJan 4, 2017)

Edith Brady-Lunny

Family Support Key to Rebuilding Life After Prison (The Pantagraph, Sept. 25, 2016)

Troubled Youth: Advocates Work to Reduce Detention Numbers (The Pantagraph, Sept. 26, 2016)

Team Approach Helps Teens Stay on Track (The Pantagraph Sept 26, 2016)

Tessa Duvall

No Second Chance: Why Juvenile Offenders Stay Locked Away (Florida Times Union, Oct. 22 2016

Duval County’s 10 ‘Graham Cases’ (Florida Times Union, Oct 22, 2016)

Case Law sidebar: Significant Past Cases Involving Juvenile Shooting (Florida Times Union,Oct 22, 2016)

Fast Facts: About Juvenile Life Without Parole (Florida Times Union, Oct. 22, 2016)

Jacksonville Man’s Case Led to New Sentences for Juvenile Lifers, But He’s Still Behind Bars    (Florida Times-Union, March 4, 2017

Judy Ellich

‘When You Start Using, Your Mentality Stops’ (The Daily American, six-part project on juvenile drug courts in Pennsylvania, Oct 31,2016)

Bobby’s Story: A Short Life Before Drugs (The Daily American, Oct 31, 2016).

Moving On Up 

The Downward Spiral 

Video: Bobby Talks About His Future

Dorinne’s Story: Coping with Loss

Funding Cuts, Lack of Participation Doom County Juvenile Drug Court 

Healing with Bags of Hope Program 

Juvenile Justice System Offers Several Paths, with a Goal of Rehabilitation 

Starting a Juvenile Drug Court

Erica L. Green

Lost Girls: Young Women Face Harsher Punishment in Maryland’s Juvenile Detention System (Baltimore Sun, Dec 16 2016)

A Stolen Cellphone, Then an Odyssey Through Maryland’s Juvenile Justice System (Baltimore Sun, Dec 30, 2016).

Archie Ingersoll

 Treating Trauma’s Steep Toll on Native Youth Remains a Challenge for the Courts (The Forum of Fargo-Moorehead-South Dakota,Oct 1, 2016)

Approaches to Childhood Trauma Improved; But Many Need Help (Oct 2, 2016)

Jimmy Jenkins

Maricopa County Juveniles are often held in adult jail (KJZZ Public Radio Phoenix, Feb 1, 2017).

Anne Jungen

System of Care Works to Keep Kids Out of Juvenile Justice System (La Crosse Tribune, April 7, 2017)

Rebecca Klein

Path Out of Trouble: How One State Support its Teenagers While a Neighboring State Punishes Them (Huffington Post, Dec 15, 2016)

Juleika Lantigua-Williams

When a Sibling Goes to Prison (The Atlantic, first of a five-part series, Nov 14, 2016)

Brothers Behind Bars (The Atlantic, Nov 14, 2016)

Is Juvenile Justice Beyond Repair? (The Atlantic, Nov 16, 2016)

In Prison , But Still a Big Sister (The Atlantic, Nov 15, 2016)

‘I Can’t Keep My Brother Out of Jail, and That Hurts (The Atlantic, Nov 17, 2016

Rachel Lippman

Path Out of Trouble: How One State Support its Teenagers While a Neighboring State Punishes Them (St. Louis Public Radio, Dec 15, 2016)

Path Out of Trouble: How One State Support its Teenagers While a Neighboring State Punishes Them (St. Louis Public Radio, Dec 15, 2016)

Kristy Plaza

How LA County Faced its Tragic Problem with Sex-Trafficked Kids (WitnessLA, May 29, 2017)

Casey Quinlan  

How One School District Fights Decades of ‘Punishment Culture’ (Think Progress, Jan 30, 2017)

Nissa Rhee

Illinois rethinks its approach to juvenile justice (Christian Science Monitor, Dec 22, 2016)

At America’s largest juvenile detention facility, teaching kids to ‘think slow’ (Christian Science Monitor,Dec 23, 2016)

New court aims to redefine youth justice in Chicago (Christian Science Monitor,Dec 24, 2016).

Danielle Wolfe

How a Woman Serving Life in Prison Made the Judge Who Sentenced Her Proud (NPR, October, 2016)