Reforming Youth Justice: The Next Frontier


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Young People in Peril

Reporting on the Impact of Today’s Health, Economic and Social Crises on Youth Justice Reform

An interactive webinar series October 22-November 12, 2020

At-a- glance program schedule can be downloaded here.

Download agenda here.

Click here for bios of Oct 22-23 speakers.

Until February 2020, youth justice reformers could claim impressive victories across the country, and were already gearing up to tackle some of the harder systemic challenges. But in the space of just a few months, COVID-19 transformed the environment in unpredictable ways.

While it accelerated the movement for disbanding institutional juvenile detention, comparatively few young people were actually released. The economic crisis caused by the nationwide lockdown has left justice-involved youth especially vulnerable to shortfalls in social services and family stress. In many respects, the special needs of justice-involved youth were sidelined by the attention paid to the plight of at-risk incarcerated adults.

Similarly, the intensified debate about racism following George Floyd’s killing sidetracked media attention from the needs of poor youth—particularly youth of color–who were most likely to be the victims of implicit bias.  But there are some promising currents as well. Will the attention to implicit bias in policing and courts translate into more equitable treatment for young people of color? Is the nation ready to address the “next frontier” of juvenile justice reform?

The current situation has posed a special challenge to justice journalists. What do journalists need to know keep the momentum for change in the juvenile justice system relevant to their readers and listeners, especially as the nation experiences a tendentious political campaign?

These questions will be addressed in five webinars scheduled from approximately 1:00 p.m. -4:oo p.m. EST beginning October 22, 2020--and ending November 12, 2020.

The agenda is available here

Click here for bios of  Oct 22-23 speakers.

Selected journalists will receive a $500 fellowship stipend — and as in our previous rounds of juvenile justice capacity-building seminars – will be invited to produce published or broadcast stories or story projects, exploring the seminar topics. All panels will be recorded and hosted on our website.

For more information, and instructions on how to apply, please contact Stephen Handelman, director of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College, at; or journalism coordinator Joe Domanick at

The CMCJ thanks the following organizations for their support of this program: The Tow Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.



Tackling Racial Disparity Called Key to Youth Justice Reform