Covering the Juvenile Justice System: Kids Behind Bars, the Role of the Media and More

Our friends at the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) spent this week at the Kids Behind Bars: Where's the Justice in America's Juvenile Justice System? conference in New York, discussing the juvenile justice system and the role of the media in reporting facts (good) and sensationalizing stories (bad). 
Their takeaways are relevant for journalists and bloggers but also for readers of this blog, many of whom work with(in) the juvenile system. During day 1 of the John Jay Symposium, speakers discussed:

  • the now discounted superpredator theory from the 1990s and the role of the press in perpetuating it
  • research findings showing that the human brain does not reach full maturity until the mid-20s
  • the importance of mentoring
  • disproportionate minority contact
  • school discipline policies
  • juvenile justice reform efforts

Day 2 covered:

  • prevention and rehabilitation
  • public perception and the difference between "juvenile" and "youth"
  • the widespread practice of trying kids in adult court
  • the school-to-prison pipeline

Big thanks to John Fleming and Clay Duda for sharing their experience with us!

Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets from @LizSF.
*Photo at top courtesy of JJIE

Updated: February 08 2018