I Love the Hood But I Want to Change

When you look me in my eyes, you see the pain. Nobody understands what I’ve been through. They want to send me away from my family. Look at me, trying to survive and keep my head up.

Mentors Crucial to Curb Recidivism for Youths

It has been said that all a child needs is one caring adult in order to become a success in life. When a child is removed from home because of parental abuse or neglect...

Change Yourself and Change the World

All of us during our lives as children, adolescents and eventually adults need some encouragement. As the individuals we are, we tend to learn differently, have different perspectives and take risks on different levels. For those like myself, words of encouragement were really needed in my life to fulfill my true potential in the activities that I engaged in.

What’s Next for New York’s Young People Under Raise the Age?

I’ve spent 15 years working inside New York’s justice system, representing teenagers and doing research inside juvenile facilities. When the New York State Legislature passed legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, I viewed this change not as resolution of a long-standing problem within New York’s justice system, but rather as a step toward needed reforms of our state’s juvenile justice system.

Dr. Seuss Goes to Juvenile Hall and Other Great Moments

Esteem. Eagerness. Engagement. Elation. Kids in custody become kids for a day. “Cat in the Hat” hats, beloved Dr. Seuss stories, pride to contribute, laughter, fun and the promise of a giant cupcake to celebrate the life of Dr. Seuss transform a jail into a celebration of literacy. Spirits are high, peer cooperation is contagious and childlike delight spreads across a facility often darkened by despair and disrespect.

Life, Death, Life Again: Children Sentenced to Die in Prison

For eight years, from 2007 to 2015, I worked as a case analyst at the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to freeing people who have been wrongfully convicted. My job was to review requests for help from those seeking representation. For cases that I determined warranted an in-depth investigation, I read trial transcripts, police reports and lab reports, and I corresponded extensively with the person seeking help.

Tear Down the Juvenile Jails; They Make Bad Situations Worse

Out of destruction can come rebirth.

Like the phoenix, a mystical bird of Greek mythology that rises from the ashes of its predecessor, we are experiencing today a rebirth of a once promising trend in juvenile justice I refer to as deconstruction, which goes well beyond what we commonly call deinstitutionalization.