Pondering the Limits of Criminal Justice Reform

On Monday I spoke via Skype with a group of students enrolled at Georgetown University. Some friends of mine teach a class on social justice and conflict studies. Twice I have joined the class to discuss my own experiences with the criminal justice system, restorative justice, my current work, and any other insightful (and difficult) questions they come up with. Several wondered how prison could be changed to address issues of safety and violence, and whether or not restorative responses still allowed for incarceration. These are interesting topics to me, and I am able to talk about them with ease, but a few questions left me pondering the limits of criminal justice reform.

Wealth of Research from Center for Juvenile Justice Reform

Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, led by Director Shay Bilchik, has published a number of research studies that tackle a wide variety of juvenile justice issues.  We’ve highlighted a few of the best below.  Be sure to check out the Center’s website for many more resources. Improving the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Programs: A New Perspective on Evidence-Based Practice
Addressing the Unmet Educational Needs of Children and Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems
Supporting Youth In Transition to Adulthood:  Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
Racial and Ethnic Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: A Compendium
Bridging Two Worlds: Youth Involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems, A Policy Guide for Improving Outcomes

Judge Steve Teske: The Silent Majority

A young boy is ripped from his family.  As he is placed in the back of a stranger’s car, he looks out the back window and sees his mom crying and his dad in the back of a police car.  He doesn’t understand. He is scared. He can’t stop crying. 

A young teenager is running the streets and getting into trouble.  He is stealing and getting into fights to survive.  He knows he is ready to kill if he has to. A young man was neglected and sexually abused as a child.  He sees no purpose in life. Death, at times, seems more inviting than life.