A session at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ annual conference, held here this week, was billed as a chance for attendees to ask questions of Caren Harp, the new head of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
It isn’t often that a district attorney’s race draws as much national attention as the one in Philadelphia did last fall. While much of the country was bemoaning the new national rhetoric that indicated a sharp departure from America’s centrist values on crime and punishment, Philadelphia was singing a different tune.
In May 2017, here at the JJIE.org, Caren Harp, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Department of Justice, wrote in great detail her thoughts about juvenile justice.
In her opinion column she writes about “misplaced reliance on nascent neuroscience and neuroimaging evidence.” It “invites pushback from those who favor a retributive system, and it may create some unintended and unwanted consequences for youth and young adults.”
Last October, I was elected chair of the FACJJ. I can tell you from personal experience that the members’ energy, wisdom and genuine concern mean that the group recommendations are supported by research, best practice and a breadth of experience in the juvenile justice field.
Like most families, mine has been busy ending one financial year and beginning another. As soon as the Christmas decorations are removed, we begin collecting records for the coming tax season, reviewing last year’s expenditures and preparing for next year’s needs.
October is Youth Justice Awareness Month, and as consensus builds in the Senate and the House around the need for criminal justice reform, the effort to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) is gaining momentum.