Public Defense Improvement Program

Juvenile Defense

Webinars and Videos 


Reconsidering Decision-Making in the Juvenile Court System Through the Lens of Our Racial History: A Discussion with Professors Kristin Henning and Geoff Ward.

On August 12, 2021, NJDC and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges hosted a discussion with noted professors Kristin Henning of Georgetown Law and Geoff Ward of Washington University in St. Louis, about the historical impact of racism and bias on the juvenile court system and the trauma that flows to youth of color as a result.

The historical structures of racism are threaded into our courts, and examining the history of race in juvenile courts will inform decisions about young people of color whose lives are impacted both by the history of racism and by the current context of racism in our nation. The lived experiences of youth of color demonstrate that racism and bias are in the foundation of the juvenile legal system, with disastrous consequences for young people. To truly contend with the impact of structural racism on youth in courts, juvenile court judges and decisionmakers should be armed with information about how racism was implanted in the system and how structural racism thrives today, and must have opportunities to acknowledge and grapple with the American legacy of racism that continues to drive the legal system.

At this virtual event, Professors Kristin Henning and Geoff Ward explored how racism and bias play out in the lives of youth of color, using real-life examples. This discussion was the inaugural event to launch the Judicial Racial Justice Network (JRJN) – a six-month program for juvenile court judges who want to learn about the impact of racism on the juvenile legal system and develop strategies to address racial disparities in their respective jurisdictions.  Video exitingwebsite | Resources exitingwebsite


No Baby in this Bathwater: Juvenile Sex Offender Registration is Failed Policy

A concise review exitingwebsite of the research on the juvenile sex offender registration by a leading scholar from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau.  Her research shows that registration of juveniles does not accomplish the stated goals of public safety and accountability, but does result in very harmful consequences for youth on the registry.  These consequences handicap the youth in achieving a productive life by limiting educational, social and employment opportunities. Video | Slides


A Developmental Framework for Juvenile Cases

Presented by Dr. Marty Beyer. This one-hour session will address the impact of immaturity, disabilities, and trauma on youth facing criminal charges. The class also focuses on designing developmentally-sound rehabilitation services for each adolescent. Click here to view.exitingwebsite


Consequences of Juvenile Adjudications

Juvenile court involvement substantially impacts the life of youth and their families – beyond direct consequences such as detention, probation, and restitution. Having a juvenile court record can impact youths’ opportunities in areas such as housing, education, employment, and healthcare. With grant funds received from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, OPD developed a series of web videos to help youth, their families, and people working in the juvenile justice system better understand these collateral consequences, and help youth achieve success. 

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