Vera’s Center on Youth Justice (CYJ) works with policymakers and practitioners who want juvenile justice to be rooted in the community, more effective, and smaller in scale, touching the lives of fewer children.

Related Work

Juvenile Justice Systems Still Grappling with Legacy of the “Superpredator” Myth

In the 1990s, sociologists inaccurately predicted that there would be a wave of the dangerous “superpredators”—young people capable of profound violence and different from any we as a nation had seen before, based on the pseudo-scientific idea that there were young people who simply could not be reached, and who would remain unresponsive to even th...

Blog Post
  • Krista Larson
    Krista Larson
  • Hernan Carvente
    Hernan Carvente
January 24, 2017
Blog Post

Series: Gender and Justice in America

How the Criminalization of Adolescence Fuels the School-to-Prison Pipeline

In her new play on the school-to-prison pipeline, Notes from the Field, actress and playwright Anna Deveare Smith reenacts interviews with 17 people from the education and criminal justice systems. The school-to-prison pipeline is a national trend in which children are pushed out of public schools and into the juvenile justice system. Smith’s play ...

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  • Kristi  DiLallo
    Kristi DiLallo
January 17, 2017
Blog Post

Series: It Takes a Village

Collaboration is key when it comes to keeping kids out of the justice system

The title of our latest report on diversion strategies—“It Takes a Village”—is no accident. School administrators and teachers, law enforcement officials, service providers, and families all play key roles in keeping young people out of the juvenile justice system. Often, however, these groups are not effectively partnering with each other to find ...

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  • Erin  Dostal Kuller
    Erin Dostal Kuller
September 15, 2016
Blog Post

Series: It Takes a Village

Closing the schoolhouse door to the juvenile justice system

Schools can be a critical diversion point for young people at risk of entering the juvenile justice system, as detailed in Vera’s recent report on diversion strategies for youth. Exclusionary school disciplinary practices, such as suspensions or expulsions, make it significantly more likely that young people will be arrested in future years. School...

Blog Post
  • Erin  Dostal Kuller
    Erin Dostal Kuller
September 07, 2016
Blog Post

Series: It Takes a Village

It takes a village

Collaboration is key to keeping kids out of the juvenile justice system

15-year-old J.B. is involved in a minor scuffle at a park. Instead of arresting him, police call a local crisis response program to address the behavior. J.B. receives counseling and is enrolled in an action plan to improve his grades, joins an ROTC program, and begins working student concessions at basketball games. His academic and extracurricula...

Blog Post
  • Erin  Dostal Kuller
    Erin Dostal Kuller
June 30, 2016
Blog Post