08Feb

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Public Web Event to Highlight New Youth Justice Reforms/Recommendations for Biden Administration

A unique public web event will highlight how a community-based, love-centered continuum of care can serve as an alternative to ineffective youth justice approaches that disproportionately harm Black and Brown youth. The virtual forum, Feb. 25, from 12 noon to 1:30 pm ET, will feature leading U.S. youth justice leaders and advocates and a young man who delivers transformative services that not long ago supported his community re-entry.

The virtual event aims to enhance understanding of the urgency of youth justice reform and lead to recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration to champion.

Panelists include District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Director Clinton Lacey, youth justice reform pioneer Carey Cockerell, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice Director of Community Engagement Retha Onitiri, and Raequan McIver, who spent four years incarcerated as a youth and now works with Washington DC young people as a Credible Messenger- mentor. Michael Umpierre, Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, will moderate the discussion.

The discussion is the final of a three-part series, On the Road to Unlocked!: Investing in Our Children and Communities. The Social Justice Initiative at Bryn Mawr College (SJI), which utilizes its four pathways to co-create a just world for all, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., which provides alternatives to youth incarceration, and National Human Services Assembly (NHSA) are the sponsors.

More About the Presenters:

Carey Cockerell served more than 45 years as a youth justice leader at state and county levels before his recent retirement. His career included bringing significant systems change as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice and Director of the Tarrant County Juvenile Probation Department.

Clinton Lacey is Director of the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), DC’s cabinet-level juvenile justice agency. He has served as a youth justice systems leader and reformer for more than two decades. He was also a project manager with the W. Haywood Burns Institute, working across the nation with stakeholders engaged in addressing racial disparities in youth justice systems. As a director of the Youth Justice Program at Vera Institute of Justice, he oversaw a technical assistance project focused on the reform of New York State’s youth justice policies.

Retha Onitiri is the Director of Community Engagement at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. She leads the 150 Years is Enough campaign, which seeks to transform her state’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care by closing youth prisons and reinvesting in a community-based system of care. She is also building a coalition for change on issues related to criminal justice, economic mobility, and civic engagement.

Raequan McIver, now 23, moved frequently as a child and fell behind in school. By age eight, he struggled to read and began acting out. Arrested multiple times as a youth, he was in a secure facility at age 15 where he taught himself to read. Four years later, a Washington DC DYRS Credible Messenger supported his community re-entry. He helped McIver get a driver’s permit, a GED tutor, and in 2019, advocated for him to get a job as a Credible Messenger on his team.

Previous Unlocked! series presenters included CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, who at the time served as president and CEO of the St. Louis, MO-based Deaconess Foundation, and Founding Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) Dr. Fania Davis.

Please click this link to register to attend the virtual event.

Note: The virtual series is co-sponsored by Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR) for a maximum of 1.5 credit hours. Bryn Mawr College GSSWSR, as a CSWE accredited School of Social Work, is a pre-approved provider of continuing education for Social Workers, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists in Pennsylvania and many other states.

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