December 4, 2008
On December 4, 2008, CfJJ welcomed a crowd of more than 100 juvenile justice supporters to its annual Leadership Celebration at the Boston Bar Association. CfJJ Executive Director Lael Chester opened the event by describing three developments over the past year that deserve to be celebrated: progress in the struggle to improve data collection in the juvenile justice system, the inclusion of the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the MacArthur Foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, and the appointment of Gail Garinger as the first Child Advocate in Massachusetts. She then presented CfJJ’s Leadership Awards to McDermott Will & Emery and the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts for their unique partnership and groundbreaking work together to end life without parole for juveniles in Massachusetts. Peter Resnik, Melissa Nott Davis, and Dan Curto accepted the award on behalf of McDermott Will & Emery and Jay McManus, Barbara Kaban, and Lia Monahon accepted the award for the Children’s Law Center. Peter spoke movingly about the inhumanity of life without parole sentences for juveniles, which are contrary to our understanding of the diminished culpability of children and their greater potential for rehabilitation.
Keynote speaker Liz Ryan, President and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice, emphasized the importance, and impact, of state-level juvenile justice reform efforts led by groups like CfJJ and the fact that the policy pendulum does seem to be moving away from harshly punitive approaches modeled on the adult criminal system toward rehabilitative approaches which have been shown to be not only more humane but more effective. CfJJ Board President Bill Lyttle concluded the Celebration with thanks to all – and a call for continued robust support of CfJJ’s independent advocacy.
The event was catered by the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School Catering Club and supported by Platinum Sponsor Proskauer Rose LLP; Gold Sponsors McDermott Will & Emery and Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps; Silver Sponsors Community Resources for Justice, Justice Resource Institute, Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Massachusetts MENTOR, Mintz Levin, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. and YouthBuild Boston; and Bronze Sponsors Center for Human Development, Communities for People, EDC, Key Program, NFI Massachusetts, Inc., Old Colony YMCA, Rodman Ride for Kids, and Wheelock College.