On December 5, 2013, CfJJ celebrated its 19th year of advocating for a fair and effective juvenile justice system that promotes positive outcomes for children and youth.
Honoree: Thomas Grisso, Ph.D., Director of Law and Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, a distinguished researcher and teacher whose work on improving forensic evaluations and informing policy and law for youths in the juvenile justice system has been widely influential.
Keynote Speaker: T.J. Parsell, filmmaker, author, and human rights activist whose book, “Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison,” is drawing attention to the special vulnerability to assault of juveniles who are incarcerated with adults.
CfJJ's 2013 Leadership Celebration drew over a hundred guests to the Boston Bar Association to network with friends and colleagues from across the state, enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared and served by students from Madison Park High School, and to honor and learn from leaders in our field. We had a special reason to celebrate this year – the signing of legislation to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 in Massachusetts on September 18, 2013. We were so pleased to have the opportunity to acknowledge all the people and organizations that were a part of our Justice for Kids campaign, and to celebrate this victory with them.
We presented CfJJ’s Leadership Award to Dr. Thomas Grisso, a distinguished researcher and teacher and the Director of Law and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School, for his lifetime of work on improving forensic evaluations and informing policy and law for youths in the juvenile justice system. Our keynote speaker was T.J. Parsell, a filmmaker, author, and human rights activist drawing attention to the special vulnerability to assault of juveniles who are incarcerated with adults. A victim of this kind of assault himself, Mr. Parsell’s remarks were poignant and deeply moving, particularly in light of Massachusetts’ recent raise the age victory. Both speakers inspired us with their accounts of how far we have come in juvenile justice reform, and left us feeling energized to continue to work for change.
The evening was also the occasion of the release of our new report, Data•Points: Current Trends. As Executive Director Naoka Carey noted in her opening remarks, the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in our system is one of the issues to which CfJJ is turning its sights as we enter our 20th year of advocacy. Current Trends offers a glimpse of the thousands of youth who travel through our juvenile court system each year with an overview of the age, race and ethnicity, and gender of these youth. We are hopeful that, by highlighting these disparities, this report will inspire a more informed and thoughtful discussion of how best to improve our system so that it ensures that all of our youth have an opportunity to succeed.
Thank you to all those who supported this year's Celebration and CfJJ's advocacy for a fair and effective juvenile justice system - and special thanks to our generous sponsors, listed below.