Citizens for Juvenile Justice
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Taking Care of Our Own

Juvenile Justice Forum • July 12, 2011

CfJJ hosted a Juvenile Justice Forum at the Boston Bar Association featuring Professor Simon Singer of Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Professor Singer discussed the importance of expanding the scope of juvenile justice research and emphasized the need for greater exploration of processes in the affluent and “safe” suburbs that rarely send children to the juvenile justice system. Sharing his research on how geography, socioeconomic status, and race affect children’s access to delinquency prevention, treatment, and diversion programs, Professor Singer prompted a lively conversation with the audience.

Participants explored the complexities of what Singer termed “geographic justice,” discussing the possibilities and challenges of bringing effective suburban programs into low-income, inner-city communities. To begin to tackle the difficulties of successfully implementing these programs with city youth, Singer discussed the need to reframe the juvenile justice debate into one about public health and access to treatment and rehabilitative services, rather than one focused on criminalization of juvenile offenders.

During the discussion, attendees offered recommendations for how to better provide youth with equal access to justice. Individuals urged better data collection, increased research, and statewide standards for diversionary programs.

Professor Singer's Presentation

Simon I Singer is a professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. He has received several awards for his research on juvenile justice. His book Recriminalizing Delinquency: Violent Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice Reform (Cambridge University Press, 1996) won the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Scholar Award. His research has been funded numerous agencies including the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. His research has focused on impoverished inner city youths and most recently on affluent suburban youths.