News & Special Events

 March 27, 2018

beyond the walls

Last week Rights4Girls and the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative released our new report, Beyond the Walls: A Look at Girls in D.C.’s Juvenile Justice System, which examines girls' increased contact with the juvenile justice system in D.C. While largely tracking with national trends, the data from D.C. was even more startling in some cases. Some of our key findings from the report include:

  • In the past decade, as boys' arrests have fallen, girls' arrests in D.C. have nearly doubled (increased 87%)
  • Black girls are arrested at rates 30 times that of white girls and boys
  • 97% of girls committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) custody are Black
  • 86% of arrests of girls in D.C. are for non-violent, non-weapons offenses
  • 60% of girls arrested in D.C. are under age 15
The full report can be found here.

Please help us spread the word by using the below graphics and sample social media posts to help shed light on what's happening with #DCGirlsinJJ!

 For Twitter and Facebook:

Why have girls’ arrests in DC increased dramatically at the same time boys’ arrests have fallen? Check out a new report from @rights4girls & @GeorgetownJJI to learn more about #DCGirlsinJJ.  [attach below graphic]

DC girls 1
Most girls who lose their freedom in DC’s juvenile justice system pose no danger to public safety. 97% of them are Black. Check out a new report from @rights4girls & @GeorgetownJJI to learn more about #DCGirlsinJJ. [attach below graphic]

DC girls 2
The overwhelming majority of girls pushed into DC’s juvenile justice system are Black. Check out a new report from @rights4girls & @GeorgetownJJI to learn more about #DCGirlsinJJ. [attach below graphic]

DC girls 3
Arrests of girls ages 15 and younger are a main driver of girls into DC’s juvenile justice system. Check out a new report from @rights4girls & @GeorgetownJJI to learn more about #DCGirlsinJJ. [attach below graphic]

DC Girls 4

Black girls in DC are arrested at a rate 30 times that of white youth. Check out a new report from @rights4girls & @GeorgetownJJI to learn more about #DCGirlsinJJ. [attach below graphic]

Girls Report 5

We cannot further improve the DC juvenile justice system without addressing the needs of girls. Check out a new report from @rights4girls & @GeorgetownJJI to learn more: #DCGirlsinJJ  [use with any of the above graphics]


 March 1, 2018

LOUD Brown Girls

On Saturdays throughout March and April, L.O.U.D. Brown Girls will host eight workshops on issues affecting system-involved girls to give teenage participants the tools to advocate for themselves. Topics will include the adultification of girls of color, school pushout and over-policing, sex trafficking prevention, juvenile detention reform, restorative justice, advocacy career paths, social media advocacy, and much more. All of the sessions will have girls on their feet, sharing their opinions, and learning tangible skills! Ultimately, we will inspire young ladies to be L.O.U.D. Brown Girls—lifting their voices, overcoming obstacles, and uniting for decriminalization. 

Girls of color ages 13 to 19 who have observed the juvenile and/or criminal system through their own experiences or the experiences of someone they know (e.g. a parent, sibling, friend etc.) may apply. Youth who are interested in learning about law and advocacy in the context of the juvenile and criminal justice system may also apply.  We will select 15 young ladies for the program and there is no cost to participate. Lunches and metro fare will be provided.

Youth who attend at least six of the eight sessions will also receive a $50 stipend at the conclusion of the program. 

Download the application hereYouth may nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else. Handwritten applications will be accepted. 

Please contact Erin Keith, Esq. at with any additional questions. 

 July 24, 2017

Kris at Politics and Prose

Professor Kris Henning Discusses Chapter in New Book Policing Black the Black Man at Politics and Prose

JJC Director Kris Henning presented alongside Professor Angela Davis on the recently released book Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment at Politics and Prose on July 24, 2017. Professor Henning participated in a reading and talk-back about her chapter Boys to Men: The Role of Policing in the Socialization of Black Boys. Watch the panel discussion here: The book is available here:


CJCC's logo

The Juvenile Justice Initiative Selected to Receive CJCC Juvenile Justice Leadership Award!

The Juvenile Justice Initiative at Georgetown Law been nominated and selected to receive the Juvenile Justice Leadership Award at the 8th Annual Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) Juvenile Justice Summit.  According to the CJCC, "The CJCC Juvenile Justice Awards recognize outstanding collaborations, individual organizations, and juvenile justice professionals who make exceptional efforts towards improving outcomes for system involved youth and their families in the District of Columbia.  The Juvenile Justice Leadership Award recognizes a District agency or community-based organization that has 1) substantially contributed to the improvement of the District juvenile justice system, 2) provided leadership or resources to address juvenile delinquency, and 3) has a record of outstanding youth service provision.  All award nominations were evaluated and selected by an independent panel of judges." 


Erin Keith Professional

Congratulations to Erin Keith, 2017-2018 NJJN Fellow

Erin Keith, our Juvenile Justice Defense and Policy Fellow, has been chosen to be part of the National Juvenile Justice Network's Youth Justice Leadership Institute in 2017-2018.

According to NJJN, "Each year, NJJN invites a diverse class of advocates and organizers with proven leadership potential to continue their advocacy efforts for juvenile justice system reform as Youth Justice Leadership Institute (YJLI) Fellows. During the year-long fellowship, fellows gain knowledge about juvenile justice system structures and reform needs, learn about effective advocacy and organizing techniques necessary to achieve system change, and are mentored by advocates who are already steadily advancing system reforms." 

As part of her NJJN fellowship, Erin will complete a project in the Clinic, L.O.U.D. Brown Girls. The L.O.U.D. Brown Girls Initiative will develop a curriculum and train girls of color to become advocates for juvenile justice reform. 

The goal of the L.O.U.D. Brown Girls Initiative is to empower girls of color who have touched the juvenile justice system to transform the system by advocating against the continued overcriminalization of minority girls. In a society where young women of color are often stereotyped as loud, angry, and recalcitrant, the initiative will demonstrate that these characteristics are actually skills for passionate juvenile justice reformers, who must be outspoken, determined, and strong-willed to get their objectives accomplished. L.O.U.D. Brown Girls will host a series of interactive policy workshops about issues affecting system-involved girls to give our teenage participants the tools to advocate for themselves. At the end of the workshop series, the girls, as a collective, will select a topic and develop their own policy presentation, concrete recommendations, and social media campaign to reform an aspect of the juvenile justice system. It is our duties as advocates, not only to fight on behalf of the youth we serve, but to also fight with them, by giving them the information, training, and confidence to lift their own voices against overcriminalization.  

Learn more about all of the NJJN/YJLI fellows by clicking here

Congratulations Erin! 

Right to Remain Children

On May 16, the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, in partnership with the National Juvenile Defender Center, hosted an interdisciplinary symposium on race and juvenile justice to commemorate the 50th anniversary of In re Gault, the seminal case that guaranteed accused youth the right to appointed counsel. Fifty years after Gault, the overcriminalization of youth of color continues to be one of the greatest challenges facing the juvenile system. Through a series of impactful talks and corresponding panels, featuring renowned criminal and juvenile justice thought leaders, the symposium challenged the persistence of racial injustice in the juvenile system and advanced ongoing efforts.

You can view a recording of the full day of presentations at



MAJDC Rural Ambassadors Program Launches

The Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center (MAJDC) at the Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic is proud to announce the launch of our inaugural class of the MAJDC Rural Ambassadors Program. The MAJDC Rural Ambassadors Program seeks to incentivize rural attorneys to specialize and pursue a career in juvenile defense by providing 12 months of training, support, and an opportunity to engage with a community of zealous juvenile defenders. Through the program, we hope to inspire enthusiastic, dedicated frontline juvenile defenders in isolated areas throughout our region to take a leadership role in improving the quality of juvenile defense in their respective counties and courthouses.

Five juvenile defenders who practice in rural areas joined us September 23-25, 2016 here at Georgetown Law for a kick-off weekend program. These juvenile defenders learned about the cutting edge areas for advocacy in juvenile defense including adolescent development, racial justice, and the reasonable juvenile standard. Defenders were also tasked with designing a project they will complete over the course of the coming year. Applicants were selected through a competitive application and nomination process. As part of the program, participants will participate in monthly webinars and conference calls, will be mentored by two mentors at the national and state levels, will complete a policy, training, or community building project in their home jurisdiction, and will attend the JTIP Summer Academy 2017.


MAJDC Rural Ambassadors 2016-17

From left to right: Athelyn Jimenez joined us from the Sociedad Para Asistencia Legal in Puerto Rico where she practices on the Northwestern shore. Julie Hensley is a court-appointed delinquency attorney practicing in the Southwest region of Virginia. Teresa McCune is a public defender who practices in Southern West Virginia. Kisha Petticolas is a public defender who practices on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Michelle Miller is a public defender who practices in Winchester City, Virginia, two hours Northwest of Washington, DC.   

Dash Human Rights Conference Explores the Protection of Children
under International and Domestic Law

Dr. Susan Bissell at HRI

Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Clinic and Human Rights Institute partnered on April 11 to host the annual Samuel Dash Conference on Human Rights, this year entitled “Protecting the Rights of Children: International Norms and Domestic Opportunities.”

Professor Andrew I. Schoenholtz, who directs the Human Rights Institute, opened the day’s program by highlighting the fact that rights activists have continued their important work despite the United States’ outlier status as the only UN member state not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. During the morning panel, Georgetown Law students from the Human Rights Institute Fact-Finding Project formally released their report, “Ensuring Every Undocumented Student Succeeds: A Report on Access to Public Education for Undocumented Children.”  

The keynote address was presented by Dr. Susan Bissell, who directs the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Dr. Bissell used the opportunity to reflect on her many years of working within UNICEF to protect children from violence and emphasized that “we must help children live completely, wholly, safely, and with dignity.” Speaking of the new Sustainable Development Goals, she noted that “the rallying cry is clear; we need and want to create a world where it is safe to be a child.

Leading the afternoon panel of children’s rights experts, Professor Wally Mlyniec provided an overview of the international legal framework protecting children – and noted that while the United States has not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the process can often take many years because of the multiple steps required under a federal system of government. He also acknowledged the political realities of the current moment.

The afternoon discussion featured a number of prominent experts who work to protect the rights of children across a range of practice areas, including Georgetown Law Alumna Amy Fettig of the American Civil Liberties Union, Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center, Maria Woltjen of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and Margaret Wurth of Human Rights Watch. Each of the discussants brought their own experiences and perspectives and engaged with the students, faculty, and practitioners in attendance on the substantive and political opportunities and challenges facing the children’s rights movement.

In closing the program, Christine James-Brown joined the conference as a member of the Steering Committee of the Campaign for the U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On behalf of the Campaign, Ms. James-Brown announced a new #SendtheCRC initiative designed to urge the Obama Administration to send the Convention to the Senate before the end of the year.

The entire conference can be viewed here.



Juvenile Justice Clinic Celebrates Mlyniec, Henning and an Anniversary

JJC 40th Anniversary

June 9, 2015 —

“I remember various investigations and misadventures,” one alumna wrote of her days as a student in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Another alum recalled his clients. But the fondest memories were reserved for those who made the clinic what it is today: Professors Wally Mlyniec (L'70) and Kris Henning (LL.M.'97).

One hundred and seventy alumni and friends of the Juvenile Justice Clinic returned to Georgetown Law on the evening of Saturday, June 6, to celebrate a long-awaited “40-ish” anniversary of the clinic, which launched during the 1973-1974 academic year. Phil Inglima (C’84, L’88) served as master of ceremonies for the celebration, which featured reminisces and reflections from Mlyniec, Henning, Dean William M. Treanor, former Dean Judy Areen, Associate Dean Jane Aiken and many clinic alumni. 

Areen recalled how the early 1970s were a changing and often turbulent time: Cambodia, Kent State, Watergate, Nixon’s resignation. Against this backdrop Areen, charged with hiring a director for the groundbreaking new clinic, chose Mlyniec, who was then just a few years out of law school. Today, he’s a leader in clinical education, the Lupo-Ricci professor of clinical legal studies and former associate dean for Georgetown Law’s top-ranked clinical programs.

Mlyniec said that Areen’s vision became “larger than [we] could imagine,” having a 40-year impact on the law, legal education, Georgetown itself and, of course, the lives of so many.

“They haunt the deepest parts of our minds…” Mlyniec said of the juvenile clinic clients, some of whom are between 50 and 60 years old today. “We don’t know what happens to them; all we can do is hope for the best.”

Thousands of young people over the years have been represented by more than 600 Georgetown Law students, including the Hon. Mary Lupo (L’74), the first student to be selected for the clinic in 1973; supporters Lynn Hiestand (L’75) and Elizabeth Weiser (C’86, L’92); 42 E. Barrett Prettyman fellows; and Lauren Dollar (L’13), the clinic’s first and current juvenile defense and policy fellow.

Former students described some of their experiences in the clinic in a video; others wrote down their memories on cards that graced the dinner tables. Representatives from 36 of the 42 clinic classes showed up in person.

“You worked hard, and I was sometimes hard on you … sometimes you won and sometimes you lost, but you always fought the good fight,” Mlyniec told the crowd. “You fought the good fight for beleaguered young children whose lives are buffeted every day from every side, children who deserve more.”

The future

Aiken, the associate dean for experiential education, made the bittersweet announcement that as of July 1, Mlyniec will be stepping down as director and assuming the role of senior counsel. Henning, who served as a Prettyman-Stiller Fellow at Georgetown Law during 1995-97 and returned to Georgetown in 2001 to co-direct the Juvenile Justice Clinic, will take over as director. 

Henning — who received a standing ovation and much praise along with Mlyniec and longtime executive assistant Wanda Duarte — described the work of the clinic going forward, including the new Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative to train practicing attorneys and shape policy. (For more information, click here.) “The end game is to win for all the kids,” Henning said.

As Areen noted, the actions we take today might be still sending ripples into the future 40 years later.  “I did the indispensable thing … I hired Wally Mlyniec, …” she said. “I want to wish you the joy of celebrating 40 years from now something you are working on today.”



The Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic has published a guide to sealing juvenile records in the District of Columbia. The manual is available to juvenile defenders, as well as to youth and their families. The manual includes an outline of the various statutory mechanisms by which one can seal juvenile records in DC, the reasons to seal your record, sample motions, and step-by-step instructions. Please contact Lauren Dollar at to request a copy. 

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