Kristin Henning is the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown Law, where she supervises law students and represents youth accused of delinquency in the D.C. Superior Court. Professor Henning served as the Law School’s Associate Dean for Clinics and Experiential Learning from 2017-2020.
Professor Henning first joined the faculty in 1995 as a Stuart-Stiller Fellow in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinics. After her fellowship, Professor Henning joined the staff of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia where she continued to represent clients and helped organize a Juvenile Unit designed to meet the multi-disciplinary needs of children in the juvenile legal system. Professor Henning served as Lead Attorney for the Juvenile Unit from 1998 until she left the Public Defender Service to return to the Law Center in 2001.
Professor Henning writes extensively about race, adolescence, and policing. Her book THE RAGE OF INNOCENCE: HOW AMERICA CRIMINALIZES BLACK YOUTH was published by Penguin Random House in September 2021 and was featured on the front page of the New York Times Book Review and received rave reviews in the Washington Post. The book was awarded a 2022 Media for a Just Society Award by Evident Change and the 2022 Social Justice Advocacy Award from the In the Margins Book Awards Committee. Her previous work appears in journals and books such as POLICING THE BLACK MAN: ARREST, PROSECUTION AND IMPRISONMENT (2017, edited by Angela J. Davis) and PUNISHMENT IN POPULAR CULTURE (2015, edited by Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. and Austin Sarat). Race features prominently in her articles such as The Reasonable Black Child: Race, Adolescence and the Fourth Amendment, 67 AM. U. L. REV. 1513 (2018), Race, Paternalism and the Right to Counsel, 54 AMER. CRIM. L. REV. 649 (2017), and Criminalizing Normal Adolescent Behavior in Communities of Color: The Role of Prosecutors in Juvenile Justice Reform, 98 CORNELL L. REV. 383 (2013). Professor Henning is also an editor and co-author of an anthology RIGHTS, RACE, AND REFORM: FIFTY YEARS OF CHILD ADVOCACY IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM (2018).
Professor Henning has trained state actors across the country on the nature and scope of racial bias and how it operates in the juvenile and criminal legal systems. Her workshops help stakeholders recognize their own biases and develop strategies to counter it and equip defenders to challenge racial injustice in their individual case advocacy and broader systemic reform efforts. Professor Henning also worked closely with the McArthur Foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network to develop a 41-volume Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP), a national training curriculum for juvenile defenders. She now co-hosts, with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), an annual week-long JTIP summer academy for defenders. In 2019, she partnered with NJDC to launch Racial Justice for Youth: A Toolkit for
Defenders, and again in 2020 to launch the Ambassadors for Racial Justice program, a year-long program for defenders committed to challenging racial inequities in the juvenile legal system. Henning serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Children’s Law and Policy and is the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center. She has served as an expert consultant on juvenile justice to a number of state and federal agencies, including the USDOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and was the Reporter for the ABA Task Force on Dual Jurisdiction Youth. She is also a lead contributor to the Juvenile Law and Practice chapter of the District of Columbia Bar Practice Manual and has served as an investigator in eight state assessments of the access to counsel and quality of representation for accused youth.
Professor Henning is the recipient of several honors, including the Juvenile Law Center’s Leadership Prize, the Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense from NJDC, the Shanara Gilbert Award from the American Association of Law Schools for her commitment to justice on behalf of children, selection to the American Law Institute (ALI), and appointment as an Adviser to ALI’s Restatement on Children and the Law project. Henning received her B.A. from Duke University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an LL.M. from Georgetown Law.
Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals
Selected Contributions to Other Publications
Book Chapters & Collected Works
"Commentary: As a white teen I got second chances, but may Black teens don't," coverage in The Eagle-Tribune, August 18, 2022, featuring Professor Kristin Henning.
"Attorney for children talks about her book," coverage in LimaOhio.com, March 4, 2022, featuring Professor Kristin Henning.
"How a single case challenged the LA prosecutor’s reform agenda: ‘Nobody is happy'," coverage in The Guardian, February 26, 2022, featuring Professor Kristin Nicole Henning.
"Two High-Powered Black Attorneys Confront a Justice System’s Flaws," coverage in The New York Times, January 14, 2022, featuring Professor Kristin Henning.