Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Initiative, Georgetown ASK Program Honored

August 14, 2017

Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI) received the Juvenile Justice Leadership Award at the 8th Annual Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) Juvenile Justice Summit in Washington, D.C., on August 11.

Associate Dean Kristin Henning (LL.M.’97), the director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic who has spearheaded JJI at the Law Center, accepted the award from CJCC Executive Director Mannone Butler (C’95, L’99).

“We are so honored to be recognized by CJCC, which has been a longstanding advocate for juvenile justice reform, racial equity and accountability…” Henning said. “At Georgetown, we are inspired by the work of CJCC…but we know that the work is far from done.”

One of JJI’s current projects is to develop a series of resources that stakeholders can use to think more strategically about racial justice, she said. “We stand here committed, more than ever, to engage outside of the courthouse and into the community, and think about ways to partner with the communities and families that we serve.”

A separate Exemplary Public Service Award went to Gina L. Bulett, program director for the After School Kids (ASK) program and assistant director for Youth Justice Programs at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice — for her “tireless support” of youth. ASK serves teens in the D.C. metropolitan area, who are looking to make positive strides in their lives and to be catalysts for change in their community.

“I hope we can all continue the collaboration so that every District youth knows that there is a path towards a future that is very bright,” Bulett said.

Social Justice

Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor has praised JJI for “embodying Georgetown’s commitment to academic excellence and social justice.”

“We are proud that Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Initiative — under the leadership of Professor Kristin Henning — is receiving this important award,” Treanor said.

The CJCC Juvenile Justice Leadership Award recognizes a District of Columbia agency or community-based organization that has substantially contributed to the improvement of the District juvenile justice system, provided leadership or resources to address juvenile delinquency and has a record of outstanding youth service provision.

Georgetown Law has long been a pioneer with respect to juvenile justice scholarship, training, advocacy and direct representation. Founded in 1973 by Professor Wallace Mlyniec (L’70) and former Dean Judy Areen, the Juvenile Justice Clinic has represented countless youth arrested in the District of Columbia and trained more than 600 students, many of whom pursued careers in juvenile justice.

In 2015, Georgetown Law created the Juvenile Justice Initiative to tackle the most pressing issues in the juvenile justice system, including the overcriminalization of youth, racial and socioeconomic disparities and inadequate legal representation.

Juvenile Justice Initiative

JJI’s work includes programs such as the D.C. Panel Trial Practice Group, supporting the private court-appointed juvenile defense bar with training and resource development; and the Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP), an intensive week-long summer training academy for juvenile defenders from across the country. JJI is also home to the Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center (MAJDC), supporting practicing juvenile defenders in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico).

Recent accomplishments include publishing resources for juvenile defenders in DC and Maryland; providing legal expertise and testimony to aid in the development of landmark D.C. juvenile justice legislation; producing the manual “A Clean Slate: Sealing Juvenile Records” for the D.C. juvenile defense bar; and facilitating implicit racial bias workshops for multiple juvenile justice stakeholders.

“We have helped to change the law in D.C. for the better; we have changed legal education, becoming a model for the integration of theory and practice,” Mlyniec says. “Most importantly, we have touched the lives of so many young people who deserved better than the hand life dealt them.”