On November 29, Connecticut justice counsel hosted a networking event to recognize justice for America’s youth at the University of New Haven. In attendance included the university’s Juvenile Justice Club, criminal justice professor Danielle Cooper and her Exploring Delinquency course, and representatives from the Tow Youth Justice Institute.
Cooper worked with his students, the Juvenile Justice Club, and legal advisers to form the guest panel for the event. The evening consisted of a turntable where students had the opportunity to speak to different professionals present in a small group setting. During each session, students were able to ask questions and initiate a discussion about youth justice in the current system.
Cooper said she was looking for some sort of “networking sandwich” for the night, where conversation was easy and students not only gained knowledge and ideas from the professionals in attendance, but also developed relationships with each other.
Among those in attendance was Destiny Tolliver, a pediatrician and associate involved in a health services scholarship at Yale University. She is currently working on improving the treatment of juvenile justice regarding the minimum age at which children can be arrested in the current system. Tolliver said in many areas young children are being arrested, which she and other professionals have said is dangerous to their development. Tolliver, along with others from a wide variety of backgrounds, had the opportunity to share his work with students seeking to integrate into the criminal justice system, primarily in the context of justice reform for men and women. youth.
Victoria Vancuran, a major in criminal justice, said many people do not understand what America’s youth have gone through and that there are many misconceptions about juvenile justice.
âWhat people see in the media; they could support him, or they could judge him, âVancuran said. âI have the impression that there are a lot of negative connotations towards young people in difficulty. It is important to recognize that they are just as important and that we should be educated about them.
Vancuran, can predict that she will have an impact on the youth justice community in college by continuing her education in criminal justice. She said: âFor all the young people who are currently struggling in the system, I would definitely advise them to speak to a specialist if they feel their mental health is affecting them. “
Victoria believes in the importance of “discussing these types of issues with young people so that further action can be taken seriously.”
Having had the opportunity to facilitate conversations on large-scale criminal justice issues, students and guests used their voices to speak on heavy topics.
Sergeant Shayna Kendall, deputy commander of the New Haven Police Department, said it is “not malice or intent” but rather “a lack of knowledge” that is the cause of a lack of knowledge. inclusion and equality in the current system. She also said that a “lack of communication with people and groups affected” by inequalities is one reason why no changes have been made.
For students who wish to become involved in the discussions and ongoing activities regarding the reform of the criminal justice system, resources can be found in the Tow Institute for Youth Justice and the Juvenile Justice Club.