Fall 2012 Symposium


The Risks and Benefits of Early Intervention with Justice-Involved Youth

Prevention and early intervention efforts with youthful offenders are often criticized as doing more harm than good. When communities intervene too early in the cycle of youth offending, young people may be drawn into the formal justice system prematurely. More than half the youth referred to justice authorities a first time will stop delinquent behavior on their own, before they are affected by the stigma of justice involvement. When communities place too much emphasis on avoiding the risk of over-intervention, however, they miss the equally important opportunity to work with youth at the earliest stages of delinquency, the very time when they are most likely to respond to services and supports. How can youth justice officials navigate such competing risks? Is there a role for researchers in meeting this challenge?


Michael Little, Dartington Research Unit (L) and Jeffrey Butts, John Jay College

Balancing the Risks and Benefits of Youth Justice Interventions
Michael Little, Ph.D. – Dartington Social Research Unit
Trained as a social psychologist and sociologist, Michael Little holds professorial positions at the universities of Bath and Exeter and is Visiting Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. He is author of more than 10 books and over 100 other publications on child development and services aimed at reducing social need.

Dr. Little’s remarks were followed by two discussion panels facilitated by Dr. Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College.

Panel #1:
Can the Use of Evidence-based Programs Eliminate the Risks of Early Intervention?
David Brown, M.P.A. – Annie E. Casey Foundation
Evan Elkin, Ph.D. – Vera Institute of Justice
Michael Maxfield, Ph.D. – John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Sonja Okun, M.B.A. – Exalt, New York City

Ann Jacobs, John Jay College

Panel #2:
The Research Base for Early Intervention: What do we Know and What do we Need to Know?”
Shay Bilchik, J.D. – Georgetown University (former Administrator of the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
Janice Johnson Dias, Ph.D. – John Jay College of Criminal Justice and GrassROOTS Foundation
Lila Kazemian, Ph.D. – John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Caterina Roman, Ph.D. – Temple University

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
9th Floor Conference Room
New York, New York 10019

David Brown, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Evan Elkin, Vera Institute of Justice

Sonja Okun, exalt

Tia Fletcher, CUNY Graduate Center and Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellow

Caterina Roman, Temple University and Shay Bilchik, Georgetown University

 All photos by PAP Studio