Spring 2013 Symposium


With the support of the Pinkerton Foundation, New York, NY
April 18, 2013

KMuhammad pic shadow

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street, New York, NY
2nd Floor Dining Hall

See images from the Symposium


The Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative at John Jay College of Criminal Justice hosted its second youth justice symposium on April 18, 2013. The topic was evidence-based policy and practice in youth justice, but the symposium did not address this topic in the traditional way. Rather than focusing on which programs or policies are supported by research evidence, or reviewing methods for implementing and managing evidence-based programs, the Pinkerton Fellowship symposium examined the consequences of evidence-based policy and practice for youth and communities.

Participants explored a number of critical questions:

iStock_000017291052Small• What are the consequences of an evidence-based approach to funding youth justice service providers?

• If state and local governments restrict grants and contracts to evidence-based programs, will this end up inhibiting innovation?

• If a program is not evidence-based, does that mean it is an ineffective program?

• Should we protect agencies that might be effective but that don’t yet have solid evidence?

• If governments insist on evidence-based contractors, which program models will be excluded, and is that ok?

• If we award contracts to programs with little evidence, how long should we wait for those agencies to prove their worth?

• Is it just a regrettable, but necessary stage of development that some contracting agencies will go out of business because they are difficult to evaluate?

• If we relax our standards to provide funding for innovative, but unproven programs, will some agencies get contracts merely because their services sound good, whether or not they are capable of delivering on their promises?

• How do we balance the desire for proven evidence with the need to develop new and improved program models?

• Perhaps most importantly, do the consequences of this struggle over evidence-based policy fall disproportionately on community-based agencies from disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color?

Audience members heard a diverse group of professionals debate these important questions. All of the discussants were actively engaged in shaping future justice systems in New York City and New York State. They considered the implications and consequences of evidence-based policy and practice in three panel discussions and interacted with members of the audience in open conversation.

8:30—9:00    Registration and light breakfast

9:00—9:10    Welcoming comments and introductory statements

9:10—10:00    Panel 1

How do Evidence-Based Programs Become Evidence-Based?
Facilitator: Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

JTravis pic shadowJeremy Travis is President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Prior to his appointment, he was a Senior Fellow affiliated with the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and before that he directed the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to his service in Washington, Travis was Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from 1990-1994; Chief Counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice in 1990, chaired by then-Rep. Charles E. Schumer; Special Advisor to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch from 1986-89; and Special Counsel to the Police Commissioner of the NYPD from 1984-86. Jeremy graduated from Yale College and he holds a JD from the New York University School of Law and an MPA from the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.


JAdams pic shadowC. Jama Adams is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is a licensed clinical psychologist who worked for many years as a clinician in pre-school special education and in foster care agencies. Jama is also trained and practices as an organizational consultant. He has published on issues related to working successfully with adolescents and men of Africana heritage, and on organizational issues. He earned the Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
JButts pic shadowJeffrey A. Butts is Director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY). Previously, Jeff was a research fellow with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, director of the Program on Youth Justice at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and senior research associate at the National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh. He graduated from the University of Oregon, has an M.S.W from Portland State University, and he earned the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
RLeventhal pic shadowRebecca Leventhal is a Director at Social Finance where she focuses on criminal justice and education solutions and leads deal teams to structure and develop social impact bonds and other innovative financing. Prior to Social Finance, she worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and before that she was an ambassador for President Clinton in support of his political, charitable, and personal work. Rebecca began her career at Merrill Lynch. She holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in social studies from Harvard College.
ALiberman pic shadowAkiva M. Liberman is Senior Fellow in the Justice Policy Center of the Urban Institute. Previously, he managed research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and before that at the National Institute of Justice. Akiva served on the scientific team that conducted systematic reviews of intervention effectiveness in reducing or preventing youth violence for the CDC- sponsored Guide to Community Preventive Services. He earned the Ph.D. in social psychology from New York University.

10:00—10:10   Break

10:10—11:00   Panel 2

Can Our Focus on Evidence Become Counterproductive?
Facilitator: Jeffrey Butts, John Jay College of Criminal Justice



RAustria pic shadowRev. Rubén S. Austria is Founder and Executive Director of Community Connections for Youth, a Bronx-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering grassroots faith and neighborhood organizations to develop effective community-driven alternatives to incarceration. Rubén earned bachelors and masters degrees from Cornell University, and he attended the Institute for Non-Profit Management at Columbia University. He was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2007.
MPeterson pic shadowMarlon Peterson is Associate Director of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, a project of the Center for Court Innovation, and he was the founding program coordinator for the Center’s youth program, Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (Y.O.S.O.S). Previously, he served as youth coordinator of Families for Freedom, an immigrant advocacy organization. Marlon received his Associates Degree in criminal justice from Ashworth University and he is currently completing a B.S. in organizational behavior and change at New York University.
GHorowitz-Prisco pic shadowGabrielle Horowitz-Prisco is Director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York. She is a former Legal Aid attorney and a frequent public speaker on youth justice. She participated in the New York State Strategic Plan Action Committee, the New York City Bar Association’s Juvenile Justice Committee, and the Administration for Children’s Services/Division for Youth and Family Justice’s Advisory Council. Gabrielle graduated from Vanderbilt University, earned an M.A. from the University of Alabama, and a JD from the NYU School of Law.

11:00—11:10   Break

11:10—12:00   Panel 3

Can we Have Good Evidence and Good Policy?
Facilitator: Richard R. Buery, Jr., President and CEO of Children’s Aid Society
RBuery pic shadowRichard R. Buery, Jr. was named the tenth President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Aid Society of New York City in 2009. Previously, he was the co-founder and executive director of Groundwork, Inc., which supported the children and families of Brooklyn public housing communities. He also co-founded and directed iMentor, a technology education and mentoring program that connects New York City middle and high school students with professional mentors. Prior to founding iMentor, Mr. Buery was a staff attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice, a law clerk to Judge John M. Walker, Jr. of the Federal Court of Appeals in New York City, a fifth grade teacher at an orphanage in Bindura, Zimbabwe, and Chief Political Officer and campaign manager to Kenneth Reeves, the Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rich graduated from Harvard College and the Yale Law School.
ABermudez pic shadowAna Bermúdez is Deputy Commissioner of Juvenile Operations at the New York City Department of Probation. Previously, she was the director for juvenile justice programs at New York’s Children’s Aid Society and before that she worked at CASES (the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services), including four years as co-director of Community Prep High School, a transitional school for court-involved students.  Ana began her legal career with the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society (Bronx Office).  She graduated from Brown University and earned a law degree from Yale University.
FFranco pic shadowFelipe Franco is Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Juvenile Justice and Opportunities for Youth at the New York State Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS). His previous positions include the Children’s Aid Society in New York City, the New York University Department of Education, the New York City Police Department, the Vera Institute of Justice, and the Roberto Clemente Family Guidance Center. Felipe is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico and he earned a Master’s degree in clinical psychology as well as credits toward a Doctor of Psychology degree from Rutgers.
LAbbey pic shadowLeslie Abbey is Associate Commissioner for Evidence Based Practice & Programs at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Prior to her appointment as Associate Commissioner, she was Executive Director of Youth Justice Programs at ACS. Before that, she worked as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and at Lawyers Alliance for New York. Leslie graduated with honors from Swarthmore College and she holds a J.D. from New York University.
CHicks pic shadowCarson C. Hicks is Director of Programs and Evaluation for the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) where she oversees program development, implementation, and evaluation efforts. Previously, she was Deputy Director of Programs and Evaluation at CEO, a position she held since joining the Center in August 2007. Before joining CEO, Carson was a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University and Managing Editor for the Journal of Sociological Methodology. She completed her undergraduate degree at New York University and received the Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University.
LWolff pic shadowLaura Wolff is Senior Program Officer at the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, where she manages grants on “Improving the Performance of Public Institutions in New York” and co-manages the national grants program aimed at protecting reproductive rights and access to comprehensive family planning. Laura has served on the Philanthropy New York Board of Trustees and as Chair of its City Connect Committee. She was the founding chair of the Child Care and Early Education Fund, chair of the Donors’ Education Collaborative, and is a member of the Board of the Feminist Press. She graduated from Harvard University and holds an M.A. from New York University.

12:00—12:15   Break

12:15—1:30     Lunch and Keynote Presentation

The Cultural Roots of Youth Justice in America

KMuhammad pic shadow bwKhalil Gibran Muhammad is Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research division of the New York Public Library. A native of Chicago’s South Side and former faculty member at Indiana University, Dr. Muhammad is an award-winning author. His book The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press) won the 2011 John Hope Franklin Best Book award in American Studies.His work focuses on the enduring link between race and crime that continues to shape and limit opportunities for African Americans. His next book, Disappearing Acts: The End of White Criminality in the Age of Jim Crow, traces the historical roots of the changing demographics of crime and punishment.

Dr. Muhammad’s scholarship has been featured in the New York TimesNew YorkerWashington PostThe Guardian (UK) and Atlanta Journal Constitution, as well as on Bill Moyers and Company, MSNBC, CSPAN, National Public Radio and Pacifica. He recently served on the New York City Council’s Task force to Combat Gun Violence and the National Research Council’s Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration.

Khalil graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics in 1993. After working at Deloitte & Touche LLP, he received the Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University in 2004, specializing in 20th-century U.S. and African-American history. He spent two years as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit criminal justice reform agency in New York City, before joining the faculty of Indiana University.

1:30                 Closing Remarks