In the first installment of the Fall 2011 Faculty Workshop Series, sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Professor Nancy E. Dowd, the David H. Levin Chair in Family Law and Director of the Center on Children & Families at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, came to speak yesterday about her forthcoming publication, Justice for Kids: Keeping Kids Out of the Juvenile Justice System.
Prof. Dowd discussed the growing gap between what the juvenile justice system needs to do for kids and what it actually does. As it currently operates, Prof. Dowd argues that the juvenile justice system does much to hurt and little to help. She suggests that the first priority should be to keep kids out of the system entirely, if possible, and to reconceptualize the system around children’s needs. Her book is a collection of articles that explore the system’s fault lines with respect to all children, and focuses in particular on issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation that skew the system. It provides specific program initiatives that offer alternatives to our thinking about prevention and deterrence, with an ultimate focus on keeping kids out of the system altogether.
Many thanks to Professor Dowd for visiting W&L and sharing her paper with the faculty.