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Spotlight! Symposium: Nathaniel R. Balis

A New Normal or Old Status Quo


Library and Gallery, Albin O. Kuhn : Gallery + Online

Date & Time

December 2, 2022, 12:00 pm1:00 pm


This event is hosted by the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery. The original event post is here.

A New Normal or Old Status Quo: Youth Justice in a Post-Pandemic World

Nathaniel R. Balis, Director, Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at Annie E. Casey Foundation

Over the last quarter century, America’s juvenile justice system has changed in profound ways. While politicians in the 1990s fretted about the since-debunked myth of the “juvenile super-predator” and responded with harsher laws for kids in virtually every state in the country, youth crime had already started its steady and sometimes sharp decline. Prior to the pandemic, youth arrests and youth confinement had plummeted, all while research offered practitioners and policymakers a wealth of information about the adolescent brain and what works in supporting young people, and yet racial disparities only got worse, with Black youth bearing the brunt of the system’s punitive practices. In the early months of the pandemic, youth confinement dropped much further, hinting at a more permanent shift in the size and scope of the juvenile justice system, but that has changed swiftly over the last year, and racial disparities are much worse today than they were prior to Covid-19 and the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. So it begs the question going forward: can we achieve a much-needed new normal in youth justice or are we backsliding to the old status quo?

Co-sponsored by the Department of American Studies; the Department of Gender, Women's, + Sexuality Studies; Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health; School of Social Work; Department of Psychology; Department of Political Science; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Department of Media and Communication Studies; the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Center for Social Science Scholarship; and the Graduate School.