U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Engaging Young People in Juvenile Justice Reform

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2007
10 pages
This brief identifies and discusses issues for consideration when developing a plan to involve youth in efforts for juvenile justice reform.
The rationale for involving youth in juvenile justice reform efforts is that youth can be effective advocates for reform, because they have the conviction that stems from personal experience and persuasive personal stories related to the need for reform. When youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system speak out about their experiences, people who have never experienced the policies and practices of the juvenile justice system are enlightened about how the juvenile justice system impacts those who have been directly involved in it. Also, the youth benefit from their involvement in reform efforts. Their experiences foster leadership, public speaking, and the sense that they have the power to make a difference in reforming the institutions that can have potentially positive and negative impacts on a youth's development. The challenges faced by those tasked with the responsibility of involving youth in juvenile justice reform efforts are many. The challenges are to identify and recruit youth who are representative of the advocacy issues being addressed; engage youth in activism; facilitate long-term involvement in the juvenile justice reform effort; provide practical supports; transforming youth into effective advocates; and making youth an integral part of a reform effort from start to finish. This brief lists and describes various organizations that train youth in organizing to advocate for juvenile justice reform. 5 resource listings