(Las Vegas, Nev.) – The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) National Conference on Juvenile Justice convened nearly 600 juvenile and family court judges, probation officers, lawyers, law enforcement, and court professionals to improve national initiatives focused on the juvenile justice system.
The conference featured cutting edge information, state-of-the-art programs and current research in juvenile reform and law. Some of the featured topics included: the Nevada statewide juvenile justice reform effort, alternatives to detention, trauma-informed justice, cyberviolence, recidivism, sex trafficking of minors, out of home placement, animal cruelty, special immigrant youth status, military-connected families, homelessness, and LGBTQ issues in the juvenile justice system.
Nevada Justice James W. Hardesty and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) opened the conference with a welcome address.
“Juvenile and family courts are important parts of our criminal justice system that help support children, families and communities in Nevada and across the country,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “For over 80 years NCJFCJ has brought together criminal justice advocates and professionals to provide skills training and policy support that can make all the difference for families and children that come into contact with the court system. I will continue to fight in the Senate to give law enforcement and criminal justice professionals the tools they need to combat human trafficking, ensure the humane treatment of all incarcerated juveniles and bolster funding for innovative rehabilitation programs that can help rebuild lives.”
Jarrett Adams, JD, Law Office of Jarrett Adams, N.Y. delivered the keynote address about his story, Life After Justice, where he was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault at age 17 and was sentenced to 28 years in a maximum-security prison. After serving nearly 10 years and filing multiple appeals, Adams was exonerated with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project.
A featured presentation focused on the Nevada Statewide Juvenile Justice Improvement Initiative featuring Scott Shick, juvenile probation officer, Douglas County, Nev., Judge Egan Walker, Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County, Nev.; and John “Jack” Martin, director, Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services.
Plenary highlights included Dale Erquiaga, president/CEO, Communities In Schools, and Jamal Tate, business owner and former juvenile offender, on race and school discipline and Toni McKinley on trust-based interventions for trafficking survivors, a special session sponsored by Caesars Entertainment.
Judge William Voy, family court judge, and Judge Soonhee “Sunny” Bailey, juvenile hearing master, both from the Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, Nev. also presented on Detention Alternative for Autistic Youth (D.A.A.Y. Court), the first specialty court for youth who show to be on the spectrum to receive proper treatment.
“This year’s National Conference on Juvenile Justice is the largest juvenile justice conference in the NCJFCJ’s 81-year history,” said Joey Orduna Hastings, chief executive officer, NCJFCJ. “The record attendance is an indication that judicial officers, law enforcement, probation officers, and other juvenile and family law professionals are eager for opportunities to learn the latest hands-on and evidence-based solutions to ensure that juvenile justice systems throughout the country are effective, just, and beneficial to their communities.”
About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ):
Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nev.-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.