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Six Policy Priorities for Juvenile Defense: Why Juvenile Defense Doesn't End in the Courtroom

Published May 1, 2013, National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN)

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Juvenile defenders can and should play a vital role in policy and justice system reform -- and advocates can partner with them to accomplish significant changes that affect youth in the court room and beyond.

This policy update from the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) draws on best practice standards created by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) with support from the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN). In addition to the standards themselves, the NJDC also calls on defenders to take action toward broad systemic reform, and encourages advocates to collaborate in these areas:

1. Ensure early access to counsel.

2. Establish a presumption of indigence for all youth.

3. Prevent invalid waiver of counsel.

4. Challenge disparate treatment and discrimination.

5. Ensure resources and manageable caseloads for juvenile defenders.

6. Identify and eliminate harmful conditions of confinement.

Watch a webinar from NJJN on this topic presented by an attorney from NJDC. 

Click here to see all of NJJN's Models for Change-related publications.


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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.

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