Session: Achieving Juvenile Justice through Abolition (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

313 Achieving Juvenile Justice through Abolition

Sunday, January 15, 2023: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Maryvale B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Crime and Criminal Justice
Durrell Washington, MSW, University of Chicago
Toyan Harper, AM, University of Chicago, Alizé Hill, AM, University of Chicago, Taylor Reed, MSW, University of California, Los Angeles, Ashley Jackson, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis and Cortney VanHook, MSW, MPH, University of Pittsburgh
When the first juvenile court was created in 1899, social workers played a pivotal role in helping shape a system that treated young people differently than adults. Early social workers believed that youth did not have the cognitive ability to fully understand their actions, and that instead of strict punishment youth needed a gentler approach. While the creation of the juvenile court was considered progressive in multiple ways, the racialized underpinnings depicted grave and entrenched inequities that remain presently. After various legal challenges and policy changes in the next several decades, the juvenile legal system began to closely mirror the adult criminal legal system. The roundtable discussion will initially discuss how understanding social work history, and its role in shaping the juvenile legal system, may provide a path forward toward creating a system that more closely aligns with its original intent of differentiating punishment between youth and adults.

Despite the contributions of early social workers assisting with the creation of the juvenile court, the profession's presence today remains largely reduced within the juvenile legal system. Without social workers having a strong active presence within the juvenile legal system, the collective action required to create transformative change will not be accomplished. The next part of this roundtable discussion will focus on the involvement of current social workers and social work institutions to converse about the future needs of the juvenile legal system and the role of social workers.

Finally, the roundtable session will discuss how PIC abolition offers guidance on how social workers can once again assist in the transformation of the juvenile legal system as a means toward achieving true justice. Throughout the discussion, we hope to provide participants with an assessment of the scope of the juvenile legal system and the research, practice, and policy implications for the future. All in relation to the future of social work science. The speakers will include: several social work doctoral students who focus on prison reentry and family well-being; the school-to-prison nexus; developmental outcomes of minoritized people; and policing.

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