Working on juvenile justice in DC
January 29, 2015
Last summer, Katherine Calle worked as an intern at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, a public interest organization in Washington, D.C. CCLP works with jurisdictions and facilities to improve the juvenile justice system across the country. CCLP’s work focuses on reducing unnecessary incarceration of youth without jeopardizing public safety, eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, and improving conditions of confinement for youth in state and local facilities.
Katherine found her position through OPIA’s Wasserstein Fellow program. One of the attorneys, at CCLP, Jazon Szanyi, came to campus as a Wasserstein Fellow. Katherine learned about CCLP over lunch. A few months later, Katherine applied to be an intern at CCLP.
CCLP prioritizes giving their summer interns a good experience, and it shows. In fact, one of the attorneys even has a sign that says, “Have you thought about our interns today?” hanging on his office wall. At the beginning of the summer, each intern’s supervisor asked the interns what they wanted to get out of their time at CCLP and tried to assign them projects based on their interests.
Over the summer, Katherine learned about juvenile justice by researching case law, statutes, as and state, local, and federal policy. One of her projects applied these tools in the context of restorative justice. Restorative justice provides an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system to juveniles who have committed certain offenses. The restorative justice model focuses on repairing the harm done rather than punishment. One particular jurisdiction wanted to find a way to facilitate the sharing of juvenile contact information between schools and the restorative justice program. Katherine’s statutory research helped to find a way to make it easier for this sharing to take place so that more youth might be able to take advantage of the program. Hopefully, the jurisdiction will be able to implement these new procedures next year.
After graduation, Katherine will be clerking for the Honorable Alvin W. Thompson of the U.S. District of Connecticut and will then clerk for the Honorable Michael A. Chagares of the Third Circuit.
Written by 1L OPIA Section Rep Erika Johnson