Ashley Nellis, Senior Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project, has just published a book, A Return to Justice: Rethinking Our Approach to Juveniles in the System, that traces the evolution of the juvenile justice system over many decades. In an interview with The Crime Report, she discusses how the original aim of the juvenile justice system — to consider children’s unique status and amenability for reform — has eroded, with increasing reliance on court systems that do not account for their young age.
The Crime Report: What motivated you to write this book, and why now?
Ashley Nellis: As I detail in my book, reforms to juvenile justice over the past 15 years have been significant: a decline in youth incarceration by half, elimination of the death penalty for youth, and restrictions on the use of life without parole sentences for juveniles, to name only a few. Policymakers are adopting the scientific view that children are indeed worthy of a process that acknowledges their young age and other important differences from adults that require a separate system of justice.
Read the full interview in The Crime Report.