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Joshua Rovner
Director of Youth Justice

Joshua Rovner manages a portfolio of juvenile justice issues for The Sentencing Project, including juveniles sentenced to life without parole, the transfer of juveniles into the adult criminal justice system, and racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice. His work has supported reforms in numerous states through research and testimony. He is the author of several papers and fact sheets for The Sentencing Project, including How Tough on Crime Became Tough on Kids: Prosecuting Teenage Drug Charges in Adult Courts and Racial Disparities in Youth Commitments and Arrests, and has had opinion pieces published in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, and the Hartford Courant.

An expert in child and adolescent well-being, Rovner has worked on juvenile development issues, such as access to primary and mental health care, tobacco prevention, and comprehensive health education. Rovner previously worked at the School-Based Health Alliance, Metro TeenAIDS, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Council of the District of Columbia. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and a Master of Public Policy from the George Washington University.

Written By Joshua Rovner
April 01, 2016

Racial Disparities in Youth Commitments and Arrests

While youth incarceration has declined sharply over the last decade, racial disparities have actually increased. This report reviews the nationwide and state-by-state status of racial and ethnic disparities in commitments and the likely impact of growing racial disparities in arrests.
December 11, 2015

Declines in Youth Commitments and Facilities in the 21st Century

A major reduction in the number of youth committed to juvenile facilities has taken place this century, yet racial disparities in youth commitment remain large and prevalent.
December 09, 2014

Recommendations on Juvenile Justice to D.C.’s Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser

Following her election as Washington, D.C.’s new mayor, Muriel Bowser has sought public input on important issues facing the District. The Sentencing Project submitted four recommendations for juvenile justice reform: make aggregate juvenile arrest data available and transparent; limit the use of arrest for low-level offenses; prioritize evidence-based programs, and not incarceration, for delinquent youth; and keep youth out of the adult system.
June 25, 2014

Slow to Act: State Responses to 2012 Supreme Court Mandate on Life Without Parole

On June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court struck down laws in 28 states that mandated life without parole (LWOP) for some youth. This policy brief is an update on how legislatures and courts in those 28 states and elsewhere have responded.
May 01, 2014

Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System

This briefing paper explains how disproportionate minority contact (DMC) with the juvenile justice system is measured and takes a close look at drug offenses, property crimes, and status offenses.