Children & Youth
Children are especially vulnerable in the criminal justice system. Through specialized training for defense lawyers, diversion techniques, and coordination with other civil society organizations on incarceration alternatives, we fight to limit children’s exposure to the criminal justice system as much as possible.
When children come into contact with the law, it is frequently under traumatic circumstances, and without parents or guardians present. Still in the early phases of cognitive development, children may have only a limited ability to understand what is going on around them in a police station or courthouse, let alone process what it means for their future. Scared and isolated, children are highly sensitive to pressure and suggestive or manipulative interrogation tactics can have disastrous effects. Even brief periods of detention can seriously damage a child’s mental and emotional health.
To provide effective legal representation to children, criminal defense lawyers must be ready to assess and address a child’s mental health, intellectual and emotional development, and home life circumstances. Our representation of children centers not just on a positive case outcome, but on a positive life outcome.
Our lawyers receive specialized training focused on the cognitive development and legal representation of children. We work with police, prosecutors, and courts to support mediation and alternatives to incarceration, and we connect clients and families with the resources they need to prevent future contact with the law.