"Spurring innovation, improving practice"

PFI Symposium: Evidence-Based Policy and Practice in Youth Justice

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Date(s) - 04/18/2013
8:30 am - 1:30 pm

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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April 18, 2013

Light Breakfast 8:30 a.m.
Symposium 9:00—12:00
Lunch 12:00 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street, New York, NY
Second Floor Dining Hall
(Enter on 11th Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets)


The Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative at John Jay College of Criminal Justice will host its second youth justice symposium on April 18, 2013. The topic is evidence-based policy and practice in youth justice, but the symposium will not address this topic in the traditional way. Rather than focusing on which programs or policies are supported by research evidence, or reviewing methods for implementing and managing evidence-based programs, the Pinkerton Fellowship symposium will examine the consequences of evidence-based policy and practice for youth and communities. 

Participants will explore a number of critical questions:

• What are the consequences of an evidence-based approach to funding youth justice service providers?

• If state and local governments restrict grants and contracts to evidence-based programs, will this end up inhibiting innovation? 

• If a program is not evidence-based, does that mean it is an ineffective program? 

• Should we protect agencies that might be effective but that don’t yet have solid evidence? 

• If governments insist on evidence-based contractors, which program models will be excluded, and is that ok?

• If we award contracts to programs with little evidence, how long should we wait for those agencies to prove their worth? 

• Is it just a regrettable, but necessary stage of development that some contracting agencies will go out of business because they are difficult to evaluate? 

• If we relax our standards to provide funding for innovative, but unproven programs, will some agencies get contracts merely because their services sound good, whether or not they are capable of delivering on their promises? 

• How do we balance the desire for proven evidence with the need to develop new and improved program models? 

• Perhaps most importantly, do the consequences of this struggle over evidence-based policy fall disproportionately on community-based agencies from disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color?

Audience members will hear a diverse group of professionals debate these important questions. All of the discussants are actively engaged in shaping future justice systems in New York City and New York State. They will explore the implications and consequences of evidence-based policy and practice in three panel discussions and interact with members of the audience in open conversation.

 Click here to see the full list of panelists and to register.