A Study of the New York Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Offender Team

Client: The Legal Aid Society
Faculty: Charles Brecher
Team: Melissa Auerbach, Jennifer Leung, Jessica Rosenzweig, Sarah Sheffield
Year: 2004
The Juvenile Offender Team (JO Team) at Legal Aid was created in 1996 to help address the needs of the 13-15 year-olds prosecuted in the adult court system in New York County. The Capstone team was brought on board to document the JO Team’s ability to represent and provide appropriate and specialized service for the juvenile offenders (JOs) they serve. Through an examination of the activities of the JO program staff, key informant interviews, and an extensive review of case files, the Capstone members assessed the strengths of the JO Team and offered recommendations for improvement. The Capstone members found that the social workers on the JO Team serve an important purpose by helping the JO Team lawyers demonstrate that their clients deserve a second chance and thus should be sentenced to an Alternative to Incarceration as opposed to prison. The JO Team’s specialized and holistic approach and experience helps ensure that the JOs they represent receive services necessary to meet individual needs.