“The Faults in Our System: Transforming Juvenile Justice”

Join the City Club of Cleveland for a panel conversation Friday, Aug. 26, about how states can boost preventative efforts, transform juvenile justice, and help children access the supports they need to meet their full potential. Case Western Reserve University’s Center on Trauma and Adversity is a community partner with the City Club for this forum, as the event aligns with their research and studies.

The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the City Club of Cleveland, located at 850 Euclid Ave. Lunch will take place at 11:30 a.m., with the forum and livestream set to begin at noon.

Panelists are:

  • Brooke Burns, managing counsel, Youth Defense Department at Office of the Ohio Public Defender
  • Stephanie D. Howse, Cleveland City Council Ward 7 Councilwoman
  • Leah Winsberg, staff attorney at the Children’s Law Center, Inc.

Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.

View more information on City Club’s health and safety protocols. Email info@cityclub.org with any questions.

Background for the Event

In May 2022, a Cleveland City Council Safety Committee meeting sharply focused on a perception of increased juvenile crime in the city. After a lengthy discussion, Councilwoman Stephanie Howse had heard enough, and stated, “We are trying to paint our city and our young people, that they are totally out of control, when we have failed them. We have failed them. We have failed them.” 

The Councilwoman asked for more information on what led the city’s young people to commit crimes, and urged for preventative measures. The response from the county prosecutor suggested a noticeable disconnect over the perception of Cleveland’s children in the justice system.
A 2021 poll by political consultancy GBAO revealed that 81% of Ohioans favored a youth justice system that focuses on prevention and rehabilitation, rather than punishment and incarceration. Yet, despite declining national incarceration trends, Black and Indigenous youth are still incarcerated and sentenced at higher rates than their white peers. Recent data shows that it can cost $279,805 per year to imprison a child in Ohio, but only $13,000 per year for public education. Add to this, Ohio requires families to pay some of the cost of confinement—creating a negative feedback loop of poverty that disproportionately harms communities of color.