Law School program aims to help young people transitioning from juvenile justice system

Shane McKeon, Campus Editor

The Pritzker School of Law will team up with the Chicago Housing Authority for a program that aims to support Chicago youth in the juvenile justice system transition to adulthood.

The multimillion-dollar Juvenile Re-entry Assistance Program hopes to help young people involved in the justice system find work and housing, according to a Northwestern news release.

“The promise that youthful transgressions will not follow young people for life is simply not true,” Law Prof. Julie Biehl, director of the law school’s Children and Family Justice Center, said in the release. “Even children who are arrested and not convicted have a juvenile record. Those records follow them into adulthood and can seriously undermine their efforts to build lives for themselves by limiting their opportunities for school, housing and jobs.”

Biehl’s center will spearhead the effort, part of an initiative launched by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice, according to the release.

The program will connect young people with attorneys who can counsel them on topics such as finding jobs, getting readmitted to school and regaining suspended drivers’ licenses.

“Reconnecting young people who’ve paid their debt to society to decent jobs and housing allows them to turn the page and become active, productive members of their communities,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in the release. “These grants offer a helping hand to those who deserve a second chance so they have a real opportunity to reach their full potential.”

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