Reframing Juvenile Justice

juvenile justice

The national effort to reform the nation’s juvenile justice system is gaining momentum in the wake of recent high-profile cases of police brutality against youth of color. Understanding this, the Annie E. Casey Foundation commissioned the FrameWorks Institute to reanalyze its research base on the communications aspects of criminal justice, youth development, and race equity to recommend framing strategies to advance juvenile justice reform.

The resulting Strategic Frame Analysis™ identifies gaps in public understanding that suppress support for effective reforms, and recommends specific, tested communications strategies for bridging these gaps. These recommendations have been proven to deepen the public’s understanding of problems with the juvenile justice system and build support for a fairer, more just system that takes a more developmentally appropriate approach to juvenile crime and puts a greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation, and alternatives to detention.

Our work builds on more than 15 years of social science research into child and youth development, public safety, criminal justice, and a wide range of other issues with partners including the Ford and Rosenberg Foundations, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University’s Law School, and other organizations. 


Talking Juvenile Justice Reform: A FrameWorks MessageMemo (2016)Two bodies of FrameWorks research on issues relating to youth development and criminal justice are synthesized in this analysis of public thinking about juvenile justice, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This MessageMemo explains reframing strategies that have been tested to advance juvenile justice policies, allowing advocates for adolescents and criminal justice reformers to pivot from these issues to juvenile justice reforms.


Reframing School Discipline: A Strategic Communications Playbook (2017). Major advancements toward restorative approaches have been put forth by school discipline reform advocates. Strong frames are needed to protect that progress, though. "Reframing School Discipline" integrates the findings of new studies conducted with support from the Open Society Foundations Racial Equality Fund and insights from dozens of other FrameWorks studies, including projects on framing educational equity and juvenile justice reform.

Shifting Gears on Juvenile Justice: A FrameWorks Communications Toolkit (2016) explains how to implement reframing recommendations, using examples from the field. 

Webinar: Shifting Gears on Juvenile Justice Communications (2016). The Annie E. Casey Foundation hosted a webinar in late June to inform advocates and practitioners about messages that can effectively engage the public as allies in juvenile justice reform. The webinar was presented by Julie Sweetland, Ph.D., Vice President of Innovation and Strategy of the FrameWorks Institute.



FrameWorks Institute

  Updated: 03/21/17