Judge Promises Voice for Families

A photograph of an incarcerated youth from Richard Ross’ collection “Juvenile In Justice”.

On August 13th, the halls of Lincoln Hospital were filled with discussion inspired by photographs taken by Richard Ross inside America’s youth prisons. The exhibit preceded a panel discussion of Families Unlocking Futures: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice, a national report focusing on the needs of the families of court-involved youth.

After Executive Director Ruben Austria summarized the report’s conclusions, Jeannette Bocanegra told the audience how her son has been entangled in the system after a small incident at his school. Judith Morrishow and Demetria Framptom touched every heart with their accounts of their grandsons’ experiences, and Elizabeth Garcia spoke about her son’s treatment at the hands of those who had power over him.

Bronx Release
From left to right: Executive Director Ruben Austria, Family and Community Organizer Jeannette Bocanegra, and Judge Padro

Judge Richardson-Mendelson and Judge Padro responded with compassion and engagement. As the Administrative Judge for the New York City Family Court system, Judge Richardson-Mendelson promised to require every family court judge to read and discuss the report’s recommendations. This is an incredible step forward for families struggling to navigate the justice system.