Juvenile Justice

New Approaches to the Juvenile Justice System

Ashley Nellis
Senior Research Analyst, The Sentencing Project

Key Findings

  • The number of incarcerated youth as been cut in half nationally from 2008 to 2016.
  • Juvenile justice practices are increasingly accounting for differences in adults and juveniles through greater focus on rehabilitation.


In the book, “A Return to Justice: Rethinking our Approach to Juveniles in the System,” Nellis discusses how the practices of the juvenile justice system differ from the adult system through the original strategies and policies that created this shift. Nellis researched the rates of youth crime and adolescent brain science to show the differences between adults and juveniles. In her book, she encourages policymakers and practitioners to consider solutions, such as education and advocacy, in order to address extreme sanctions in the adult system (solitary confinement) and life sentences for juveniles.

View Full Research