Earlier this month, Shelby County Public Defender Stephen Bush spoke to journalists from across the country at City University New York. Bush was an invited panelist for the John Jay College Center on Media, Crime and Justice symposium entitled “Kids, Crime and Justice” held in New York City.
The symposium was designed to help journalists apply research and best practices to reporting on juvenile justice issues. Bush was one of twenty presenters invited to New York to address reporters from print, broadcast and online. These twenty-five journalists were selected for a Tow Foundation fellowship based on their interest in covering juvenile justice related stories.
Bush was invited to discuss research involving early brain development in children and the traumatic effects of poverty and exposure to violence and abuse. He was also asked to address how these factors can and should influence treatment and sentencing.
The Shelby County Public Defender’s Office was required to supervise juvenile defense by the 2012 Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Justice and Shelby County. A new, specially-trained unit of the public defender’s office began taking cases in Juvenile Court early this year. This marked the first time the public defender has been responsible for juvenile defense since the 1970s.
You can also listen to Bush discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding juvenile justice in Shelby County in this NPR report that aired in September.