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JUVENILE is a film driven by youth perspectives. The film focuses on the personal stories of five young people who contemplate their pathways into the system, the impact of their justice involvement, and their personal journeys of trauma and healing.


Shimaine is from Georgia, and her pathway into the juvenile system was through the foster care pipeline. Now 21 years old, she works as a Regional Impact Liason for the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children where she supports and advocates for foster care alumni in South Georgia.

Learn more about Shimaine.


Ja'Vaune is from Illinois, and his pipeline into the system started when he became a young survivor of sexual abuse. Now 22, he lives and works in Rockford, and in 2018, he was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to serve as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner on their State Advisory Group.

Learn more about Ja’Vaune.


Romeo is from Brooklyn, and his experiences of violence in the home and on the streets lead him into the system. Now 23, Romeo is a graduate of The New School’s Institute for Transformational Mentorship (ITM) in New York City. He works as a credible messenger with ITM and as a counselor and mentor to children whose parents are incarcerated.

Learn more about Romeo.


Ariel is from the South Bay in California, and her experiences of homelessness and domestic violence precipitated her contact with the system. Now 18, Ariel is a full-time student at San Mateo College, where she works at the on-campus Multicultural and Dream Center advocating for students who've experienced homelessness.

Learn more about Ariel.


Michael is from rural Missouri, and his contact with the system resulted from his experience with mental illness and drug use. Now 23, Michael works at a granary in central Missouri, and he and his wife recently celebrated the birth of a baby girl. Along with Ja'Vaune, Michael serves on the Annie E. Casey Foundation's national Juvenile Justice Youth Advisory Council.

Learn more about Michael.



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April Allen, PhD, MPA - Resilient Futures 
James Bell - W. Haywood Burns Institute
Jeannette Bocanegra - Justice for Families
Hernan Carvente Martinez - Youth First
Stacy Cecchet, PhD - Seattle University
Robynn Cox, PhD - University of Southern California
Carolyn Dixon - Life Camp, Inc.
Albino Garcia - La Plazita Institute
Frankie Guzman, Esq - National Center for Youth Law
Gary Ivory, MDiv - Youth Advocate Programs
Kirk James, PhD - New York University
Miriam Krinsky - Fair and Just Prosecution
Clinton Lacey - DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services
Xochtil Larios - CURYJ
Ahmed Lavalais, Esq - University of California, Berkeley Law
Xavier McElrath-Bey - Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Iliana Pujols - Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance
Vinny Schiraldi - Columbia Justice Lab
Valerie Slater, Esq - RISE for Youth
Kempis “Ghani” Songster - Amistad Law Project
Amir Whitaker, Esq - ACLU 
Gina Womack - Friends and Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children

We developed this film with guidance from these experts and many other individuals at the following organizations: Juvenile Law Center (special thanks to Marsha Levick, Jessica Feierman, Marcia Hopkins), National Juvenile Defender Center, National Center for Youth Law, Youth First, Campaign for Youth Justice, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Justice for Families, Annie E. Casey Foundation (special thanks to Bart Lubow), Fair and Just Prosecution, National Center for Victims of Crime, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, Common Justice, Impact Justice, Incarcerated Nation, The Opportunity Institute, UC Berkeley Policy Advocacy Clinic, W. Haywood Burns Institute, Fines and Fees Justice Center, ACLU, Anti-Recidivism Coalition (CA), Multi-Agency Alliance for Children (GA), MacArthur Justice Center (MO), Just City, Shelby County Public Defender's Office, Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, No Exceptions, Children's Defense Fund, Unheard Voices Outreach (TN), Institute for Transformative Mentorship at The New School, Life Camp, Inc. (NYC), and Further the Work (Bay Area).