Youth Justice

the black child-savers_wardThis research critically examines the idea and practice of American juvenile justice, a system once envisioned as a “manufactory of citizens,” where wayward youth might be remade as “normal and productive citizens.” I focus on racial politics of this liberal democratic ideal and institutional practices of youth justice, historically and today.

I have been especially interested in how white-dominated parental state authority has reproduced racialized democratic exclusion; how black civic leaders contested and transformed systems of juvenile social control over the 20th century; and how racialized democratic exclusion manifests in contemporary contexts of formal equality in youth justice.

Related Publications

Geoff Ward (2012). The Black Child Savers: Racial Democracy & Juvenile Justice. University of Chicago Press.

  • Won American Society of Criminology’s Michael J. Hindelang Award  (2013).
  • Won History of Education Society’s Outstanding Book Award (2013).

Aaron Kupchik and Geoff Ward (2014). “Race, Poverty and Exclusionary School Security: An Empirical Analysis of U.S. Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice vol. 12, n. 4. 

Geoff Ward, A. Kupchik, L. Parker, and B. Starks (2011). “Racial Politics of Juvenile Justice Policy Support: Juvenile Court Worker Orientations Towards Disproportionate Minority Confinement.” Race and Justice vol. 1, n. 2.

Geoff Ward and Aaron Kupchik (2010). “What Drives Juvenile Probation Officers? Relating Organizational Contexts, Status Characteristics, and Personal Convictions to Treatment and Punishment Orientations.” Crime and Delinquency vol. 56, n. 1.

Geoff Ward and Aaron Kupchik (2009). “Accountable to What? Professional Orientations Towards Accountability-Based Juvenile Justice.” Punishment & Society vol. 11, n. 1.

Related Initiatives & Affiliations

» The Prison Public Memory Project
The Prison Public Memory Project uses history, dialogue, the arts and technology to build public memory and safe spaces where people from all walks of life can come together to engage in conversation and learning about the complex and contested role of prisons in communities and society.

» The W. Haywood Burns Institute
The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and improve the lives of youth of color, poor youth and the well-being of their communities by reducing the adverse impact of public and private youth-serving systems to ensure fairness and equity throughout the juvenile justice system.