Led by Emily Haney-Caron, JD, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the Youth Law & Psychology Lab is dedicated to informing policy through rigorous science and scholarship. By focusing on juvenile law and psychology and public policy, our research sheds light on the ways in which the system perpetuates racial inequities and on the alignment between adolescents’ capacities to make legal decisions and the expectations placed upon them by the legal system.
Research projects in the lab are designed to answer public policy questions related to juvenile law to help judges, legislators, and other stakeholders make sound and informed decisions backed by current psychological findings. In concentrating on the specific experiences and challenges faced by youth involved in the legal system, our research explores the interactions among racism, adolescent development, and legal system involvement. Through various ongoing research and policy projects, the Youth Law & Psychology Lab seeks to bridge the gap between current psychological research and legal practice, with the goal of improving legal practice and working to alleviate issues specific to legally-involved youth.
The Youth Law & Psychology Lab recognizes that personal, structural, and systemic racism pervade all structures of power within the United States—including the criminal and juvenile legal systems. Our lab firmly believes in the importance of continued awareness, growth, and progress. We recognize that a commitment to anti-racism is a lifelong process and not a finite state of being. We aim to conduct socially just research that reflects these sentiments. Our research recognizes the ways that adolescence is policed differently in communities of color where Black and Brown youth experience more police and justice system involvement than White youth. We are committed to producing scholarship that gives voice and attention to the injustices of the legal system by building on young people's lived experiences and capacities to inform change. We hope to encourage other researchers to do so, as well.