October 11, 2012
Last month The Art of Yoga Project (AYP) participated in the 2012 Juvenile Justice Expert Exchange between three Bay Area County Juvenile Justice systems and delegates from China’s Supreme People’s Court. From September 9-16, seven Chinese juvenile judges visited three jurisdictions: San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara – all service areas for AYP.
The judges were interested in the collaborative approach between probation officers, courts, attorneys, mental health and community-based organizations like The Art of Yoga Project. AYP was asked to participate in a multi-disciplinary gender-specific treatment overview in San Mateo. Sarah Barnard, Site Director for San Mateo and San Francisco, presented our gender-responsive, trauma-informed model and eight best practices for the rehabilitation of teen girls in the juvenile system.
Like our partners, we highlighted the importance of seeing the girls in the context of their difficult environments and upbringing. Sarah explained how we advocate for our girls caught in cycles of victimization and San Mateo Juvenile Judge Elizabeth Lee offered, “We make a greater effort to understand the unique circumstances and social history of each juvenile in order to find the best disposition for him or her.”
The practices presented at the conference could likely affect the way China treats it adjudicated youth. “This exchange is of great importance for juvenile justice reform in China,” said Executive Director John Kamm of the sponsoring Dui Hua Foundation, “as it very well may influence the way the country implements its new juvenile justice system in 2013.”