First Meeting Minutes

Introduction

On December 18th and 19th, the North American Council for Juvenile Justice (NACJJ) met for the first time, in Washington. The meeting saw the participation of over 20 representatives of the academia, the public administration, and civil society involved with juvenile justice in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, together with representatives of regional and international bodies. Furthermore, the meeting was preceded by a public briefing on the role of the newly established NACJJ, held at the Senate Dirksen Office Building, on December 17th.

The event was organised by the IJJO with the collaboration of the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI) and its President, Betsy Clarke. Furthermore, the support of the Civitas Law Center at the Loyola Law School of Chicago, the Director Diane Geraghty and the Former Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Wansley Walters, was also crucial to promote the meeting, and ensure the participation of distinguished experts from the three countries involved.

This first meeting was therefore the first opportunity for an open consultation on the particular situation of juvenile justice in each of three participating countries. Thanks to the presentations and interventions of the different representatives of Canada, Mexico and the United States, the NACJJ was able to discuss specific priorities and draw the first conclusions for a future common strategy. The enthusiasm of the participants for the creation of a new transnational platform for mutual learning and information exchange also led to a discussion on the communication tools and working methods that will be available to Council members.

The two-day meeting thus became an important occasion to lay down the ground-rules and operational basis for the future functioning of the Council, and to define the primary concerns to address in order to improve juvenile justice systems in the North American region.

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