Conversations on the Road to Unlocked!: Investing in Our Children and Our Communities

How do we transform community youth justice systems that disproportionately harm Black and Brown youth?

The Social Justice Initiative of Bryn Mawr College, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) and the National Human Service Assembly (NHSA) are pleased to host a series of live web-based events discussing what communities can do to create a robust system of care that supports, nurtures, and best serves youth and their families while keeping communities safe. These discussions are building towards our in person "Unlocked" conference scheduled for Philadelphia on October 14-15, 2021.

8/20/20 12pm - 1:30pm ET via Zoom WATCH RECORDINGDownload slides

How do we transform community safety and justice systems that disproportionately harm Black and Brown youth?

Our first virtual event will include short presentations from three different lenses- policy, practice, and lived experience- followed by a live audience Q&A discussion.

We're excited to welcome Carmen Daugherty, Policy Director at YouthFirst!, as our moderator.

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson



Shadoe Tarver


Carmen Daugherty


Our Panelists Include:
Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO of the St. Louis, MO-based Deaconess Foundation -- In 2014, the governor of Missouri appointed Rev. Wilson to co-chair the Ferguson Commission to study the underlying conditions that impede progress, equality and safety and make policy recommendations following the police shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr.

Shadoe Tarver, Associate Director of Community Safety with Save Our Streets (S.O.S.). in Brooklyn. SOS works to prevent gun violence in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods by mediating conflicts that may end in gun violence and acting as peer counselors to the people who are at risk of perpetrating or being victimized by violence. It is NYC's first and longest standing Cure Violence Site.

17-year-old Travontay "Tray"- Tray received intensive community-based mentoring and wraparound services from YAP as an alternative to youth incarceration.

Learning Objectives:

  • Promote understanding that a community approach to public safety is a viable alternative to the over-reliance on traditional punitive responses that include policing, probation, placement and parole.
  • Demonstrate to participants what the continuum of supports/care looks like in its entirety when communities invest in social support programs and divest in criminal justice systems.
  • Enable participants to assess the evidence base that demonstrates that community supports can produce better outcomes than traditional punitive responses.

10/22/20 12pm - 1:30pm ET via ZoomWATCH RECORDING

Our second virtual event will center on restorative practices and educational/vocational opportunities as two critical components of a community continuum to promote good outcomes for justice-involved youth. The event will include short presentations from the lenses of practice and lived experience. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A discussion with the presenters moderated by Darlyne Bailey, founder and Director of the Social Justice Initiative at Bryn Mawr College and Vice-Chair of the National Human Service Assembly's Board of Directors.

We're excited to welcome four esteemed panelists:

Fania Davis
Bijon Barnes
Tyreece Sherrill
Michelle Caldeira

Fania Davis, PhD is the Founding Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) and Co-Founding Board Member of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). She is a leading national voice on racial and restorative justice and a long-time social justice activist, as well as a civil rights trial attorney, writer and educator.

Bijon Barnes (they, he) wears multiple hats at Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, working as Communications Associate, Apprenticeship Manager and Restorative Justice in Queer Communities Practitioner.

Tyreece Sherrill is an experienced youth leader who was born and raised in Oakland. Personally impacted by the inequities of the school-to-prison pipeline and juvenile incarceration, Tyreece has worked to transform both himself and systems of oppression. His work with Fathers and Families of San Joaquin and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth is focused on expanding restorative justice and transforming our criminal justice system to help create a better system for people in need of support, healing and justice. He has spoken at national conferences and has been involved in leading statewide campaigns to increase funding for alternatives to youth incarceration.

Michelle Caldeira is the Co-founder and President of Boston Uncornered, an organization that engages and supports active gang-involved individuals to end gang violence and create positive community change through the power of education, connection, and opportunity. Uncornered believes that active and former gang-involved individuals are the solution if we all simply have the courage to believe and invest in their brilliance and influence.

Learning Objectives:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of restorative justice and its impact as it relates to interrupting the school to prison pipeline and youth mass incarceration.
  • Explore restorative justice-based community applications, including in LGBTQ-plus communities and how it can help facilitate long-awaited national racial reckoning.
  • Demonstrate understanding of fundamental importance and components of educational and vocational opportunities that translate into viable economic pathways within communities as a critical piece of the continuum to promote good outcomes for justice-involved youth.

February 25, 2021 12pm - 1:30pm ET via Zoom WATCH RECORDING PANEL 3 RESOURCES

Our third virtual event will include short presentations followed by a live audience Q&A discussion with a focus on what systems can do to create a continuum of care to meet the needs of their young people.

We are thrilled to welcome Michael Umpierre as the moderator of the event. Michael is the Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. At CJJR, Michael leads a team that supports leaders in the youth-serving field to advance multi-system efforts to improve the lives of children who touch or at risk of touching the justice system.

Michael will be moderating an engaging discussion among our guest panelists:

Clinton Lacey

Retha Onitiri


Carey Cockerell


Raequan McIver


Our Panelists Include:
Clinton Lacey is the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). Before joining DYRS, Clinton had more than 25 years of experience working with youth and families.

Retha Onitiri is the Director of Community Engagement at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. She leads the "150 Years is Enough" campaign and is responsible for building a coalition for change on issues pertaining to criminal justice, economic mobility, and democracy and justice.

Carey Cockerell has more than 45 years' experience in youth justice at state and county levels. His career included serving as Director of the Tarrant County Juvenile Probation Department and Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice.

Raequan McIver 23, moved frequently as a child and fell behind in school. By age eight, he struggled to read and began acting out to avoid going to class. Arrested multiple times as a youth, he was in a secure facility at age 15 where he taught himself to read. Four years later, a Washington DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Credible Messenger supported his community re-entry, and today, he, too, is a Credible Messenger.

May 27, 2021 12pm - 1:30pm ET via Zoom

Our fourth virtual event focus on the needs of girls in the youth justice system. It will include short presentations followed by a live audience Q&A discussion. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Camille R. Quinn, PhD as the moderator of the event. Dr. Quinn is a member of the faculty at The Ohio State University’s College of Social Work who formerly served as a health services clinician and administrator. Dr. Quinn’s research focuses on mechanisms that underlie individual and structural barriers associated with recidivism and mental health disparities.

Dr. Quinn will be moderating an engaging discussion with our guest panelists:



Desiree Victor




Camille R. Quinn, PhD


Our Panelists Include:

Desiree Victor uses the critical lens of a feminist of color to contextually call out injustices that oppress communities of color, specifically those that affect young women. Desiree’s work at YWFC empowers and inspires young people who have been disproportionately impacted by incarceration, racist and sexist policies, the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and/or the underground street economy, to create positive change in their lives and communities.

Zaneyah has lived experience in the youth justice system, and has received services in the community and also experienced incarceration. Zaneyah says with support from her YAP Advocate, she now understands that anger issues connected to her childhood contributed to the behaviors that resulted in her incarceration. Since receiving re-entry services from YAP, Zaneyah sees her strengths as a leader and a creative person with a bright future. She has graduated high school, passed her written test for a driver’s permit and has been working full-time as an assistant store manager.

10/14/21 - 10/15/21, Philadelphia

Together we will explore effective, community-led efforts that center youth justice not in the prisons, but rather in our neighborhoods - with a focus on safety, family empowerment and racial equity.

Photograph of an original painting by Andre’, produced during a Philadelphia YAP art workshop

Unlocked Logo
Beyond Bars Cover

Beyond Bars - a guide for transforming our approach to young people in conflict with the law by growing community capacity and resources.


Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services article co-authored by leaders from Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.


The Safely Home Campaign is a social justice movement led by Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) and focused on bringing and keeping young people safely home. Since 1975, YAP has partnered with youth, families and governments to provide families with the support they need to stay together and achieve stability. Our focus has been working with young people with the most complex needs in the behavioral health, child welfare and juvenile justice systems, YAP’s approach includes support for young people with complex needs and their families through our wraparound advocacy model and subsidized employment.

100% of our services take place in the homes and neighborhoods of the youth and families we work with.