School to Prison Pipeline Community Conversation

Tuesday, 18 August 2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

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Tuesday, 18 August 2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Join us with special guests, Mary E. Coogan, Esq., Vice President at Advocates for Children NJ and Jasmine Harden, Program Coordinator at Youth Court for this important conversation around the school to prison pipeline.

Too often, schools refer typical student misbehavior to the police, rather than resolving the issue in school. A referral to law enforcement embroils the student in the juvenile or criminal justice system — he or she will be the subject of a police record; his or her family may be charged court fees and sometimes hefty fines; and the student may face incarceration.

At school, a police referral brands the student as a troublemaker, prompting heightened scrutiny of the student’s actions both in and out of school.  That child then becomes less likely to graduate and more likely to end up involved in the criminal justice system as an adult—high school dropouts are three-and-a-half times more likely to become incarcerated than their graduating peers.

Significantly, this burden does not fall on all students equally—suspensions, expulsions and arrests disproportionately affect minority students.

Join the conversation to learn about programs in NJ that work to disrupt the school to prison pipeline.

National Association of Social Workers-Delaware

For more information, contact Makyla Burke at or call 302-251-9212 x 127

Contact the Organizer

Mary Coogan, Esq.
Vice President, Advocates for Children NJ

Mary directs ACNJ’s KidLaw Resource Center, which provides information on laws and legal processes affecting New Jersey children. She has also authored guides and articles on child welfare-related topics, and has represented ACNJ as amicus curiae before the N.J. Supreme Court in several cases. Mary is a member of the New Jersey Children in Court Improvement Committee, the NJ Medical Assistance Advisory Council, the New Jersey Council for Juvenile Justice System Improvement, and its Education Subcommittee, and the NJ Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect and its Staffing and Oversight Review Subcommittee. She previously chaired the Child Welfare Section and the Pro Bono Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Mary’s primary policy areas are foster care, kinship care, children’s health, and more recently, juvenile justice. In 2016, she started supervising the publication process of ACNJ’s Kids Count, as well as assumed responsibility over the communications staff. Prior to joining ACNJ in 1993, Mary practiced family law in New Jersey. She received both her J.D. and B.A. from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

About Mary Coogan, Esq.

Vice President, Advocates for Children NJ
Jasmine Harden
Youth Court, Newark Court Coordinator, Center for Court Innovation

Jasmine Harden is the Coordinator of the Newark Youth Court at Newark Community Solutions. In her role Ms. Harden oversees the day-to-day operations of the Newark Youth Court, supervising and managing youth court participants, staff, interns, and volunteers. In addition, Ms. Harden trains students on the various roles of youth court, supervises hearing sessions, and builds partnerships with schools and community agencies. Ms. Harden joined the Newark Youth Court in 2012, initially serving as the program’s Case Developer. Throughout her professional career, Ms. Harden has held various positions in the State of New Jersey’s , Children’s System of Care, including Care Manager and Behavioral Technician. Ms. Harden received her B.A. in Justice Studies and M.A. in Child Advocacy and Policy from Montclair State University. The Center launched one of the first youth courts in New York in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 1998. Today, the Center also operates youth courts in Harlem, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Newark, N.J. Youth courts use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed minor offenses pay back the community and receive the help they need to avoid further involvement in the justice system. Youth courts hear a range of low-level crimes; many handle cases that would otherwise wind up in Family Court or Criminal Court. The Center also assists local jurisdictions in their efforts to establish youth court

About Jasmine Harden

Youth Court, Newark Court Coordinator, Center for Court Innovation