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Release date:
Jan. 8, 2002
Contact: Elaine Justice, Associate Director, 404-727-0643, or

Emory Law School Becomes New Home of ABA's Southern Juvenile Defender Center

The Emory University School of Law was recently appointed the new home of the Southern Juvenile Defender Center (SJDC), part of a national network of centers associated with the American Bar Association (ABA) that provide grassroots assistance and advocacy for juvenile justice issues. The law school, through its Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic, was selected by the ABA Juvenile Justice Center to be the new home of the SJDC, one of nine regional affiliate centers established by the ABA.

The SJDC serves as a critical resource in the Southeast to promote and improve legal representation and treatment of juveniles within the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Through advocacy, training, technical support and intensive study of issues that affect juvenile justice and the juvenile defense bar, the SJDC seeks to be a voice for both the children who become involved in these systems and their defense counsel.

One of the center’s first major projects involves researching and mapping juvenile detention centers. The project is looking at a numerous factors, including staffing, overcrowding and referral patterns. The SJDC, formerly located in Louisiana, has also provided technical support and advice to numerous juvenile defense attorneys and advocates in the region since opening last fall.

"Our main objective is to improve access to counsel and increase the quality of legal representation for children in the juvenile justice system," said Lynn Grindall, managing attorney for the SJDC. During the next six months, Grindall will travel to the six other states in the region to get a ground view of what factors are affecting juvenile justice in different areas around the southeast.

Karen Worthington, director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic, is also director of the SJDC. The clinic serves Georgia as well as the neighboring states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. For more information on the SJDC, call 404-712-8705.

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