Skadden Fellow: Jason Szanyi

As a staff attorney for the Center for Children's Law and Policy (CCLP), Jason advocates for safer and more humane conditions for youth in juvenile facilities. Jason and his colleagues also advocate for policies and practices that reduce racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system and that reduce jurisdictions’ reliance on incarceration of children.

Based in Washington, D.C., Jason’s current projects include creating a more equitable and effective juvenile justice system in Connecticut, where arrests of students in Hartford’s public schools have fallen by almost 80 percent since CCLP began work there. He also is collaborating with New York City officials to implement policies to protect youth from sexual misconduct in the city’s juvenile justice facilities. A recent nationwide study revealed that more than one in 10 youth report being sexually abused while incarcerated.

Jason became interested in juvenile justice issues as a student at Harvard Law School, when he worked with the government of India on reforms to its juvenile justice system. After witnessing nightmarish conditions of confinement and other systemic problems, Jason looked to the U.S. for solutions. He quickly discovered that the American juvenile justice system also was in urgent need of reform. Since that formative experience, Jason has worked to improve our approach to youth who get in trouble with the law. One of the keys, Jason says, is keeping children out of the justice system altogether. “My vision is a world where we give all kids, including those who make mistakes, the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”