Lori Cohen, MST Services

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"They Call Us Monsters", Teens Facing Life Behind Bars

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

May 2, 2017 8:15:00 AM

A thought-provoking documentary and discussion on the juvenile justice system

Within a few minutes into watching the documentary, “They Call Us Monsters,” screened at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management last month, I thought I knew how the film would turn out. It would be about redemption, because that’s the kind of movies, even documentaries, we like to see. But, I was wrong. 

they call us monsters hks.jpg

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Topics: juvenile offenders

This Story Has A Sad Ending

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Feb 23, 2017 9:35:21 AM

So if you don’t like sad, don’t read it.

We live in a lovely neighborhood in a residential community outside Boston.

It’s quintessential New England. Cul-de-sac, walking distance to school, the library and shops. Full of big backyards with swing sets and slides. I raised my two kids here. They are now in their 20s.


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Topics: family stories,

Our Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Jan 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

2017 begins with new aspirations and goals

It’s that time of year when we think about all we’ve accomplished in 2016 as an organization and as individuals. And as the tradition has it, we look ahead, always optimistic that next year we will do more, dream bigger and deliver better results.

So as we at MST Services consider 2017, we have compiled a list of our top 10 New Year’s Resolutions.

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Topics: MST Infographic

Juvenile Justice Should be a Campaign Issue

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Oct 11, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Juvenile justice reform has bipartisan support... If we can move past presidential politics

Typically, our blog is apolitical. We don’t take sides except when it comes to what is best for young people in our society. Then we have an unwavering point of view. First, do no harm. Second, do good and do better. Advocate for change where change is needed.

We are not taking sides today—though we admit to looking forward to the end of this election cycle. 

Unlike the hot-button issues of tax, immigration and healthcare, juvenile justice reform has bipartisan support. 

So regardless of who wins in November, we hope our elected officials can get back to working on overhauling the juvenile justice system.  


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Topics: Youth Justice Awareness Month

Should We Be Sealing Juvenile Court Records?

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Aug 23, 2016 1:01:13 PM

Keep juvenile court records closed—really closed

Think about this.

You got into a fight when you were 12 that led to two counts of assault and battery. You lived in a rough Boston neighborhood. Kids fought. This episode earned you probation.

Move forward. You’re now 14 and holding down an after school job. Fast forward and you become your high-school valedictorian. You get a degree from Duke. You apply for a job in Chicago to work with at-risk kids. Suddenly, you are blindsided. You thought your juvenile court record was sealed. You never expected this episode would impact your adult lie. 


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MacArthur Foundation's 100&Change Contest

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Jun 30, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Want to change the world but need the funding? This contest could be your answer

The MacArthur Foundation has given away $5.5 billion since it was set up in 1978—and it still has a $6.5 billion endowment.


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Combatting Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System with MST

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Apr 19, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Jury duty prompts questions about disproportionate minority contact within system

About 32 million Americans will get called for jury duty this year. Just recently, I was one of the lucky few. The case I was presented with involved a young Hispanic man who allegedly possessed cocaine and a dangerous weapon with the intent to distribute.

The right to an impartial jury is an unalienable right in the United States, written into law by our Founding Fathers. Choosing this jury, however, was especially interesting and relevant to me.JuryDuty.jpg

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Topics: disproportionate minority contact

Judge Steven Teske Speaking at the MST Pre-conference

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Feb 26, 2016 9:30:00 AM

A longtime vocal proponent of juvenile-justice reform coming to Blueprints to share his experience

The Georgia justice system was, to put it mildly, not stellar. The state had gotten on the tough-on-crime bandwagon in the early 90s. That led to the number of prisoners in state lockups jumping from 20,000 in 1990 to 50,000 14 years later. The numbers looked even worse when you considered that a 2009 Pew study determined that one in 13 Georgians were either in jail, on probation or parole. This gave Georgia the dubious distinction of having the highest such rate in the country. Throw into this mix that although blacks were only 31 percent of the state’s population, they accounted for 58 percent of prisoners.

But things have been changing as the attitude of sweep up offenders, even ones who commit lesser crimes, and throw them into prison has changed. Judge Steven C. Teske has been at the forefront of that movement. He is a highly respected jurist who started his career in the justice- system trenches as Atlanta’s Chief Parole Officer, working his way up to chief judge of Clayton County’s juvenile court. 


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Topics: Blueprints, MST pre-conference

Obama Bans Solitary Confinement for Juveniles

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Jan 29, 2016 10:02:59 AM

President speaks out about devastating effects of solitary confinement

The movement to end kids being shut up in solitary confinement continues to pick up steam. As well it should.

This practice puts young people under 18 in tiny cells for 22 hours, even more, a day. They have little or no interaction with others. They often are given nothing to read or do. Too little food. They are at the mercy of guards who have no mercy. They sit there, by themselves, taking a heavy toll on their emotional well-being. Many contemplate suicide. Few come out unscathed.

And now POTUS is on board with putting an end to this practice.


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Topics: juvenile justice, solitary confinement

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development

Posted by Lori Cohen, MST Services

Jan 12, 2016 10:00:00 AM

A conference on evidence-based programs

"The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate." —Joseph Priestley

Emails are great. Phone calls good. Face-to-face communication, best.

The back-and-forth, give-and take exchanges of ideas and experiences lead to new insights, expanded knowledge, immediate clarifications and solidification of personal connections.  

This makes the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development Conference in April 2016 such an important event for those working to improve the well-being of children. blueprints-2016.jpg

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Topics: Blueprints, Blueprints conference, MST pre-conference

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