Sophie Karpf

Recent Posts

An MST Therapist is Born

Posted by Sophie Karpf

A childhood dream realized

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut? Studies show that just 6 percent of adults end up in the careers they wanted as kids. Katelyn Jakubovic is part of that 6 percent.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, MST Community

NY Raises Age for Juvenile Defendants, Eyes Turn to NC

Posted by Sophie Karpf

As of April 9, there is only one state in the nation that charges 16-year-olds as adults

Today, 800 inmates in New York jails and state prisons are younger than 18. What’s more, 96 percent of these youth are incarcerated for non-violent offenses. But after an April 9 legislative vote, things will be different.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

A Prosecutor’s Vision for a Better Juvenile Justice System

Posted by Sophie Karpf

He was a high schooler who made a mistake, and Adam Foss gave him a second chance

Christopher was an 18-year-old, high-school senior who dreamed of going to college. Trouble is, despite working part time, he didn’t have enough money for tuition. What’s a kid to do? Christopher ended up stealing 30 laptops from a local store and selling them on the internet. He was arrested and charged with 30 felonies, one for each device.

When this case landed on Adam Foss’ desk in 2009, he knew he had a decision to make. As a criminal prosecutor, the decision to arraign Christopher, and what to arraign him for, was his and his alone.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

New Missouri Statute Worrisome for School-to-Prison Pipeline

Posted by Sophie Karpf

Schoolyard fracases now felonies in Missouri

It’s about to get way worse in the Show Me State.

The first day of the New Year, the day that traditionally marks a bright new beginning, marked a dark new chapter in Missouri's history.

Imagine a school-yard scuffle, maybe a punch or two thrown, some rolling on the ground. 

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Topics: School Safety

An Angry and Aggressive Teen is No Match for MST

Posted by Sophie Karpf

To wrap up Youth Justice Awareness Month, we are sharing a family story from Maine. Our hope is that all young people will be given a chance to succeed like Mitch was.

Imagine you’re a parent of four young kids. When the oldest is 11, he starts acting out in ways you aren’t able to manage. Mitch has massive anger outbursts that he takes out on the furniture, walls and cabinets. He discounts all authority. He is angry and aggressive. If asked to do chores, he vehemently refuses and leaves the house for hours. When he sets his eyes on a new toy or electronic, even if it is one you can’t afford, he starts cussing, hitting things and scaring his siblings, so much so that you feel you have to give in. You start to give in so often that you are running through your savings. 

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Richard Ross: The Story Behind His Photographs

Posted by Sophie Karpf

One man tells the story of youth incarceration through photographs

How does a professor, researcher and architectural photographer end up depicting the cruelties of the juvenile-justice system with his photography? It seems an unlikely marriage of talents, but when Richard Ross was working on a project photographing the architecture at the El Paso Juvenile Detention Center, he noticed he was unintentionally capturing the young people there in his photos. With this discovery came an idea: What if he could put a human face on the young people who are locked up inside our nation’s detention centers?

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

End Juvenile Incarceration Now

Posted by Sophie Karpf

Why we ought to shut down juvenile prisons

Nell Bernstein makes the bold assertion that all juvenile prisons should be completely shut down in her 2014, nationally acclaimed book, Burning Down the House. In April, Bernstein spoke at the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development conference, where she applauded the 50-percent drop in juvenile incarceration since the mid-’90s. The numbers are down 50 percent, but does that mean the glass is half full or half empty? According to Bernstein, it doesn’t really matter since the  contents of juvenile prisons are toxic to children. “We’re administering this poison to a smaller group of kids, [so] pragmatically, of course [that] matters immensely. But if the goal is not just reform, but justice, we’ve miles to go before we rest.”Nell_bernstein_shut_down_juvenile_prisons.jpg

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Giving Voice to Youth Incarceration

Posted by Sophie Karpf

A simple phone call could change the way you view juvenile justice

I’ve read the reports. I know the statistics. I am acutely familiar with the disparities that permeate the juvenile-justice system.

I’ve read books, too. Books threaded throughout with personal, heartbreaking stories that attempt to bridge the gap between the abstract idea of youth incarceration and the true experience of living through it. And I’ve been touched by those stories. I’ve felt the secondhand pain of the kids and families whose lives were ripped apart by incarceration.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform

Judge Steven Teske on Getting Tough on Crime Video

Posted by Sophie Karpf

Georgia juvenile court judge raises graduation rates and reduces crime

Why does it benefit a juvenile-court judge to reduce detention if it isn't costing him anything? Well, in the words of Chief Judge Steven Teske, it’s because it’s the right thing to do.

And reduce detention he did.

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Topics: MST Community

What to Do with an Out-Of-Control Youth?

Posted by Sophie Karpf

“For years, we had to defend our crazy.” These are the words Susan used to describe the situation with her son, Benjamin. 

For confidentiality, all names have been changed.

By the time Benjamin was 12, his family had nearly reached the end of their rope. With seven members of a blended family living under the same roof, things were understandably chaotic at times. They were only made more strained by Benjamin’s frequent angry outbursts and out-of-control rage.benjamin.jpg

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Topics: Troubled Youth