Professor Hartung and Stewart ’21 Report on Massachusetts Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline


01.11.22 —Professor Stephanie Roberts Hartung and Erin Stewart ’21, a Skadden Fellow at Citizens for Juvenile Justice, are co-authors of “Criminalizing a “Rough Life”: A Study of Systems Involvement Among Incarcerated People in Massachusetts”— a report illuminating the results of Phase 1 of Northeastern’s Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline (C2P) jail and prison survey. The ongoing survey project seeks to address gaps in publicly available data about systems involvement and childhood experiences among those currently incarcerated in Massachusetts. The survey results highlight the failure of the state’s child welfare and education systems to provide the necessary supports to address the social, emotional, behavioral and academic needs of some of the system’s most vulnerable youth.

“The survey results demonstrate that the systems designed to protect and support vulnerable youth in Massachusetts are failing to do so,” said Hartung, principal investigator of the grant-funded research project. “Moreover, the study highlights overrepresentation of BIPOC and other marginalized children at virtually every marker along the pipeline.”

“This important research from Northeastern Law's Cradle to Prison Pipeline survey provides more hard data to affirm what we have known for some time: that Massachusetts child-serving systems fail to adequately set up young people for success. This ground-breaking research shows that too many young people currently incarcerated as adults faced traumatic experiences as children with high levels of home removals — especially LGBTQ youth — and that the commonwealth’s child welfare system far too often fails to provide adequate support,” said Leon Smith, executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice.

Northeastern University’s Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline Project (C2P Project) is a collaboration among the School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration (CPIAC); the College of Arts, Media and Design; the College of Social Science and Humanities’ Department of Sociology and Anthropology; the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) and the nonprofit Everyday Boston.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country. Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences through its signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. More than 1,000 employers worldwide in a wide range of legal, government, nonprofit and business organizations participate in the program. With a focus on social justice and innovation, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experiences to successfully practice law.

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