Jason Szanyi, Director of Institutional Reform



Jason Szanyi is the Director of Institutional Reform at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, where he oversees the Center's work to end dangerous and inhumane conditions for youth in custody, collaborates with communities to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, and helps public officials reduce the unnecessary incarceration of children. Jason also has extensive experience helping jurisdictions implement the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in juvenile justice facilities. Since joining the Center in 2009, Jason has worked with or trained officials in over two dozen states, cities, and counties. He provides long-term technical assistance to jurisdictions that are implementing systems change, in addition to engaging in research, writing, and administrative and legislative advocacy for juvenile justice reform.

Jason joined the Center in 2009 as a Skadden Fellow. As part of his project, he partnered with the District of Columbia Public Defender Service’s Juvenile Services Program, representing incarcerated children from the District in a variety of legal proceedings. Jason has also worked with the Government of India on reforms to its juvenile justice system as part of Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program. Jason co-teaches a seminar on juvenile justice at American University’s Washington College of Law and has lectured on the juvenile justice system at several other law schools and universities. In 2013, Jason was named a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow by Harvard Law School’s Office of Public Interest Advising. Jason is a graduate of Northwestern University and Harvard Law School.

Selected Writing

Standing Up to Sexual Misconduct: An Advocacy Toolkit to End the Sexual Abuse of Children in Juvenile Facilities August 2015

Stepping Back from Solitary Confinement, University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children, and the Courts, Aug. 1, 2012.

Sentencing Children to Die in Prison is Cruel and Unusual Punishment, JURIST, Apr. 9, 2012

Bringing Justice to India’s Children: Three Reforms to Bridge Practices with Promises in India’s Juvenile Justice System, 14 U.C. Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy 107 (2010) (with Erika J. Rickard).


Phone: (202) 637-0377 ext. 108



Models for Change

Working to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice systems.

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