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Law & Psychology Review Symposium

February 3 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Youth Incarceration and Juvenile Justice in Alabama

Friday, February 3, 2023

About the Symposium

The criminal justice and prison systems in Alabama have been put under the spotlight in recent years. Alabama’s juvenile justice system and high youth incarceration rates exacerbate the crisis, calling into question the system as a whole and what can be done to reduce incarceration and recidivism rates. The Law & Psychology Review will be hosting a symposium to address this area of law. The symposium, entitled “Youth Incarceration and Juvenile Justice in Alabama,” will have a group of expert panelists with diverse backgrounds ranging from academics to government workers. These panelists will facilitate a discussion addressing the current juvenile justice system and what can be down to reduce youth incarceration in Alabama.

Register to Attend

Register here.

Symposium Schedule

8:30 Introductory Remarks
9:00 Policy Issues and Recommendations Regarding Youth Incarceration in Alabama with panelists Randall Salekin, David Smolin, and Frederick Spight
10:20 Recent Trends in Juvenile Courts and Diversion Programs with panelists Jill Beck,Judge Edmond Naman, and Judge Andra Sparks
11:40 Kelli Thompson’s Keynote Address: Psychological Development of Incarcerated Youth

Speaker Bios

Randall Salekin
Dr. Randall T. Salekin is a Professor of Psychology at The University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and completed his clinical internship at Yale University. His primary research and clinical interests are in child clinical and forensic psychology. Specifically, his interests are on the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders as well as those youth with psychopathic traits. Dr. Salekin is also active in the Psychology and Law concentration area and is interested in issues such as juvenile evaluation as well as the evaluation of youth facing transfer to adult court.

David Smolin
David Smolin is a Professor of Law at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama where he is the Harwell G. Davis Chair in Constitutional Law, director for The Center for Children, Law, and Ethics, former director of the Center for Biotechnology, Law, and Ethics, and faculty advisor for the Law, Science and Technology Society. In the past, Professor Smolin has presented across the world on issues relating to juvenile justice.

Frederick Spight
Frederick Spight graduated from Morehouse College (Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa) with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a concentration in Philosophy. He is also a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law where he was a member of BLSA; a student clinician in the Community Law and Business Clinic; and an Executive Editor of the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy. He studied human and civil rights law at the University of Vienna (Austria) where he had the opportunity to become a law clerk with the Chance for Children’s Foundation in Budapest, Hungary where he worked on school desegregation issues with the Roma people. He came to Alabama as a part of Legal Services of Alabama’s first cohort of John Lewis Fellows. In this role, he successfully incorporated and advised several entities including a nonprofit currently obtaining its 501(c)3 status. Also, he was able to build a partnership with the Birmingham Business Resource Center to aid low income and minority owned businesses in the Birmingham area.

Jill Beck
Jill Beck is the Director of Youth Services Institute at The University of Alabama School of Social Work, a service organization that provides residential and outpatient therapeutic treatment for court-involved youth and at-risk children in 20 counties across Alabama. She has served in this role since 2014. A 1996 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Jill began her career as a Staff Attorney at Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, a civil law clinic for low-income clients. In 2000, she joined the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office, where she served as a Deputy District Attorney specializing in the prosecution of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault in adult and juvenile courts.

Edmond Naman
Edmond Naman is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and a graduate of Jones School of Law. In the past, Judge Naman has served as a prosecutor and law enforcement legal instructor. Today, Judge Naman serves as a Circuit Court Judge and head of the Juvenile Court in Mobile County, Alabama. Outside of the courtroom, Judge Naman serves the community as a member on the Mobile Mayor’s Task force on Youth and Substance Abuse, the Chairman of Helping Families Initiative for at risk youth, and is the co-founder of NEST, a service organization.

Andra Sparks
Andra Sparks was educated in the Birmingham Public School System and is a 1981 graduate of West End High School. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1985 from Tuskegee Institute and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1988. Judge Sparks is a graduate of the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s School. Today, Judge Sparks serves as the Presiding Judge of the Birmingham Municipal Court.

Kelli Thompson
Kelli R. Thompson is an Assistant Research Professor and Director of the Juvenile Delinquency Lab at Auburn University. Dr. Thompson earned her PhD from the University of New Orleans and attended Auburn University for her Bachelor’s Degree. Her current research interests include the developmental pathways of delinquent behavior and the assessment, treatment-related outcomes, and public policy issues facing justice-involved youth.