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Youth Justice Council

The Youth Justice Council serves as an advisory committee for the Hennepin County juvenile justice system. The work of the council focuses on developing and implementing policies, programs and practices that aim to eliminate disparities in the juvenile justice system and increase resources for youth and their families that positively impact the community and enhance public safety.

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The purpose of the Eliminating Racial Disparities (ERD) sub-committee is to provide a forum where representatives from county and Municipal Governments, law enforcement, judiciary, County Attorney's Office, public defenders, public education, philanthropy, Community-Based Youth Serving Agencies, community advocates, parents and youth, work together focusing on eliminating ethnic and racial disparities within Hennepin County.

Current meeting

The ERD meets bi-monthly on the second Thursday of each month from 4–5:30 p.m.


Past meeting


The Underserved Youth sub-committee focuses on the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations within the juvenile justice system, such as youth who identity as LGBTQ+, youth who have experiences being trafficked and exploited, youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability, and youth diagnosed with mental health conditions.


Past meetings



The Youth Justice Council will be chaired by one community representative (non-Hennepin County employee) and two Hennepin County juvenile justice system representatives. Members include a diverse group of community representatives, including youth, and juvenile justice system stakeholders.


  • Dr. Brittany Lewis (Humphrey Institute)
  • Judge Mark Kappelhoff (Juvenile Court)
  • Jerald Moore (Juvenile Probation Division Manager)


Members of the Youth Justice Council will represent the following designated areas:

  • Community representatives: 12 members (to include representatives from the impacted communities of color, faith-based community, community providers, parents and other concerned citizens)
  • Hennepin County Attorney's Office: 1 member
  • Hennepin County Board of Commissioners: 1 member
  • Hennepin County Community Corrections and Rehabilitation: 1 member
  • Hennepin County Human Services: 1 member
  • Juvenile Court Judge: 1 member
  • Minneapolis Police Department: 1 member
  • Minneapolis School District: 1 member
  • Public Defender's Office: 1 member
  • Steering Committee Chairs: 3 members
  • Suburban Police Department: 1 member
  • Youth Justice Council Coordinator: 1 member

Sub-committee chairs

Eliminating Racial Disparities

  • Sarah Davis (Legal Rights Center)
  • Willie Bridges (Hennepin County Attorney’s Office)

Underserved Youth Committee

  • Beth Holger (The Link)
  • Judge Amy Dawson (Juvenile Court)
  • Judge Jeannice Reding (Juvenile Court)

Youth Advisory Board

  • Annastasia Guilfoyle (YMCA)

The Youth Justice Council is a collaborative effort among Hennepin County juvenile justice system stakeholders and community members who are committed to creating an equitable, fair, and effective juvenile justice system.

The mission of the Youth Justice Council is to improve and reform the juvenile justice system by eliminating the unnecessary use of secure detention, eliminating disparities based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability and providing resources to effective community-based and culturally appropriate services for youth and their families.

Youth Justice Council charter (PDF)


The Youth Justice Council has several sub-committees that help guide future work.

  • Executive Steering Committee
  • Eliminating Racial Disparities
  • Underserved Youth Committee
  • Youth Advisory Board

Guiding principles

The work of the Youth Justice Council is guided by the following core principles:

  • Secure detention will be used per statute definitions only for those youth who pose a risk to public safety, who won’t appear in court despite the use of alternatives;
  • Promoting and enhancing community safety through a lens of recognizing, and investing in the strengths of youth, families and their communities while ensuring connections to resources and opportunity are present;
  • Decisions regarding who should be held in secure detention will be based on an objective and validated Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI);
  • No youth shall be disparately impacted at any stage of the juvenile justice system based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identify or disability;
  • Effective, evidence-based, promising, culturally appropriate and community-based services will be developed for youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system to maximize positive outcomes for youth, their families, and the community;
  • Community members, youth, and their families will be encouraged to participate within all aspects of the Youth Justice Council;
  • Data collection and data analysis will be used to assess the status of our practices, identify problems or issues within the juvenile justice system, and evaluate programs and practices to drive policy decisions and system reform.
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