My passion and professional focus is in the field of juvenile delinquency. Over the years, I have served in policy positions in Rhode Island, such as chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and chair of the juvenile subcommittee of the Rhode Island Attorney General's Domestic Violence Task Force. I have organized statewide conferences including the first conference focusing on children exposed to domestic violence.
In the course Juvenile Justice, I attempt to create an atmosphere whereby students analyze their own actions, beliefs, biases and stereotypes. We examine the roots of delinquency and students work with at-risk youth, either at the R.I. Training School for adjudicated delinquents or at a local service provider such as Child & Family. We use these experiences to explore innovative solutions to the problem of delinquency. It has a value beyond the textbook and helps the students to put a face on the theories of juvenile delinquency, to see the human element, the youth who are at risk. As well as the gratification of assisting troubled youth by mentoring them, students gain an appreciation of the needs of these youth and their backgrounds. Uniformly, they recount this community service requirement as an eye-opening experience.
The sharing that is done during students' presentations enables greater light to be shed on each individual's experience. Questions are asked, commonalities and differences explored, linkages are made. I try to assist in making the connections and to leave them with a better understanding of the juvenile justice system, youth in danger of entering the system or recidivating, as well as the programming essential to try to help them. This dovetails with Salve Regina's mission of encouraging students "to work for a world that is harmonious, just, and merciful," and many students decide to pursue the concentration in juvenile justice offered by the Department of Administration of Justice.