Francine Sherman
Francine Sherman is a Clinical Professor at Boston College Law School where she has been teaching Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights & Public Policy for the past twenty-five years and where she founded and directs the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Program. She speaks and writes widely about the juvenile justice system and, in particular, about girls in the justice system.
Jessica Nowlan
Jessica Nowlan is the Executive Director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center, formerly the Center for Young Women’s Development. She is deeply committed to the liberation and freedom of women and girls and has spent the majority of her career working to develop and implement innovative programming and strategies based on the principles that those most impacted must be at the forefront of decision making about their own lives.
Zulema Ruby White Starr
Z. Ruby White Starr is the Chief Strategy Officer for Casa de Esperanza where she serves as director of the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities. Prior to joining Casa de Esperanza, Ruby spent over 15 years with National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) where she served as the Family Violence Program Director.
Michelle Diaz
Michelle Diaz is a Peer-Youth Advocate for the Families and Youth Support Program at Families on the Move of NYC, where she advocates for children struggling with mental health issues and behavior challenges. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Ms. Diaz to the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (NYS JJAG). She is also the National Youth Chair at the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) and an advisor for the Vera Task force on Ending Girls Incarceration.
Women and Justice Project
Angela Irvine, PhD
Dr. Irvine has more than 25 years of experience in education and social policy. She has served as the principal investigator of a national
study of youth deincarceration; a national study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, gender nonconforming and transgender
(LGBQ/GNCT) young people in the youth justice system; and a project to improve permanency for LGBT youth and youth of color within the
criminal justice and youth justice systems.
Debra Camarillo, MA, CACT 1
Debra has worked in the field of substance abuse and transformational healing for over 30 years. She is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor and has a Master’s Degree in Theology with emphasis on Latino Leadership.

After receiving her substance abuse counseling certification in 1993 she began working with Height Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco in their re-entry program. She counseled parolees that had served long sentences in the prison system transitioning back into the community.
Leslie Acoca, MA MFT
Leslie Acoca designed and created the Girls Health Screen (GHS)-the first validated health and trauma screen for incarcerated girls-and is the Founder and President of the National Girls Health & Justice Institute. Acoca lectures nationally and is a published author. National Public Radio (NPR) All Things Considered, the Los Angeles Times, and Kaiser Health News have prominently featured her work. Acoca has also appeared in several videos and feature length documentaries.
Laurie Schaffner, PhD
Dr. Schaffner is a sociologist whose work focuses on gender, adolescence, morality, and the law. Her study of girls in detention in the United States, Girls in Trouble with the Law (Rutgers University Press, 2006), earned the 2007 American Sociological Association, Section on Childhood and Youth, Award for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship.
Barbara Owen PhD
Barbara Owen, PhD, is an international expert in the areas of women and imprisonment; improving operational practice in women’s prisons via research; and women’s prison culture. She has extensive experience in conducting mixed methods research, including participant observation, ethnographies, large-scale surveys, policy studies; and program evaluation.
Internationally, her work involves implementing human rights protections in women’s prisons with the Thailand Institute of Justice.
The 'If' Project - film
The If Project started with a question.

“If there was something someone could have said or done that would have changed the path that led you here, what would it have been?”
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Speakers & Events


2017 Association for Justice-Involved Females and Organizations