The First Justice of the Middlesex County Juvenile Court, Hon. Jay Bliztman, has for decades been a leader in the efforts to improve the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. As a public defender, he started the Youth Advocacy Project, which began with the goal of protecting and advancing the legal and human rights of children and promoting their healthy development, through active partnerships in Boston’s communities. In 1994, he co-founded the Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ), a statewide non-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on important juvenile justice issues. Judge Blitzman dedicated himself to these initiatives because he believed that if he and other lawyers worked to improve access for juveniles and their families outside the courtroom these efforts would have a positive impact on the atmosphere within the courtroom.
A strong proponent for restorative justice, Judge Blitzman was initially “drawn to RJ at the urging of students” while teaching a course at Northeastern University. Concerned about national trends in the arrest and prosecution rates in Massachusetts and across the United States, Judge Blitzman learned that restorative justice, can be a cost effective tool to curb recidivism in the juvenile justice system by changing the behavior of youth.
Judge Blitzman will be a speaker in the Public Interest Leadership Program will host the Juvenile Restorative Justice Symposium at the Boston Bar Association on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The Symposium free event is open to the public and will bring together restorative justice practitioners for the purpose of educating the bar and raising awareness about restorative justice principles and efforts to implement these principles in the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts.