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2017 Presenters


Daniel Keating

Daniel KeatingDaniel Keating, is currently a Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics, and Research Professor in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. He has previously served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, University of Toronto, and as a Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development focused on neurodevelopment pathways in adolescent risk behavior. He has also served as an expert witness on hearings to review sentencing of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP). His most recent book (2017, St. Martins Press) is Born Anxious: The Lifelong Impact of Early Life Adversity - and How the Break the Cycle.


Marc Schindler

Marc SchindlerMarc Schindler, is the Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), a national research and policy organization dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Prior to joining JPI, Marc was a partner with Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment organization funding youth programs in the National Capital Region. Before moving to VPP, Marc worked for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Washington, DC's executive branch juvenile corrections agency. From 1997 to 2005 he served as a Staff Attorney with the Youth Law Center (YLC), a national public interest civil rights law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of young people in juvenile justice and child welfare systems nationwide. Marc has served on numerous boards and commissions including, but not limited to, the ABA's Juvenile Justice Committee, the Maryland Governor's Task Force on Juvenile Justice, and the Committee for Baltimore's Children. Marc is a recognized expert in the field and provides commentary in national media. He graduated from Yale University and the University of Maryland School of Law.



Aurelio Dorris

Aurelio DorrisAurelio Dorris, is a formerly convicted youth who was released in June 2015 after serving 24 years for second-degree murder. During his time in prison, Aurelio took full advantage of the resources available to him. He obtained a Paralegal/Legal Assistance Diploma, served as the Law Library Clerk, Warden Forum Representative, and Prisoner Activist. Through those accomplishments, Aurelio was able to gain valuable skills, and have great success since his release. He is currently a student at Wayne County Community College, and working two jobs. Aurelio believes that without taking advantage of the resources he had, he would have become just another statistic.


Deborah LaBelle

Deborah LaBelleDeborah LaBelle, is an attorney and writer whose advocacy focuses on the human rights of people in detention, the intersection of race and gender, and the rights of children in the criminal justice and the education system in the United States. In Addition to her private practice, Ms. LaBelle is the Director of the Juvenile Like Without Parole Initiative for the ACLU of Michigan and Coordinator of Michigan's Juvenile Mitigation Access Committee. She has served as lead counsel in over a dozen class actions that have successfully challenged policies affecting the treatment and sentencing of incarcerated men, women and children, utilizing a human rights framework. She has represented clients before the United States Supreme Court and in international forums with an integrated model for reform utilizing concurrent litigation, documentation and advocacy strategies. Her publications include Basic Decency: Protecting the human rights of children (2012) and Ensuring Rights for All: Realizing Human Rights for Prisoners in Bringing Human Rights Home (Praeger Press, 2008).


Elvin Gonzalez

Elvin GonzalezElvin Gonzalez, is the Family Division Administrator of the Berrien County Trial Court - Family Division in Michigan. He has oversight over all Juvenile Justice programs and services in Berrien County including the Court Services Division, Intake Unit, Juvenile Detention Center with Secure Detention and Residential Treatment Programs and Youth Service Bureau Diversion. Additionally, He oversees the Probate Unit of the Family Division. Elvin has over 30 years of experience working in the Juvenile Justice field. He has served as a progressive leader in organizational change in the Juvenile Justice field by championing best practices based on "What Works" evidence-based principles and data-driven decision-making.


Judge Frank Szymanski

Judge Frank SzymanskiJudge Frank Szymanski, is Judge at Wayne County Third Circuit Court Juvenile Division, and a Judicial Representative for the Wayne County School Justice Partnership. He is the author of Identity Design, a guide to powerful and generous living, based on the concept that we have the ability to design the identity we need to get the life we want. He's the founder of the Identity Design Program, an interactive course on personal development. As a juvenile court judge in Detroit, elected to serve in one of the busiest juvenile courts in the nation, he has worked to transform some of the most troubled and dangerous youth in America. Judge Szymanski has founded and sponsored a number of programs including: Youth Deterrent Program, Transcendental Meditation, Guitars Not Guns, KKIS (Keep Kids In School), and KAREN (Kids Are Reading Every Night).


Frank Vandervort

Frank VandervortFrank Vandervort, is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School where he co-founded and teaches in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. He has handled delinquency cases for more than a quarter of a century in Michigan's courts. Professor Vandervort's areas of research interest are juvenile justice, child protection, and interdisciplinary practice. He has a BA from Michigan State University and a JD from Wayne State University Law School.


Jason Smith

Jason SmithJason Smith, leads Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency's (MCCD) legislative advocacy efforts and serves as the coordinator of the campaign to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction in Michigan to 18. Additionally, he is responsible for managing several of MCCD's projects that aim to reduce the use out of home placement through the statewide expansion of effective, community-based programming for justice-involved youth. In the past, Jason served as the lead researcher and co-author of "Restoring Kids; Transforming Communities," a report that details the use of juvenile court diversion programs in Michigan. Jason began his career in the field of juvenile justice as an intern with the Ingham County Circuit Court's Family Division. After graduating from Michigan State University, he worked as a direct care provider at a transitional home for adjudicated girls, then as a case manager within Wayne County's juvenile justice system. While working on his Masters of Social Work degree at the University of Michigan, Jason interned with the Washtenaw County Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative and MCCD. Before joining MCCD in 2014, Jason co-managed a youth diversion program in Skokie, IL and was also a 2011 Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellow with the National Juvenile Justice Network.


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