Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, Amy L. Solomon, today announced that President Biden has appointed Liz Ryan of Newark, Delaware, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention of the delinquency of the OJP. Ryan, whose appointment takes effect May 16, joins the Youth First Initiative’s OJJDP, a national campaign to end youth incarceration that she founded and served as president and CEO.
“Liz Ryan is a passionate advocate for America’s youth and a visionary whose actions have benefited our country’s youth in many ways,” said Amy L. Solomon, OJP’s Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General. “As a champion of reform and a proven problem solver, she will put our children first and help guide our nation towards smarter, fairer and more humane juvenile justice policies and practices.”
Ryan is a renowned advocate for alternatives to youth confinement. As president of Youth First, she led a multi-state effort to shift resources from incarceration to community service. The initiative has led to the closure of youth prisons in half a dozen states and the diversion of more than $50 million to non-incarceration alternatives. Prior to founding Youth First, she was the founder, president and CEO of the Youth Justice Campaign, which aimed to end the prosecution of young people in adult criminal courts and the placement of young people in prisons. and adult prisons. Campaign efforts have led to legal and policy changes in more than 40 states and Washington, D.C., an 80% reduction in the number of youths in adult court, and a 75% decrease in the number of youths placed in jails and adult prisons.
From 2000 to 2005, Ryan served as Director of Advocacy for the Youth Law Center, where she led a nationwide initiative to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system. She also co-founded the Act 4 Juvenile Justice Campaign to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and the Justice 4 DC Youth Coalition, which resulted in the closure of the infamous Oak Hill Youth Prison in Laurel, Maryland. . Additionally, she served as government relations attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund and National Field Director for the Juvenile Court Centennial Initiative, an OJJDP-funded effort that has promoted juvenile justice successes in 20 States.
“I am very pleased and honored to have the opportunity to lead the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,” said Ryan. “I look forward to working with OJJDP staff and directly affected youth and their families, youth justice system stakeholders, practitioners and others across the country to advance reforms effective youth justice and expand growth opportunities for young people. and thrive.
For the past two years, Ryan has worked as a student investigative journalist with Louisiana State University’s Cold Case Project on Civil Rights-era cold cases. She collaborated with several other LSU Cold Case Project students on a four-part series about the 1960 murders of Albert Pitts Jr., David Lee Pitts, Alfred Marshall and Earnest McFarland in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, which was a semi-finalist for Harvard. Kennedy School’s Goldsmith Award, the only student nomination to receive an award. She also worked with the families of the Martinsville Seven and other attorneys to secure clemency for the seven young black men who were executed after being found guilty by all-white juries of sexually assaulting a white woman in Martinsville, Washington. Virginia, in 1949, the first posthumous pardon granted in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ryan is from Virginia and holds an MA in International Studies from George Washington University and a BA from Dickinson College.
As head of the OJJDP, she will lead a range of grantmaking programs, training initiatives and policy activities aimed at protecting children and strengthening the juvenile justice system. OJJDP envisions a nation where children are safe from crime and violence and where contact with the justice system is rare, fair and beneficial to young people.
Ryan takes over the leadership role from Chyrl Jones, who has served as Acting Administrator of the OJJDP since January 2021 and will return to his role as Deputy Administrator within the office.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s ability to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, help victims and strengthen the rule of law. For more information about OJP and its components, visit www.ojp.gov.
Find out more at the Ministry of Justice