All of the work of the Tow Youth Justice Institute can only be done through the fulfillment of our values:


  • Only through cross-system collaboration and transparency can we achieve true system reform.
  • Critical discourse is imperative to hold systems accountable for change.
  • Authentic engagement and voice is needed from youth, their families and the community to raise awareness of the issues related to reforming the juvenile justice system.
  • Long-term commitment is required from all stakeholders and funders to sustain and grow our vision.
  • Intentional reliance on research is key to defining reform.
  • Youth and families, with appropriate supports and interventions, have the ability to recover and change.

Below you will find a list of partners that help us attain our goals.  While we hope this list is comprehensive, we apologize if we have missed someone.

Transforming Youth Justice Leadership Development Program

Each year, TYJI works with many partners in the execution of this nine-month training program.  Speakers engage the cohort members is various topics including adolescent development and trauma, getting results (data and outcomes), advocacy, youth justice initiatives, and family and community engagement.  The speakers selected for each cohort consist of University of New Haven faculty and staff, previous cohort fellows, and outside content experts.

Dr. Melissa Whitson

Associate Professor, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Danielle Cooper

Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Department

TYJI Director of Research

Dr. Kendell Coker

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Alexis Bivens (2017 Alumni Fellow)

Program Director, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation

Nicole Kowal (2017 Alumni Fellow)

Court Planner, Juvenile Residential Services, Court Support Services

Michaelangelo Palmieri, (2016 Alumni Fellow)

Juvenile Matters Supervisor, Court Support Services Division, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut

Jacqueline Diggs, (2016 Alumni Fellow)

Social Work Supervisor, Department of Children and Families (DCF)

Anne McIntyre-Lahner

Department of Children and Families

Understanding RBA and Useful Applications for Achieving Positive Youth and Community Outcomes

Allyson Nadeau

Beacon Health Options

Anne Smith


Abby Anderson


Iliana Pujols and Yancy Singleton

CTJJA Youth Justice Advisors

Brian Hill

Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division

Alliance for Children’s Mental Health (ACMH)

Center for Children’s Advocacy (CCA)

Christian Community Action, New Haven

CT Juvenile Justice Alliance (CTJJA); Youth Justice Advisor, Youth Engagement Initiative

CT Voices for Children

Office of the Child Advocate

TRUE Colors, Inc.

CT Coalition to End Homeless

Department of Correction TRUE Unit

Restorative Justice Practices Project

Children’s Health and Development Institute (CHDI)

The School Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) was developed with grant funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network. SBDI implementation is jointly funded and overseen by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (CSSD), the State Department of Education (SDE), and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). CHDI is the coordinating center for SBDI. The SBDI has served 48 schools across 17 school districts, and continues to expand to additional schools each year, with local middle and high schools. The Tow Youth Justice Institute provides the restorative justice practices training to the educators in those communities.

The Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Connecticut Capstone Team worked to increase school-based diversion knowledge and buy-in, as well as the diffusion of effective school-based diversion models, by creating a Connecticut school-based diversion inventory and organizing restorative conversations with statewide stakeholders to increase knowledge and buy-in.

The team included two individuals who train schools in practices and models that reduce justice involvement, a police Sergeant who specializes in youth, a juvenile program architect from the state’s Judicial branch, a legislative advocate for juvenile justice reform, an academic expert who researches juvenile justice reform, and the Deputy Director and General Counsel for our Boards of Education.

The following are key partners in implementing this work.

Connecticut Institute for Police and Youth Relations

The development of the Connecticut Institute for Police and Youth Relations began in 2018.  The partnership of the Tow Youth Justice Institute and the Center for Advanced Policing engaged the Strategies for Youth organization in the early development of a curriculum with a planning grant from the Singer Foundation.  The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving expressed interest early on in supporting a pilot cohort of police officer trainees.

Full development of the program began when Dr. Lorenzo Boyd joined the University and became the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Policing.  He and Dr. Danielle Cooper wrote a deep curriculum and evaluation for the program. They engaged other faculty members who had various expertise that would make the training stronger.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving remained interested and accepted an application for a first Cohort in the Greater Hartford area.  They brought on the Travelers Championship, who they work with every year, as an additional funder for the program.

In addition, letters of support have been received from the Chiefs of Police in Avon, Berlin, Bristol, Cromwell, East Hartford, Farmington, Glastonbury, Hartford, Manchester, Vernon, Windsor, the Capitol Region Chiefs of Police Association, and the Mayor of Hartford.  Officers in those areas will represent patrol, gang unit, community engagement officers, and school resource officers who have received commitment from their agency’s leadership.