Liberty University professor Caren Harp has been named by President Donald Trump to serve as the administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the Department of Justice, the White House announced Tuesday.
An associate professor at Liberty’s School of Law, Carp previously served as chief of the sex crimes prosecution unit in New York City and as director of the National Juvenile Justice Prosecution Center.
Liberty University is an evangelical school run by Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr., according to a report in The Hill. Trump delivered the school’s commencement address in May.
If approved by the Senate, Harp would oversee the department responsible for developing juvenile justice programs.
According to Harp’s own words, Trump has made an excellent choice, because she has expressed compassionate solutions when faced with the problem of kids committing crimes.
In an op-ed penned for an industry newsletter back in May, the former prosecutor and public defender points out that there’s a difference between youth and adults when it comes to crime.
“First, youth are generally different from adults, and they should be treated differently. The risky, impulsive behavior and bad decision-making many adolescents engage in is largely temporary, and with developmentally appropriate guidance and correction, most youth will age out of delinquent conduct. Second, decision-makers need to recognize their obligation to both short-term and long-term public safety,” she wrote, going on to say that putting young people in prison is very bad idea.
“Incarcerating youth may solve a crime problem in the short term, but it does not, with rare exception, deter future offending or enhance public safety in the long run. To the contrary, it typically makes everyone less safe,” she warned.
Community-based diversion programs and teaching young people to accept responsibility for their actions will establish important life skills that must be in place, said Carp, noting that this is a life skill that “youth need to develop sooner rather than later if they are to function productively in society.”
To that end, she will likely institute federal programs to help communities create “safe, age-appropriate environments for youth to accept responsibility for the harm they’ve done to victims and communities, without the onerous consequences of conviction or adjudication,” calling this “the first, best option for most youthful offenders.”
Carp promoted “finding interventions that enhance public safety, hold youth accountable for their conduct in developmentally suitable ways and equip them with increased empathy and better decision-making skills is the perpetual challenge of the juvenile justice system,” and will apparently be dedicated to “helping court-involved youth leave the justice system and live crime-free, successful lives.”
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