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Sarah Bryer

juvenile-justice-reform_Sarah-BryerMay 16, 2019

Dear Youth Justice Community,
I'm writing with the news that I have decided to leave my position as the Executive Director of NJJN in order to pursue new opportunities.  I've had the honor of being at the helm of NJJN since its inception 14 years ago. Over that time, I've learned from and grown alongside our wonderful community of youth justice advocates, been inspired by the amazing work of NJJN's staff, been blessed to have been in community with our Youth Justice Leadership Institute alumni, and have had the privilege of being in a leadership role at a national organization that is fighting against the rise in fascism in the US and its overt targeting of our most vulnerable communities.
Over my tenure, I've also seen a dramatic shift in the youth justice landscape. I began working at NJJN in March of 2005 -- a few days after the Supreme Court ruled that the state sanctioned murder of youth (the death penalty) was unconstitutional. This was an auspicious beginning for NJJN's launch, which subsequently assisted in and was witness to waves of successful policy advances pushed by our members and partners to reform our justice systems.
And still, we fall far short of having truly just systems; the work in front of us is urgent and pressing. As I step down, I know that I am leaving NJJN in a strong place with the ability to vigorously and imaginatively tackle the challenges that face us. NJJN has an unwavering commitment to embedding anti-racism principles in our collective work, a wise board of directors, a deeply knowledgeable staff, and a tightly knit membership community that spans the United States.  I'm eager to see the avenues that new leadership at NJJN will explore in our pursuit of justice. 
My three decades of work to transform our justice systems will not end with my departure from NJJN.  As I pursue new opportunities, I look forward to continuing to be in contact with the many colleagues and partners with whom I've had the pleasure of working alongside all these years. In the meantime, I am still at NJJN and afterwards, I can always be reached at sarahnbryer@gmail.com or at 202-714-1162. 
In solidarity,
Sarah Bryer


Sarah Bryer, NJJN's former Executive Director, has been working in the juvenile and criminal justice fields for more than thirty years. Prior to joining NJJN, she lived in New York City where she was the Director of Policy and Planning at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), an alternative-to-incarceration program serving more than 10,000 misdemeanor and felony-level court-involved youth and adults per year.

Also in New York, Ms. Bryer worked at the Center for Court Innovation where she started the Bronx and Queens drug courts, and subsequently was the Manager of Youth Programs, where she initiated one of New York City’s first Youth Courts in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

She has been a victim-offender mediator for court-involved youth in California and was an appellate investigator for adults on death row. She received a bachelor with honors and distinction in anthropology from Stanford University and a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Photo: Idit Knaan