Courting Judicial Excellence


A Landmark Study

Juvenile court judges are the most important public figures in the juvenile justice system—their decisions impact whether hundreds of thousands of youth each year become court involved, for how long, whether they are involuntarily removed from their homes and communities, and the services they receive.  

With support from the State Justice Institute, staff from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) conducted an analysis in 2021 of how courts that handle juvenile delinquency cases (“juvenile courts”) are structured and operate in all 50 states, leading to the Courting Judicial Excellence report. 

As a result of that report, the CSG Justice Center and NCJFCJ are working to implement the report recommendations through (1) intensive assessment of and technical assistance to delinquency court systems in three pilot states and (2) the creation of a national first-of-its-kind juvenile justice training program for judges.   


Training for Judges

A key recommendation of the report centers on the need for additional robust training for judges who hear delinquency cases. 

Juvenile court judges are more likely to buy into using research and data to guide their decisions, and will be positioned to do so more effectively, if they have extensive familiarity with this research, adolescent development, and juvenile justice best practices. Yet, in the majority of states, judges who handle delinquency cases are not required by law or court rules to ever receive any training on these topics.  

To begin to remedy these training gaps, the CSG Justice Center and NCJFCJ are creating Courting Judicial Excellence: A Juvenile Justice Judicial Training Institute for all judicial officers who hear delinquency cases. The goal is to make this a sustainable, annual training program. 

Key Staff

Image for:
Deputy Division Director, Corrections and Reentry
Josh Weber directs the CSG Justice Center's juvenile justice program, which focuses on helping states use effective methods to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth in contact with the juvenile justice system. Previously, Josh spent 10 years working on
building the capacity of programs and systems that serve vulnerable youth in the juvenile justice, youth development, workforce development, and child welfare systems. Josh managed research programs for the Youth Development and Research Fund in Maryland and the Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. In addition, Josh led the development and implementation of NYC Administration for Children’s Services' alternative to placement and reentry program for juveniles using evidence-based practices. He also directed the District of Columbia’s Justice Grants Administration, which managed all federal juvenile and criminal justice grants for the District. Josh received his BA in psychology from Duke University and his MPA from Princeton University.
Read More
  • Christina Gilbert
    Project Manager, Corrections and Reentry
    Christina Gilbert works to improve outcomes for youth involved with the justice system, providing technical assistance across the country. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Christina worked at the Gault Center (formerly the National Juvenile Defender Center), where she built
    the capacity and quality of youth defense systems and representation. At the Gault Center, Christina also managed a campaign to end shackling of youth in court and directed The Equity Project, a collaborative initiative to ensure fair, equitable, and dignified treatment for LGBTQI+ youth. Christina holds a JD from Northeastern University School of Law and a BA in social thought and political economy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 
    Read More