The Tow Youth Justice Institute

A university, state and private partnership established to lead the way in juvenile justice reform through collaborative planning and policy development, training, research and advocacy efforts. It is designed to promote the effective practices, programs and policies related to youth justice, focusing on the needs of youth up to the age of 21.

A Leader in Reform.

Tow logo

The Tow Youth Justice Institute is part of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at University of New Haven. As experts in the field of youth justice in the state and nationally, we are a resource to prepare the next generation of change agents through experiential education and leadership development, and to advise policy-makers and service providers through its role as the research partner to the State of Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee.

The Institute was created in the fall of 2014 thanks to the generous support of The Tow Foundation, whose many years of investment in juvenile justice reform have had a significant impact in Connecticut and beyond. Relying on the expertise and knowledge on this topic that existed in the Henry C. Lee College at the University of New Haven, the Foundation became instrumental in shaping the direction of the Institute as a force for sustaining and building on the many reforms achieved in our state in the past decade.


From left, Dr. Henry C. Lee; Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman; Leonard Tow, Founder & Chair, Board of Trustees, Tow Foundation; Emily Tow Jackson, President, Tow Foundation; President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., University of New Haven; Dean Mario T. Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. 

The support from the Tow Foundation aligned with the establishment of the Juvenile Justice and Policy Oversight Committee (JJPOC) in state government. The latter group was created to ensure continued improvements in the state's juvenile justice system. The JJPOC looked to the University of New Haven to support the Committee engaging the talents of our faculty, staff and students as resources. 

With the Tow Foundation and the State of Connecticut as the anchors, the Tow Youth Justice Institute has approached its mission of reform from a data-driven and results-oriented approach to advance effective practices in juvenile justice that will benefit children and families and also enable our faculty and students to engage in meaningful work that will build knowledge and impactful work experiences.

"The Tow Youth Justice Institute is a leader in advancing the juvenile justice field and a recognized academic resource providing collaborative planning, training, policy-development, research and advocacy efforts.   It has become an invaluable asset to the University of New Haven for not only our students and faculty, but also the community and future youth justice leaders."

Mario Gaboury~ Mario Thomas Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D.

Dean, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice & Forensic Sciences

Primary Goals of the Tow Youth Justice Institute

1. A transformational leadership development program, designed for mid-level leaders from public and private agencies and organizations, to create a network of individuals trained to sustain youth justice reform efforts.

2. Expanded undergraduate and graduate curricula at the University of New Haven to broaden course offerings and support the formation of a strong, innovative youth justice program and future workforce.

3. Increased opportunities for students to participate in youth justice internships and cooperative work experiences

4. Research and evaluation, training, planning and policy development in order to integrate evidence-based practices and programs in the youth justice system.

News Now

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has submitted two proposed legislative bills that would raise the age of people protected by juvenile and “youthful offender” status from 18 to 21, he announced Tuesday at the University of New Haven.

The proposals are part of a broader effort to steer young people out of the prison system and smooth the way for them to better recover from youthful mistakes that might otherwise have a lasting, negative effect on their lives, Malloy said at a news conference in the entry hall of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.