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.

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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.