November 11, 2020

Examining racial inequality in juvenile justice

The disproportionate number of minority children navigating juvenile justice systems continues to be a point of great concern in our country. Where does this problem start? Is it in schools, in over-policed minority neighborhoods, or even in homes? What other factors are at play? Putting an end to the injustices suffered by children of color means understanding how present circumstances have put them at risk. 

ABA Law Student Podcast host Meg Steenburgh talks through these issues with Natasha Fortune, assistant attorney in charge at the Legal Aid Society of New York in the Juvenile Rights Practice. She discusses her work and clientele in the Juvenile Rights Practice and offers insights on the steps, both large and small, that can be taken to disrupt unjust cycles and create lasting positive change.

A transcript of this podcast is available at Legal Talk Network.

About Natasha Fortune

Natasha M. Fortune is assistant attorney in charge at the Legal Aid Society of New York in the Juvenile Rights Practice. She supervises a team of attorneys, serves as defense counsel in juvenile delinquency proceedings, and also represents children in abuse, neglect, and custody proceedings in family court. Ms. Fortune serves as a mentor to interns of color, is a member of the hiring/screening committee, and supervises interns from the NYU School of Law Juvenile Defenders Clinic.

She frequently volunteers at Project Window, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young girls by building their self-confidence and providing them with mentorship and life skills. Additionally, she is a certified tax preparer and owned a tax franchise. She received her B.S. in computer science from St. John’s University and her J.D. at St. John’s University School of Law.

About the Host

Meghan Steenburgh is a 1L in the JDi program at Syracuse University College of Law. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a Master of Science in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meghan’s status as a law school student follows a career in broadcast journalism, corporate communications, politics, and state government. Meghan is a fourth-generation harpist; she also enjoys mountain running and mountain biking. Meghan is married with four young children. She and her husband are active members of the Bridge Angel Investors of Sarasota, Florida.