Advisory Board Members and Founding Partners
Lowell Juv. Court,
The Honorable Jay Blitzman, is the First Justice for the Lowell Juvenile Court, Middlesex County. A driving force behind JCRJD, he now serves as an Advisory Board Member. Prior to becoming a judge he was the first director of the Roxbury Youth Advocacy Project which led to the creation of the statewide Youth Advocacy Department of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and he was a co-founder of Citizens for Juvenile Justice. He has authored numerous works on juvenile justice and holds multiple teaching positions.
Leslie Harris (ret.)
Dorchester Juv. Court,
The Honorable Leslie Harris has been Associate Justice at the Dorchester Juvenile Court, Suffolk County, since 1994. He was one of the co-founders of JCRJD and recently joined the Board as an Advisory Member. Prior to assuming the bench, Judge Harris worked as a youth worker with Chicago street gangs, a public defender in Boston and Chief of the Juvenile Division at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, a probation officer and as a teacher.
Board Chair and Co-Founder
JCRJD’s Board Chair, Susan Maze-Rothstein, is a founding member of JCRJD and a professor at Northeastern University School of Law where she directs the community social justice projects in the Legal Skills in Social Context Program. Since 2006, she has led nearly 100 students to complete over 12,000 hours of research on restorative justice, school discipline and juvenile court diversionary alternatives. She also co-chaired the Boston Public Schools Code of Conduct Advisory Council subcommittee, which in September 2013, persuaded the district’s school committee (the largest in the Commonwealth) to revise its Code of Conduct to include restorative justice practices and other alternatives as a requirement before suspension or expulsion.
Interim Executive Director
Liza Hirsch is a 2011 Skadden Fellow and staff attorney with Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), where she provides direct representation to homeless families and engages in legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of homeless and low income families. Liza is one of the founding members of JCRJD and worked as a legal intern for Judge Blitzman in 2009 and then a liaison to Lowell Juvenile Court during the 2010-2011 research and development year.
Director and Co-Founder
Jeff Coots, Treasurer, is a Project Manager at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He oversees a consortium of policy and direct service organizations that are focused on implementing public health reforms within our criminal justice system. Jeff is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law with a dual-degree in public health through Tufts University School of Medicine.
Treasurer and Co-Founder
Former Board Member and Co-Founder
Peter Newman takes the helm as JCRJD’s Interim Executive Director after 15 years of service at the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section of the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois. Peter played a significant role in expanding the use of restorative justice principles in programming for young people in the schools and court system and expanding awareness of using restorative practices throughout the State of Illinois.