Lee Nave Jr.

“We have to understand . . . how we as people, we as youth, can use our voices . . . to fix this issue.”


Interviewee: Lee Nave Jr.

Interviewers: Meghan Shaffer, Grade 12

Interview Date: January 28, 2016

Interview Location: Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Boston, MA


Student Reflection:

Interviewing Lee at Citizens for Juvenile Justice was truly an experience I will never forget. Talking to him, I realized that I really do not know much about the juvenile justice system. Many people judge the system and the people involved in it without truly knowing what works and what doesn’t. It was easy to see that Lee is very passionate about what he does and the change he is making. It was very enlightening to see that there are a lot of steps that go into making policy changes. Lee is involved in managing a lot of day to day operations. While crucial to running any type of organization, those jobs tend to be more behind the scenes, and people like Lee ensure that organizations like CfJJ are able to make the changes they strive for.


“I came up here to do something in the nonprofit field, to contribute to why I got my degree in the first place.”

“The staff is the best part of this job for sure, as well as their passion for the mission.”

“We want to have a great influence on people.”

“For some odd reason people believe that juveniles and their parents are supposed to already know [how the system works].”

“What I learned early on is that we have to make things more transparent for everyone, especially juveniles.”

“It was more than just ‘Oh, they made a mistake and they went to jail and they served their time.’ They went through an entire process, and the process may have not worked for them… and the process may have hurt them.”

“As a person who is now working for an organization that is supposed to make the process better for other juveniles and other youth, I have to do my best… to make sure we can make the lives of juvenile and youth affected by the juvenile justice system way better than it is.”

“Our biggest achievement has been our resolve to continue pushing forward and our ability to continue to evolve as an organization.”

“We’re trying to make this a reality, for people to have a second chance.”

“Learning about all of this has allowed me to understand things that once used to be black and white.”

“The idea of being an activist, being more than just a researcher, to try to, not necessarily to make history yourself, but to play a contributing role in a positive historical outcome.”

“Just learning about other people’s perspectives to come up with a solution for this issue is a great way in which I as a person can learn how to compromise.”

“[Minimum sentences] put everyone in this cookie-cutter result. Everyone who does something has to serve the same time, and it’s not fair.”

“Students and youth really don’t have their voices respected as much as they should… but [they] still should have the ability to have an active voice for [them] or be able to use [their] own voices to a capacity.”

“Youth should have the ability to have someone represent them in the best capacity… the juvenile justice system has seen a lot of neglect over the years because people are still under the delusion that youth can do the same crime as adults, have the same mental capacity an adult would, which isn’t true.”

“Activism means to me the ability to change market failures in society that you deem need to be rejuvenated in some way.”

“I, as an activist, I want to make sure that this issue is handled in a way that helps as many people as possible.”

“CfJJ, in every capacity, in everything that we do, supports activism.”

“I feel that young people have started to take up the mantle more.”

“Spreading little bits of information to other people can just be a catalyst for more people to understand exactly how we, as a society, can fix this.”

“We have to understand what led people to be affected by [crises] in the first way and how we as people, we as youth, can use our voices… to fix this issue.”

“CfJJ is always working for the best quality of life for juveniles.”