About Us


The New York State Youth Justice Institute strives to build and strengthen the capacity of localities around New York State to adopt evidence-informed youth justice practices. We do so by disseminating information, assisting with implementation and assessing efficacy in existing youth justice programs, and by conducting cutting-edge research to advance the science and practice of evidence-based initiatives.


We aim to become the premier resource for evidence-based policy and practice nationally and beyond. To that end, we:

  • Serve as an information hub for stakeholders;
  • Cultivate and support practitioners’ commitment to evidence-based practices;
  • Develop a prolific and ever-growing network of research expertise;
  • Foster and sustain synergy among stakeholders;
  • Leverage current public investment to attract external funding that will enable the Institute to grow.


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Giza Lopes, Ph.D. 

Executive Director 





Dr. Giza Lopes is the Executive Director of the New York State Youth Justice Institute. 

Giza's scholarly work has investigated, among other topics, the collateral consequences of youth contact with criminal justice system as it relates to employment, education and interpersonal relationships. Her research into these and other criminal justice issues has appeared in top-ranked academic journals, such as Justice Quarterly and Crime and Delinquency, as well as in multiple edited volumes, encyclopedias, and media outlets. She has also published a book, Dying with Dignity: A Legal Approach to Assisted Death, which traces the origins of the debate surrounding the legalization of "assisted suicide" in the United States and Europe. 

Prior to joining the Institute, Giza was a Senior Research Associate at the NYS Office of Indigent Legal Service, where she oversaw the implementation of data infrastructure in Public Defender programs statewide, and supported localities by providing training and technical assistance related to that implementation. 

She received her PhD and MA from the School of Criminal Justice, State University of New York at Albany.


John Green

Office Assistant





John Green is the Office Assistant for the Youth Justice Institute. John came to us from the Office of the State Comptroller's office. Before that, he worked for Tax and Finance. In his spare time, you can find him making balloon sculptures.