Leslie Acoca, MA, MFT
Leslie Acoca is recognized for her trailblazing work focusing on justice and health strategies in her research, policy, and programming efforts for youth and women in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Over the last twelve years, Leslie conducted five studies in California and other states identifying the health and other needs of girls and women in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. In response to the critical need for health and educational services that emerged from her research, Leslie founded the organization In Our Daughters' Hands (IODH) in 2001 to address the needs of girls in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. IODH works to improve these girls' overall health (and that of their children and families) by uniting communities with juvenile justice, legal, and medical professionals.
As director of the Women and Girls' Institute at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, she served as the Principal Investigator of the two largest studies to be conducted on the health and other characteristics and needs of girls in the juvenile justice system ("No Place to Hide: Girls in the California Juvenile Justice System," Acoca and Dedel, 1998; and "Educate or Incarcerate? Girls in the Florida Juvenile Justice System," Acoca, 2001). Leslie was also the Principal Investigator of a national evaluation of programming and policies affecting women and girls incarcerated in five states entitled Barriers to the Adoption of Harm-Reducing Gender-Specific Substance Abuse and Parenting Programs for Incarcerated Women funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The findings of this research are summarized in Severing Family Ties: The Plight of Incarcerated Women and Their Children (Acoca and Raeder, Stanford Law and Policy Review, Winter, 1999).
Meet the Fellow
Leslie Acoca is recognized for her trailblazing work focusing on justice and health strategies in her research, policy and programming efforts for you th and women in the juvenile and ciminal justice systems. Her fellowship, the National Girls Health Screen Project, succeeded in validating the first gender-specific health screen for girls entering juvenile detention centers.