Philly first assistant district attorney devoted to keeping kids out of criminal justice system

By Taylor Allen, WHYY | February 21, 2019

WHYY interviewed Visiting Fellow Robert Listenbee for Black History Month about his career and the barriers he has broken to improve life for kids caught up in the justice system.

Although Robert Listenbee Jr. grew up poor in Michigan with an abusive father, he went on to graduate from Harvard, work in the Obama administration and now serves as the city’s first assistant district attorney.

He is passionate about his specialty — juvenile justice.

And he has dedicated his life to “ending the punitive approach to youth justice” — detention in a facility.

He wants to see Philly move toward detention and out-of-home placement as a “last resort.”

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