An article by Social Welfare professor Laura Abrams  has been named the best article of 2013 to be published in the academic journal Social Service Review.
Abrams’ article, “Juvenile Justice at a Crossroads: Science, Evidence, and Twenty-First Century Reform,” was selected as the winner of the Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize, named for a University of Chicago professor of social service administration. The award carries with it a $1,000 honorarium.
Weaving together a survey of the history of the juvenile justice system with a detailed narrative of recent efforts to use scientific advances to spur policy reforms, Abrams’ article argues that “social workers ought to play a more visible role” in shaping the future of the system. Only the input of those who work most closely with troubled youth — and their families, schools and neighborhoods — can help build a better system, she writes.
The journal's editorial board heralded Abrams’ inclusion of historical context, admiring the article’s ability to drive “the profession to take stock and to rethink its current direction.”
Abrams, who chairs UCLA Luskin’s doctoral degree program in Social Welfare , most recently wrote Compassionate Confinement: A Year in the Life of Unit C, which draws on a decade of research and more than a year of fieldwork she and her co-author conducted at a juvenile justice facility in Minnesota. Reviews have recognized its “engaging narratives, rich observations, and descriptive depictions of human experiences.” In October 2013 Abrams was selected to deliver the Seabury Memorial Lecture at UC Berkeley.
Abrams' article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Social Service Review, Vol. 87, No. 4, pp. 725-752.