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Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nation's first juvenile justice and child welfare research institute launched at IU

Institute will use groundbreaking video archive to enhance the nation's juvenile justice and child welfare systems

April 14, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. (IURTC) and Emmy award-winning Calamari Productions have partnered through a unique collaboration to create the Institute for Juvenile Court and Corrections Research (IJCCR).

The new institute will help disseminate a growing video archive of juvenile court and corrections footage, making it available to Indiana University and other academic and nonprofit organizations for research and educational purposes. Created under the auspices of the IURTC, IJCCR will benefit from IURTC's relationship with IU and extensive experience in contract management and in the distribution of sensitive proprietary material.

Calamari Productions made history in the 1990s when it became the first television production company permitted to shoot video of juvenile welfare proceedings. Juvenile justice typically is a sensitive and shielded area of the justice system making it difficult for students to get real-life experience prior to entering the field.

Nationwide, juvenile justice systems are facing unprecedented demand for resources to address the needs of at-risk youth and families. IJCCR will help researchers and students better understand the issues and related problems by offering digitized content ranging from child abuse and neglect cases to juveniles serving time in adult prisons. Rather than relying solely on textbooks or lectures, students, professionals and researchers will be able to use IJCCR's video library for a unique firsthand experience that is second only to onsite training. The library includes hundreds of hours of raw content and vignettes available for redistribution by IJCCR, which has exclusive rights to this content.

"Calamari Productions successfully balances the privacy concerns of the participants with the desire to present an accurate portrayal of life in juvenile courtrooms," said Randall T. Shepard, chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. "The result is compelling and thoughtful productions.

"As a result of the meticulous attention to court guidelines, the five members of our court granted Calamari Productions further permission to continue filming in the juvenile courtrooms, even though all of Indiana's trial courts are generally closed to cameras."

As IJCCR is the only institute in the nation to have this type of access, many universities and others across the country have already viewed its archives for purposes of research and adopting best practices to apply to incumbent systems. In addition to IU, many other institutions are using IJCCR content, including UCLA, Washington University, Southern Methodist University, Syracuse University, and The Consortium for Continuing Education.

"This content is a professor's dream," said Miriam Aroni Krinsky, lecturer at the UCLA School of Public Policy. "In an arena that is too often out of the public eye, misunderstood and misperceived, there are few opportunities to give students and young professionals a window into juvenile justice and child welfare court practices and proceedings. Calamari Productions' work has not simply opened our juvenile courthouse doors in a way that can serve as an invaluable teaching tool, but they have done so with balance, insights and a depth of coverage second to none."

To gain access to the institute's content for research or educational purposes, any university, municipality or other nonprofit can contact IJCCR to create what is akin to a journal subscription. The institute is in the early stages of discussion with a large national publishing company to assist in managing the subscription process. IJCCR will also collaborate with interested parties on course development for educational purposes with the publisher.

"This collaborative relationship is poised to substantially impact juvenile justice systems through best practices research and subsequent education and training," said Bill Stephan, vice president for engagement at Indiana University. "Indiana University students and faculty, as well as others around the country, will benefit from the Institute's unique content."

IU alumna Karen Grau, filmmaker and president of Calamari Productions, said the institute is not only a repository for unprecedented, one-of-a-kind content and case studies, but a "national beacon for anyone working with at-risk youth."

"For the first time ever, educators, researchers and professionals will have extraordinary access to video content that will truly prepare them for the real-life world of juvenile justice, before their decisions have a lasting impact on children and families involved in these systems," she said.

Calamari Productions has produced award-winning documentary films and television series for U.S. network and cable outlets, with programs airing on NBC, MSNBC, MTV, Court TV and other outlets. Although Grau, based in Indianapolis, entertained a number of out-of-state offers, she said she was especially pleased to establish the institute in Indiana at the IURTC, given that Calamari's trailblazing work began more than 15 years ago in Indiana with the authorization and support of the Indiana Supreme Court.

IJCCR will be housed at the Indiana University Emerging Technology Center in Indianapolis. A private launch event will be held on Friday, April 15, with Frank Sullivan Jr., justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, as guest speaker.

The Institute for Juvenile Court and Corrections

The Institute for Juvenile Court and Corrections research is building partnerships with researchers, educators, social service providers and policy makers to develop its groundbreaking video archive into interactive content to improve the juvenile educational and correctional systems.

The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.

The IURTC, under president and CEO Tony Armstrong, commercializes the research of IU faculty, staff and students to support technology-based economic development throughout Indiana and the nation. IURTC is dedicated to enhancing the research and development capability of Indiana University, creating new Indiana-based companies, and providing support for entrepreneurial development.

For more information, contact Rebecca Carl at 317-321-1446 and