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As the co-author of a groundbreaking 2015 report on sexual trauma and juvenile justice, [Rebecca] Epstein’s one of the country’s leading experts on the issue. “In many ways, this case is an example of the system responding to a girl of color who has experienced trauma by punishing her,” Epstein said. “When we punish these children the same ways we punish adults, it is not accomplishing the goal of increasing public safety. Instead, it’s depriving these girls of the very kinds of supports and services that they need in order to heal, and to thrive, and to be less likely to engage in the type of behavior that’s being punished.”

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