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Transforming Juvenile Probation Series: A Conversation with Patrice Wedderburn

Transforming Juvenile Probation is an Instagram Live series hosted by the Center for Public Justice. Throughout the month of June, CPJ’s Juvenile Justice Fellow Yasmine Arrington will interview four experts in the field to discuss juvenile probation, why reform is needed, and the role the faith community can play. Tune in each Tuesday at noon EST at @centerpublicjustice.

In this episode of Transforming Juvenile Probation, Yasmine Arrington interviewed Patrice Wedderburn, an assistant attorney general in the public safety division with the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. Throughout their conversation, Yasmine and Patrice discuss the importance of the partnership between government and the faith-based sector in juvenile probation reform.


  • In Washington, D.C., anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile in the court system. There are certain felony offenses for which juveniles can be prosecuted as an adult at the age of 16.
  • Juvenile diversion programs aim “to get in early and get youth out of the system early” by holding youth accountable and providing incentives for positive behavior with the right support.
  • Faith-based organizations and churches can extend service learning opportunities, such as sound board training, to young people as a part of diversion programs.
  • The court process is often a drop in the bucket for the circumstances of a youth’s life; this shows the importance of communities including faith-based organizations, schools, and housing programs.
  • Praying for change, contacting representatives about issues, and working for local institutions or nonprofits are active ways for Christians to be involved in the issues that affect others.


Yasmine “YazzieSpeaks” Arrington was born and raised in Washington, DC. She is a 2015 graduate from Elon University with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications and History. Yasmine earned her Master of Divinity degree from the Howard University School of Divinity in May 2018. Yasmine was a 2020 Center for Public Justice Sacred Sector Fellow where she had the opportunity to serve as an advocacy intern with Prison Fellowship. 

In 2010, while a junior in high school, Yasmine founded the nonprofit ScholarCHIPS (, an organization that provides college scholarships, mentoring and a support network to children of incarcerated parents, inspiring them to complete their college education. ScholarCHIPS has awarded over $300,000 in college scholarships to 76 scholars, with 30 graduates to date. 

Yasmine is the author of Daily Reflections for Social Entrepreneurs Journal. Yasmine has been featured in TeenVogue, Essence, Black Enterprise, Forbes Magazine, The Washington Post, the Baltimore Times, and on ABC7 News WJLA and NBC4 for her community work with ScholarCHIPS. Yasmine is a recipient of several awards for her community work including the Linowes Leadership Award from the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the Peace First Prize, the DC Social Innovation Prize, Angel Among Us Award by the Negro Council of Women, the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award, the Samuel Halperin Public Service Award, Radio One WKYS Top 30 Under 30, Washington Business Journal Top 40 Under 40, and others. 

Patrice Wedderburn is an assistant attorney general in the public safety division with the D.C. Office of the Attorney General (OAG). In this role, she represents the District of Columbia in the D.C. Superior Court’s Family Division in juvenile delinquency, status offense, civil commitment, and guardianship matters. Specifically, she handles all aspects of both civil and criminal litigation including making charging decisions and interviewing and preparing for testimony police, civilian, and expert witnesses. Moreover, she works closely with stakeholders across a variety of disciplines to evaluate appropriate dispositions for involved juveniles and adult consumers to develop comprehensive rehabilitation plans. Previously, she worked as a Staff Attorney at Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc. (AJE), the District’s federally funded Parent Training and Information Center. There Ms. Wedderburn represented parents and students in special education, school discipline, and other education related matters.

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