December 19, 2017 / 1:52 AM / a year ago

Trump nominates Liberty University professor to Justice Department post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he plans to nominate Liberty University School of Law professor Caren Harp to oversee the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

If ultimately confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Harp would oversee the Justice Department office that trains and works with state and local communities to develop effective juvenile justice programs and prevent delinquency.

Harp previously was director of the National Juvenile Justice Prosecution Center at the American Prosecutors Research Institute.

According to Harp’s LinkedIn page, she is in her sixth year as a professor at Liberty, which is located in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The law school’s website says its program is “taught from a Christian worldview” and says it offers a “uniquely tailored legal program taught with sound biblical principles.”

Harp, who holds a law degree from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, has also worked as both a prosecutor and a public defender, including as chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in New York City, Family Court Division, and as a trial attorney for the Arkansas Public Defender Commission.

In an article published in May, Harp raises questions about the role of adolescent neuroscience in the courtroom and writes that the best way to tackle juvenile justice is by teaching youth to accept responsibility and involve them in community-based diversion programs to prevent them from re-offending.

“Misplaced reliance on nascent neuroscience and neuroimaging evidence to remove from youth and young adults the consequences of their criminal behavior invites pushback from those who favor a retributive system, and it may create some unintended and unwanted consequences for youth and young adults,” she writes.

It is unclear when the Senate may consider Harp’s nomination.

There are a handful of key nominees who have been waiting months now for their confirmation votes. Nominees to head the Criminal, Civil and National Security divisions, for instance, are still pending.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Leslie Adler

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