INTERRUPT exposed a Florida State prosecutor who had charged a mentally disabled African-American youth with felony strong arm robbery for stealing two dollars in lunch money from a classmate. The youth, who possessed an IQ of 58 and was hearing impaired, spent two months in jail while the prosecutor pressed charges in adult court that carried a sentence of 30 years to life. Once 60 Minutes cameras arrived to cover the story, the prosecutor dropped the charges. National media attention (including the Associated Press and the Boston Globe) highlighted the problems posed by granting prosecutors the right to charge juveniles directly in adult court.
In the Spring of '98, INTERRUPT worked with advocates to debunk the media myth that youth curfews keep kids out of trouble. INTERRUPT designed a media campaign for an academic study on crime and youth curfews. Bannered by a 3/4 page ad in the NYT written by INTERRUPT, the campaign spread the message: youth curfews don't reduce youth crime. ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, the Today Show, NBC News, USA Today, and Associated Press were among the dozens of national outlets that carried the news story. A loud debate ensued that for the first time questioned the value of youth curfews and examined the criminalization of youth.
INTERRUPT generated major California news coverage of a study by the Justice Policy Institute that debunked the effectiveness of 3-strikes sentencing. The study found that California counties which used "3 Strikes" laws the least had the greatest drop in crime. Coverage included the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, the Christian Science Monitor, the San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Examiner, Fresno Bee, NPR-All Things Considered, and others.
INTERRUPT provided consultation to national juvenile justice advocates on messaging and media coordination in the aftermath of the Littleton Gun Tragedy. In a series of national conference calls with leaders from the American Bar Association, the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the Youth Law Center and others, INTERRUPT provided message analysis, story frames, and soundbites to move the focus of news coverage from youth violence to gun availability.