The juvenile justice system is a complex one. When a young person is arrested, no one tells them what’s about to happen to them, let alone how they can best advocate for themselves. The result is that many youth that enter the system end up with avoidable penalties, and on a path that very often leads back to the justice system. The Center for Court Innovation proposed this poster as part of CUP’s Making Policy Public series. They wanted to create an outreach tool that would help young people navigate the maze of New York’s juvenile justice system, and they wanted to use a medium that would really make it accessible to youth. CUP collaborated with the Center and graphic novelist Danica Novgorodoff to create a readable explanation of an incredibly complicated process.

I Got Arrested! Now What? breaks down the juvenile justice system comic-style. It shows the system step-by-step, introduces the decision-makers, and provides helpful tips through the story of Chris, from his arrest to the last gavel slam.

This MPP is currently being distributed by legal defenders across the city. It’s so thorough that the NYC Department of Probation gives them out to youth that are arrested in the five boroughs.

Get your own copy here.

Resources & Links

The Center for Court Innovation is a nonprofit think tank that helps courts and criminal justice agencies aid victims, reduce crime, and improve public trust in justice.

The Youth Justice Board at the Center for Court Innovation, is an after-school program that brings together young people to study and propose solutions to the public safety challenges that most affect them.

Danica Novgorodoff is a painter, comic book artist, writer and graphic designer.

Making Policy Public is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). CUP partners with policy advocates and graphic designers to produce foldout posters that explain complicated policy issues, like this one.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the Nathan Cummings Foundation; public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the North Star Fund; and the Union Square Awards, a project of the Tides Center.

Special Thanks

Angela Albertus, Liberty Aldrich, Raye Barbieri, Greg Berman, Matthew Canfield, Nancy Fishman, Melissa Gelber, Gineen Gray, Hon. Joseph Lauria, David Long, Valeria Mogilevich, Joseph Peña, Natalie Rodriguez, Jacqueline Sherman, Alfred Siegel, Robert Wolf, Rosten Woo, Hon. Nancy Bannon, Meredith Donovan, Hon. Monica Drinane, Hon. Lee Elkins, Rodolfo Estrada, Robert Feldstein, Gerald Foley, Dianna Guerin, Yasna Heravi, Hon. Fran Lubo, Edward March, Yumari Martinez, Angela Merrill, Shernette Pink, Miriam Simon-Henry, Samantha Sorwick, Nicole Spain, Tamara Steckler, Michele Sviridoff, Steven Wint


  • CUP
  • John Mangin
  • Christine Gaspar
  • The Center for Court Innovation
  • Advocacy Partner
  • Linda Baird
  • Dory Hack
  • Colin Lentz
  • The Youth Justice Board
  • Ashley, Claudia, Imani, Joanelly, Johanel, Josh, Khaair, N’dack, Olivia, Phelipe, Ronique, Shahid, Shanna, Sunny, Zeinah
  • NYC Department of Probation
  • Stacye Spear
  • Eileen Donohue
  • Danica Novgorodoff
  • Designer


Policy for People poster-style
  • Public Policy Lab
  • November 10, 2011

The poster speaks to the audience for whom the information is most important — those who are under 18!

‘I Got Arrested—Now What?’
  • ABA Journal
  • December 01, 2010

[The comic] takes young readers on an easy-to-follow journey from booking to sentencing by breaking down complicated legal concepts into language they can understand.

I Got Arrested! A Guide to the Juvenile Justice System
  • Reclaiming Futures
  • August 31, 2010

Want to help teens understand the juvenile justice system? Draw them a picture — or rather, lots of them. 

Poster Aims to Demystify Multifaceted Process Faced by Arrested Teens
  • New York Law Journal
  • August 04, 2010

It may never rival the popularity of “Batman” or “Teen Titans,” but its creators hope that a new comic book-style poster will grab the attention of thousands of New York City kids caught up in the juvenile justice system.