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Read More DJJ Good News at Spring 2017 The Official Newsletter of the Department of Juvenile Justice Volume 2, No. 1 The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) continues to recruit full-time employees for one of Georgia’s most challenging and rewarding criminal justice career areas. Commissioner Avery D. Niles explained, “DJJ is recruiting across Georgia to find motivated applicants who can accept the personal challenge of helping juvenile offenders through their troubled life transitions while committed to secure state custody.” Chatham County Juvenile Court Judge (and DJJ Board member) Lisa Colbert did her part to help recruit, recently holding a sign on the side of a busy Savannah road. She was reminding drivers that DJJ and the Savannah Regional Youth Development Center (RYDC) were hiring. DJJ recruiters are seeking mature, responsible candidates who want a career in corrections, to make a positive difference in the lives of Georgia’s young offenders and help prepare them to return to build successful lives in their communities. The agency offers complete state health and benefit packages with competitive compensation for employees. Key Acronyms While DJJ has a need for many different types of employees, it has an ongoing need to fill juvenile correctional officer (JCO) positions at its • BCST - Basic Community Service Training 26 secure facilities across the state. DJJ has its own certified academy • BJCOT - Basic Juvenile Correctional Officer Training where it provides a rigorous training program for new recruits. • BJPOT - Basic Juvenile Probation Officer Training • CJJ - Coalition for Juvenile Justice “We’re always looking for applicants who can apply their • DC - Deputy Commissioner • DJJ - Department of Juvenile Justice knowledge and experience from corrections, the military or law • DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice enforcement to new positions in a structured juvenile justice • FACJJ - Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice environment,” Commissioner Niles said. He added, “At DJJ we didn’t • GED - General Equivalency Diploma invent caring for young offenders, but as professionals we practice it • GEMHSA - Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency with them every day.” • GPA - Georgia Preparatory Academy • GPSTC - Georgia Public Safety Training Center Interested job seekers can click on for more • JCO - Juvenile Correctional Officer information about career opportunities in juvenile corrections. DJJ is • JPPS - Juvenile Probation/Parole Specialist • PBIS - Positive Behavioral Interventions and ‘‘Veteran-Friendly’’ – former military service members with honorable Supports discharges should also click on to learn about • POST - Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council DJJ’s one-time Military Salary Increase Incentive on eligible job titles • PREA - Prison Rape Elimination Act at “DJJ Careers for Veterans.” • RYDC - Regional Youth Development Center • YDC - Youth Development Campus

The DJJ Digest DJJ FOCUS ON EDUCATION: DJJ Graduates 2016 Senior Class Combined senior classes from DJJ secure facilities around the state crossed the stage together in their caps and gowns at the State’s Tift College campus in December. DJJ Commissioner Niles congratulated the Georgia Preparatory Academy (GPA) graduates as they closed out the 2016 school year at an inspiring commencement ceremony in Forsyth. The Commissioner awarded 26 general equivalency diplomas (GEDs), 14 high school diplomas and 14 Vocational Technical Certificates of Credit from the DJJ School District. Commissioner Niles said, “You have managed to overcome many personal, family and social adversities to get here today,” before shaking each graduate’s hand. A capacity crowd of families, dignitaries, DJJ educators and media participated in the recognition for the young men and women who distinguished themselves through hard work and academic accomplishments while committed to state custody. In addition, 25 GPA students completed ACT testing modules for college admission requirements. “They have achieved academic success. At this point their success going forward depends on whether they embrace positive changes and continue to progress,” Commissioner Niles told those attending the commencement. The graduates attended classes at Georgia Preparatory Academies at Youth Development Campuses (YDCs) in Atlanta, Augusta, Eastman, Macon, Milledgeville, Muscogee and Sumter; RYDCs in Gainesville, Muscogee, Rome and Sandersville; and the Chatham Educational Transition Center in Savannah. 2 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Niles shakes a graduate’s hand as Dawn Parker looks on. “One of the rewards of my job is to witness the The graduates were saluted by keynote speaker excitement of our students when we conduct these Dawn Parker, principal of the Alonzo Crim Open GPA commencement exercises and they celebrate Campus High School in DeKalb County. Parker their academic achievements,” Niles said. nearly doubled the graduation rate at Crim from 6.9 percent to 12.7 percent in the 2014-2015 school DJJ students are held to the same scholastic terms. Parker congratulated the members of the standards as pupils in Georgia’s traditional public GPA class for their resilience in accomplishing this schools. Students receive 330 minutes of regular major milestone, despite the many times they or special education inside DJJ’s security barriers may have experienced humiliation, discrimination, every school day. GPA curriculum meets the quality frustration or failure. education standards established by the Georgia Department of Education. She encouraged the DJJ graduates to continue believing in themselves and to never forget the people who did not stop loving and supporting them. 3 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest “If you can keep one person from making a wrong decision or redirect them from making the wrong choice, you are fulfilling our greatest mission in life,” Parker said. Commissioner Niles presented Parker with a special projects check for $300.00, raised by the DJJ Executive Staff to honor her commendable progress with graduation rates at Crim High School. Other special graduation guests included DJJ Board members Willie Bolton, Julia Neighbors and Penny Penn. The DJJ Honor Guard presented the colors and Tina Thames performed the national anthem. The Georgia Preparatory Academy is Georgia’s 181st school district and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)/AdvancED. The GPA mission is to provide a comprehensive educational program designed to equip students with the social, intellectual and emotional tools needed to achieve their successful reentry and reintegration into community, workplace and neighborhood settings as more productive and law-abiding citizens. 4 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Columbus Educator Named DJJ Teacher of the Year; Finalists Hail from DJJ Facilities Throughout the State In a special presentation at the Tift College campus in Forsyth, DJJ English-Language Arts teacher Arisha Dancy-Mattox was recognized as the GPA 2016 Teacher of the Year. Dancy-Mattox, who teaches at the Aaron Cohn RYDC in Columbus, was presented with the award as part of the winter graduation ceremonies for students from DJJ secure facilities around the state. Dancy-Mattox told the audience about her personal teaching philosophy, “The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” As she began her teaching career she made a commitment “…to myself and to my students to be the best academic, personal and ethical role model I can be.” Commissioner Niles said, “One of my favorite parts of our commencement exercises is the opportunity to recognize the most committed, most effective and most inspiring teachers in the Georgia Preparatory Academy system.” Niles, who also serves as the Superintendent of the DJJ School District, said the task for the selection committee of narrowing down the field of finalists is more difficult each year due to the number of truly talented educators DJJ has on staff. “We are genuinely impressed with the progress our students are making due to the dedication invested by principals and teachers like Arisha Dancy- Mattox,” commented Commissioner Niles. Commissioner Niles congratulates Arisha Dancy-Mattox, GPA 2016 Teacher of the Year. Dancy-Mattox has been an educator for 11 years. She said her teaching style is to provide a learning Metro RYDC; and Janice Zeigler, English-Language environment that fosters trust, care and compassion Arts teacher at Macon YDC. through mutual respect. “I love learning and teaching,” she said. “I want to boost student self- Canady said her education objectives are driven esteem and confidence in my classroom.” by her personal philosophy to know her students and to discipline with love. “Don’t take anything In addition to Teacher of the Year Dancy-Mattox, personally,” Canady told the selection panel. “Be Commissioner Niles recognized four top GPA transparent and look for the humor,” she continued. educators as Teacher of the Year finalists at the event: Joann Canady, Mathematics teacher at Canady further said, “Win their hearts as well as their Macon RYDC; Lead teacher Charlotte Hall at Claxton minds. Raise the bar and have expectations.” She has RYDC; Damien Northern, Social Studies teacher at been a professional educator for more than 30 years. 5 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Hall’s personal education philosophy is driven by a duty to provide multiple opportunities for students to learn. She explained to the selection panel, “We don’t all learn on the first try. Our students at DJJ need multiple opportunities to reach their potential.” She also stated, “I believe the greatest need today is to build on our students’ own strengths and interests. We must provide them with a greater variety of pathways to reach their potential. We need more emphasis on trade and technical skills,” Hall has been a professional educator for 16 years, with 14 of those at DJJ. Northern told the selection panel that as a member of society his personal philosophy is driven by a duty to teach. Northern has been an educator for 12 years, with nearly five of those years teaching within the DJJ system. As a teacher he made a commitment to “meet students where they are, academically and socially, to enhance their trajectory in life.” Northern also said he truly believes it takes a village to raise a child. “And I am a villager at heart who specializes in leading our young people to information.” Macon educator Janice Zeigler’s personal education philosophy is driven by a duty to help guide and enlighten troubled youth. “My students have compounded my personal knowledge base exponentially!” Zeigler told the selection panel. “I have learned more about being a good teacher during my time with these young minds than I ever did while earning three college degrees,” she said. Zeigler further explained, “Teaching is my fountain of youth and knowledge! I never want to stop drinking from it!” Zeigler has been an educator for more than 15 years, with five of those years teaching in the DJJ system. Commissioner Niles congratulated all the finalists for their dedication and professionalism. Left to Right: Teacher of the Year finalist Janice Ziegler, English-Language Arts teacher at Macon YDC; Teacher of the Year finalist Damien Northern, social studies teacher at Metro RYDC; Teacher of the Year finalist Joann Canady, mathematics teacher at Macon RYDC; DJJ Commissioner Niles; Teacher of the Year finalist Charlotte Hall, Lead teacher at Claxton RYDC; and Teacher of the Year Arisha Dancy-Mattox, English-Language Arts teacher at Aaron Cohn RYDC. 6 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice DJJ Youth Recognized at Fort Valley State University Honors Convocation Robert Edwards is under DJJ care at the Atlanta YDC. He entered the DJJ school system (Georgia Preparatory Academy) in October 2012. At that time, he was a 10th grader. After entering GPA, Robert decided he wanted to “get ahead and move on to the next level, so I decided to get my GED diploma.” Edwards received his GED on September 17, 2014. “After earning my GED, I was able to study for and take the ACT college entrance exam at DJJ. I took the ACT twice and my highest score was a 22. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do, but at Atlanta YDC I noticed that another student was taking college classes in eCore [a curriculum of 26 online college-level core courses accepted by all colleges in the University System of Georgia]. I decided I wanted to do that, so I applied to Fort Valley State University (FVSU), and I got in. I am now taking World Literature and Introduction to General Psychology.” According to Kendall Douglas, GPA principal at the Atlanta YDC, “eCore is a wonderful alternative for non- traditional students to attend college. It has provided an opportunity for several GPA students to get a jump-start on the next chapter of their lives. eCore meets our students’ needs while equipping them with the necessary skills to develop into life-long learners and productive citizens.” To say Edwards is doing well is an understatement. Along with others, he was recognized as a freshman with “a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 with 12 or more hours of university work” at FVSU’s 66th Annual Honors Convocation on March 16. He was given permission to attend the ceremony and said, “Everyone was very nice and accepting. They all talked to me and to them I was just another college student. They treated me as a peer and I know what it is like to feel like a college student. I want to thank all of the DJJ staff who made it possible for me to attend. I really appreciate all their support.” “I believe that Robert attending the FVSU Honors Convocation helps our school fulfill the challenge of ensuring that “Every Student Succeed,” Douglas stated. “The Convocation provided Robert a sense of accomplishment prior to graduation. This milestone encouraged Robert to continue with his education in order to better his life. “Moreover, Robert’s success is an inspiration to other students and the teachers and staff here are very proud of his efforts and his hopes for the future.” Edwards is majoring in psychology and after earning his bachelor’s degree, hopes to get a master’s degree and a doctorate in psychology. He would like to return to DJJ one day and work with those who are where he is now. Zane Shelfer, director of Student Support Services at DJJ, said, “We are all happy to see Robert’s success to date and hope he has continued success on his education journey. His achievements are emblematic of what others in the GPA system can do, and why our teachers and administrators work so hard on behalf of our students.” Missy Eleazer celebrates her son Robert Edwards’ honor from FVSU. 7 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Transition to Success in Gainesville Juliet Banks wants to be a veterinary technician. A Adult Education Department and asked that the few years ago, that life goal would have been college provide a GED instructor. Through these impossible to consider, much less achieve. partnerships, we are seeing success and these young Sentenced to the Gainesville RYDC, Banks had people are on the right track to become productive personal difficulties and experiences that would citizens.” suggest a limited future in a secure juvenile detention facility. Transition to Success began in January 2013 with one student and has grown ever since – 46 students Fortunately for Juliet and others like her, Transition have gone through the program; 23 GEDs have to Success – a partnership among the DJJ Education been earned and additional youth are currently Division, WorkSource Georgia Mountains and receiving GED instruction. Soft skills programming Lanier Technical College – was created. Transition such as work etiquette and professional skills are to Success was a response to Governor Nathan also being incorporated into Transition to Success Deal’s challenge to improve opportunities for programming. In addition, WorkSource Georgia non-traditional students and to help them with Mountains provides all Transition to Success students the community re-entry process. Transition to full support after leaving the program, with on-call Success is one of the services offered to youths at help always available. the Gainesville RYDC and helps them re-acclimate to their home communities while teaching them The uniform structure of Transition to Success has important educational and technical skills to avoid paid real-life dividends to the youth enrolled in the recidivism. program. An example is Michael Schmidhuber, who entered the program while he was incarcerated According to Jessica Williams, Youth Department at the Gainesville RYDC, continued studies at Supervisor with WorkSource Georgia Mountains, the Augusta YDC and then finished the program “This idea began because of the Governor’s back in Gainesville. Schmidhuber continued to challenge to provide resources and to assist receive support and case management from incarcerated young people to become productive WorkSource Georgia Mountains after returning to citizens. WorkSource Georgia Mountains’ director the community. According to Schmidhuber, “The John Phillips brought the idea back to the structure provided by Transition to Success is great. WorkSource youth staff and we developed a strategy The program gives you something very positive to to reach these young people. We approached Zane do [while in the facility] and a goal to meet while at Shelfer at DJJ with the plan and he helped put it DJJ. I am also grateful that Transition to Success kept into action at the Gainesville RYDC. WorkSource me from having to spend long-term time at a YDC.” then approached Lanier Technical College’s 8 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice The Transition to Success team: David Butler, Lanier Technical College GED instructor; Brenda Thomas, Executive Director of Adult Education at Lanier Technical College; Angela Pugh, Life Coach/Mentor for WorkSource Georgia Mountains; Zane Shelfer, DJJ Director of Student Support; and Jessica Williams, Youth Services Supervisor for WorkSource Georgia Mountains. As a result of his work with Transition to Success, Schmidhuber earned his GED – and achieved the highest score of all DJJ youth who took the test when he did. He also has become proficient enough in computer technology to begin preparing for a career as a hardware support technician. He plans on continuing his education at Lanier Technical College. There are other important benefits of the Transition to Success program. Student assessments have been fine-tuned to identify those individuals who would benefit the most from the program. Local judges and probation officers have been so impressed with the program that they use student achievement in Transition to Success as a consideration for whether or not a DJJ youth should be released early from supervision. The program has even strengthened the standard educational curriculum in DJJ facilities through the adoption of stricter GED testing standards and curriculum. However, the most visible triumphs of Transition to Success are seen in the individual stories of its graduates. For Chynna Crandall, another student who benefitted from the program, what started as an interesting diversion quickly became an important part of her life. In fact, it is the hands-on approach of coaches and instructors such as “Miss Angela” (Angela Pugh) and David Butler, a GED instructor at Lanier Technical College, that make Transition to Success unique. Chynna earned her GED in September 2015 at the Macon YDC. She hopes to continue her education at Athens Technical College and eventually would like to become a nurse. Learning becomes its own reward with Transition to Success because of the support of its teachers and administrators. Internal success becomes external both for the youths involved and the teachers striving to create an environment that brings forth the best in those youths. This is most evident when the students who have earned their GEDs through Transition to Success participate in DJJ graduation ceremonies. As Butler explained, “Earning a GED gives these young people a path to success. Through Transition to Success we seek to provide a one-on-one teaching/learning environment to help the students, particularly because they are often in RYDCs for such a short period of time.” 9 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Michael Schmidhuber and Juliet Banks - graduates of the Transition to Success program. “While there were the normal bureaucratic collaboration between three state agencies with a obstacles early on, we managed to ‘beat the focus on providing education and aftercare support paperwork’ and now we have developed a strong for incarcerated youth. It is also designed to meet partnership,” explained Brenda Thomas, Executive Governor Deal’s and Commissioner Niles’ emphasis Director of Adult Education at Lanier Technical on programming that addresses the reentry needs College. “We focus on the success of the students, of youthful offenders. Lastly, while GED instruction and that makes the partnership among DJJ, Lanier and testing is available in all of our YDCs, Transition Tech and WorkSource Georgia Mountains even to Success is unique, because it provides a GED stronger,” she said. instructor and workforce development resources to students in an RYDC.” Banks earned her GED through Transition to Success in December 2014. She now lives in Habersham Shelfer continued, “Everyone involved in the County, works at Walmart and is planning on program owes a debt of gratitude to Governor pursuing additional education to achieve her goal Deal and Commissioner Niles, who championed of becoming a veterinary technician. the program when it was just beginning. We are extremely grateful to WorkSource Georgia According to Zane Shelfer, Director of Student Mountains and Lanier Technical College for Support Services at DJJ, “The Transition to Success partnering with DJJ to provide this program that is program is unique for several reasons. It is a true improving the lives of the students we serve.” 10 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Word From Washington: An Interview With Joseph Vignati Note: This article originally ran in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Juvenile Justice Update. At that time, Joseph Vignati was a Deputy Comissioner at DJJ. On March 1, he was promoted to Assistant Commissioner/Chief of Staff of the agency. The article is published here with the permission of Juvenile Justice Update. Editors’ note: Marion Mattingly interviewed Joseph Vignati on October 28, 2016. Vignati is Georgia’s Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Community Services in the Department of Juvenile Justice. He has worked in virtually all aspects of Georgia’s juvenile justice system, both for the state and as a volunteer. He is a renowned national expert on juvenile justice. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Coalition for Juvenile Justice’s (CJJ) Tony Gobar award for his “demonstrated passion and dedication to bettering the juvenile justice system, advocacy for detention alternatives, and service as a leader and a voice for juvenile justice specialists from around the nation in his role as the CJJ National Juvenile Justice Specialist. By exemplifying leadership through service, he reminds us all that every child is indeed special.” Throughout his career, Joe Vignati has been a tireless worker and advocate for juvenile justice in Georgia. Serving as the Department of Juvenile Justice’s first Case Expeditor, Mr. Vignati made an imprint on juvenile justice policy in Georgia that has grown over the years through positions such as Deputy Director of the Children and Youth Coordinating Council and Administrator for the Governor’s Office for Children and Families. Vignati was recently appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ), where he represents Georgia and other states in the Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.) The FACJJ advises the President and Congress on juvenile justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Administrator on the work of OJJDP, including the concerns of their communities. (Originally, members of the FAC were appointed by the President. Today they are appointed by the OJJDP Administrator.) For more information, go to 11 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Making the Case for Juvenile Justice Mattingly: Do you have the valid court order (VCO) Marion Mattingly: You’ve been working in the juvenile exception in Georgia that allows judges to place status justice field for quite a few years, both at the state and offenders in detention despite the general prohibition on the national levels. It seems that juvenile justice is no the practice? longer the priority it used to be. Why do you think that is? Vignati: We do not have the VCO exception in Georgia. Joseph Vignati: I’ve said this before, and I know some That was eliminated with the new children’s code. We people may disagree, but the reality is I just don’t think now have a separate dependency court hearing for we do a good job in the field as the juvenile justice youth that have those types of status issues, and they are experts in making the case for juvenile justice. handled now as CHINS cases (children in need of super- vision), and they are no longer detained. What is your Mattingly: What do you think needs to be done? reaction to the proposal? Vignati: I think we really have to look to communicate effectively with everyone, not just legislators, policy Mattingly: A major goal of the JJDPA from the very be- makers, judges and law enforcement. We need to reach ginning was to deinstitutionalize status offenders. I think the general public, and until we learn to message and it is way past time to get rid of the VCO exception. What explain what it is we do and why we do what we do, do you think of the new proposed Formula Grant Regula- we will never win the support to sustain long-lasting tions issued by OJJDP that were published in the Federal change. The recent disagreement over potential Register in August? How do you think they would impact reauthorization of JJDPA [the Juvenile Justice and Georgia and the other states? Delinquency Prevention Act] is a painful and important Vignati: Our State Advisory Group prepared an official example of how much we need to do. response, and we are waiting with other states to hear where these regulations will end up. As written, Georgia Mattingly: I agree that communication is critically and virtually every other state would be out of compli- important. Both understanding and having the facts ance. The Coalition for Juvenile Justice has also respond- make the difference. It makes me think of Frameworks ed on behalf of its member states. I will state that I am Institute and its work on the importance of figuring encouraged by the Administrator and OJJDP staff willing- out the right frame for an issue. I think the Chronicle of ness to engage in a dialogue and that this is the begin- Philanthropy described it as “Words that Change Minds.” ning of a conversation with the states and not the end. Do you know Frameworks? Vignati: I have long thought that if people understood Fate of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice the work, how we can positively impact the lives of Mattingly: Do you think the Coalition for Juvenile Justice kids, they would be supportive. However, I wasn’t sure will survive? of the best way to communicate this. Then I attended Vignati: You know, I certainly hope so. I was having a a Frameworks workshop on effective messaging for conversation with a friend of mine who I first met at juvenile justice, and I was absolutely blown away. By a CJJ conference 16 years ago in San Antonio, Texas, using appropriate metaphors, we can tell a compelling and we have maintained not only a close professional story about juvenile justice that can reach a wider [relationship] but a close personal friendship to this day. audience. Annie E. Casey is working with Frameworks, and I highly recommend their work. Valid Court Order Exception Delays Pas- sage of Reauthorization of JJDPA Mattingly: What do you think of the delay in the passage of the JJDPA reauthorization? Vignati: Well it’s disappointing, especially since I’ve seen how we were able to make changes here in Georgia by being inclusive, by reaching across the aisle and having members from both parties work together for the good of our children. 12 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice I think the one thing that CJJ has provided above all other things (and they have done so many wonderful things that have pushed our field forward), but you cannot underestimate the importance of having training opportunities where you get to meet your colleagues from other states who are facing similar issues and can offer their support and solutions. Without CJJ, the training opportunities and the fellowship, I can honestly say I would not be where I am today. Closing Youth Prisons Mattingly: What do you think about the Mattingly: What do you think should be the alternative? recommendation that every youth prison should be Vignati: I think if we appropriately assess youth risk closed (made in the recent report by Patrick McCarthy, and implement the appropriate interventions and Vinny Schiraldi, and Miriam Shark, called “The Future of protections for our youth, we can dramatically reduce Youth Justice”)? our usage of secure, out-of-home placements and serve Vignati: Wow, you really are hitting all the tough more youth appropriately and safely in their home questions. There is a Bible verse that says something communities. We have to be smart in our usage of to the effect that we will always have the poor among secure placements and focus them only on those youth us, and, I think, in the same way, we will always have who present a risk to public safety. If we are judicious youth who require some type of secure, out-of-home in our approach, states can begin the gradual process placement. The question is which youth and how many? of downsizing large youth institutions and moving to Less than five percent of all youth nationally and in local options. That’s the vision for the future of juvenile Georgia are adjudicated for violent offenses. I think we justice. have to be very deliberate about which and how many children we hold in secure confinement. The Impact of Costs and Fees Mattingly: What do you think of the practice of “We have to be charging costs to juveniles and their families for fees, fines and restitution? Vignati: In Georgia, juvenile courts are allowed to assess smart in our a monthly supervision fee of not less than $2.00 and not more than $30.00, based on a sliding scale/ability of parents to pay. This practice is not used often. With our usage of secure juvenile code’s new focus to “preserve family safety and security,” we have seen a shift in how juvenile cases are handled, which is in keeping with the latest research. placements and As such, the ordering of excessive supervision fees and the resulting strain on families who are unable to afford these costs, which I understand happens in a few other focus them only states, is simply not common practice in Georgia. Georgia’s New Juvenile Code on those youth Mattingly: Georgia’s new juvenile code, with its recent reforms, is receiving a great deal of positive attention. It who present a risk is now a model, but I remember when it was best known for its statute containing the seven deadly sins. Vignati: That’s right. The legislation that created Senate to public safety.” Bill 440, also known as “the seven deadly sins” legislation for juveniles, was enacted in the late 1990s, and the transfer provisions of that act are still in effect. 13 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Mattingly: Today Georgia is considered a model for other states in its efforts to reduce confinement, costs and recidivism. How did you do this? Vignati: We overhauled the entire juvenile court code, which had been not really looked at systematically for over 40 years, and those statute changes led to the reform that helped improve our system. In our new children’s code, judges have greater discretion in sentencing, more drug and mental health counseling is available, and there is now an emphasis on the use of local community-based programs and incentives to encourage [counseling]. Mattingly: What caused the turnaround? Vignati: I think we were very fortunate to have the right placements, and the cost of those placements was leadership. The credit goes to Governor [Nathan] Deal roughly $90,000 for bed space per year. Twenty-five and Commissioner [Avery] Niles for pushing forward percent of our youth in these out-of-home placements the appropriate changes to the juvenile code and being were low-level offenders, such as misdemeanants and status offenders, and 40 percent of these youth in out- very deliberate in securing buy-in, with input from all of-home placements were at a low risk to reoffend. So the key stakeholders in Georgia’s juvenile justice system. what this all meant was that we had an over-reliance Having a governor and state leadership that understand on secure detention for juveniles, which resulted in a children’s issues, that care and are concerned and poor use of our resources and a poor return on taxpayer want to do the right thing for our youth, makes all dollars. Based on these findings, the Criminal Justice the difference. We also had great support from Pew Reform Council made several specific recommendations [Charitable Trusts] and [the Annie E.] Casey [Foundation]. to change Georgia’s juvenile justice code to improve our I think that it’s pretty impossible not to make progress outcomes. when you have that level of agreement in place. Mattingly: How did the governor get the legislature to go along and pass your new children’s code? Vignati: Governor Deal is very popular. Having the right people on the Reform Council and information from a survey that was done and the support of groups such as JUSTGeorgia was essential. Mattingly: Who was on the Reform Council? Mattingly: How did it all happen? Vignati: Legislators, judges and other members of Vignati: A Criminal Justice Reform Council was one of the justice system, as well as local elected officials the key factors in allowing us to take a look at the adult and the state bar association. House Bill 242, known and the juvenile justice system and conduct a serious as “the children’s code,” had two sets of specific self-examination into where we were as a system and recommendations designed to address some of the how we could continue to improve. By including all issues we were just talking about. The first set of the stakeholders in the system, bringing them around recommendations were around focusing the use of the table, working with experts both from outside the out-of-home placement and facilities on high-level state, as well as those from inside the state, we were offenders, and this was accomplished by prohibiting able to determine areas where we could improve and status offenders and certain misdemeanants from make appropriate, realistic recommendations to move residential commitment, establishing the Voluntary us to where we needed to be: a more developmentally Juvenile Incentive Grant Program, and creating a two- responsive juvenile system. class system within the Juvenile Designated Felony Act. Mattingly: The process makes sense. What did you find? The second set of recommendations was focused Vignati: The Reform Council found that in our juvenile on reducing juvenile recidivism, and these included system, nearly two-thirds of our Department of Juvenile ensuring resources were focused on programs proven to Justice budget was being used to operate out-of-home reduce juvenile recidivism, requiring the use of 14 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice validated risk assessments statewide, and allowing low- level offenders to be placed on administrative caseloads. Overall, it became a new approach to our entire juvenile code and, effective January 1, 2014, the law was changed, and we were given a new mandate. The new children’s code says the intent of the juvenile code is to preserve and strengthen family relationships in order to allow each child to live in safety and security. Mattingly: Is the incentive program working? Vignati: Yes, the incentive program to support local evidence-based programs in lieu of sending youth to state-run corrections facilities is definitely working. It has awarded $5.6 million in FY [fiscal year] 2014 and $6.8 million in FY 2015 to counties. Mattingly: Has the Reform Council stayed involved? Vignati: I think one of the great things about our work here is that we didn’t just make changes and pat ourselves on the back and that’s the end of it. We continue to monitor and improve. In order to sustain Vignati: Our results overall have lived up to our reform efforts, the Council continues to meet regularly expectations. To me, it is really the question of what are and track progress in both our criminal system and the practical things we have done to impact the lives of our juvenile system, as well as publish its annual set of our young people, and we are now properly assessing recommendations for improvement. kids and placing them in appropriate settings, based on risk. Also every juvenile circuit in the state has access Mattingly: Going from seven deadly sins to supporting to at least one evidence-based juvenile intervention families and children is wonderful. It sounds like a program. We are providing funding for local family- fundamental change from Georgia’s previous code. It based services in communities, and we have closed two has only been a few years since its passage, but is it detention centers and one training school. working well? Governor Nathan Deal signs the Juvenile Jusice Reform legislation on May 2, 2013. 15 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest We have far fewer low-risk youth confined in secure facilities, and, since the juvenile reforms were enacted, our overall secure population has already been reduced by 18 percent. Mattingly: It sounds as though you are making great progress. Vignati: I guess the honest answer is that we had a long way to go, based on the findings of the Criminal Justice Reform Council that I just told you about. Many may know Georgia as the Peach State, but our other official state nickname is Empire State of the South, and we take pride in not only our honesty but our willingness to change for the good of all. Juvenile Justice Work Runs in the Family Mattingly: How did you happen to decide on a career in juvenile justice? Vignati: My father worked as a counselor and then the director of the juvenile detention center in Augusta, Georgia. And I really didn’t think much about it as a kid, but I remember when we would go out to the mall or go out to a restaurant, and these kids would come up to my father, and they would say, “Hey, Mr. V., hey, Mr. V.,” wanting my father’s attention. I remember my dad would interact with these kids, who I didn’t know, and would ask them, “Are you in school? Are you staying out of trouble?” that sort of thing. His message to them was, “Do good work.” Kind of what you would expect from growing up in an immigrant family, and while I was somewhat of a rebel in high school and college, after I graduated, I started working at a juvenile detention center outside of Atlanta 29 years ago and have been in the field ever since, trying to “do good work” every day. For more information, see the following websites: Frameworks: Federal Register proposed regulations for OJJDP: documents/2016/08/08/2016-18371/juvenile-justice- and-delinquency-prevention-act-formula-grant-program Coalition for Juvenile Justice: Pew Charitable Trusts: Annie E. Casey Foundation: Georgia Juvenile Justice incentive grants: Georgia Juvenile Justice model fidelity and yearly evaluations: model-fidelity 16 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice ‘Get Tough,’ Then Another Positive Supreme Court Decision Drops That brings a sigh of relief and the hopeful feeling that putting the remaining pieces in place is just a matter of time. The court first slapped us into a sobering reality in the ’60s with the In re Gault decision. That reminded us that kids too are deserving of the due process needed to temper our passions when reacting to a kid’s misbehavior. Too often those reactions are impulsive and ineffective, if not harmful. What happened to 15-year-old Jerry Gault not only violated his right to due process, but also violated the principles of good parenting. Should a parent punish their child without some evidence that he is guilty of the accusation? And assuming the parent doesn’t believe their child’s innocent plea, is it right for a parent to ground their child at age 15 to his room until age 21, and for a nonviolent prank committed by many teenagers? Of course the answer is no, but that is what the This column was written for the Juvenile Justice judge did to Jerry. I wonder if that judge would Information Exchange, a national news site that have treated his own son the same way? covers the issue daily. I seriously doubt it, but that’s what happens when By Judge Steven Teske juvenile court judges fail to exercise the most basic parenting principles while sitting on the bench. The Does anyone want the rest of their life defined by concepts of due process and good parenting are what they did at 14? very similar and overlap. I don’t think so, and neither does our Supreme Court. We have come a long way since the first juvenile court in 1899. I have compared our juvenile justice journey to a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, and to the frustrations of piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Just when things seem to be at the lowest, and we can’t find pieces that fit, the Supreme Court drops a landmark decision that sends our ride soaring again, and a few puzzle pieces are found. 17 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest In his book, “The Ten Basic Principles of Good Fairness is about doing what is right, and what is Parenting,” Laurence Steinberg provides guidelines right is about dignity, and dignity is about decency, based on the top social science research for good and decency is about respectability. When a system parenting. Among those 10 principles, and the is not fair, children will not learn to do what is right, most important one, is that what you do as a parent dignified, decent and respectable. It’s difficult matters. Kids are watching us, mimicking us and enough that many kids come to our courtrooms how we treat them will decide how they treat without these values, and this is why many end up others. in our courtrooms, but we make them worse when the system behaves like the parents who don’t Treat your child with respect is another important model good parenting skills. principle, he says, because “Children treat others the way their parents treat them.” Good parenting also demands that we explain our rules and decisions to our children, and this is Steinberg states that not only is respectful true in how we process fairness in the courtroom. treatment of children necessary, but it must be The juvenile court is set apart from all other courts consistent, which goes to the heart of due process. because they are places for “carpe diem” moments, Our disposition toward the kids in the courtroom to teach kids fairness by doing due process. must be consistent, and that disposition must always be respectful. That’s why we call it due The Gault roller coaster climb lasted about two process. decades until professor John Dilulio’s prediction of “superpredator kids” created fear among lawmakers. What does it say about judges who don’t practice This prediction was a myth, but the damage fair treatment when the kids before them have been was done. States passed laws in response to this treated unfairly at home? prediction, treating kids as adults and making incarceration an easier option for judges. When we fail to display common decency from the bench, we validate the mistreatment they receive Looking back at this “get tough” trend of the ’90s, at home. For children such behavior from adults it can be characterized as a cancer recurrence. The becomes the norm, and so these kids treat others Gault decision is the chemotherapy that sent the just as they have been treated, and they go on to cancer that infected the adjudication stage into commit crimes. remission, but two decades later those unnoticed cells spread to the disposition stage. There are too many in our society who complain about the inconvenience of due process, how Kids may be getting the process due them, but the it works in favor of the accused and promotes cancer shifted its attack to hurting kids in a different crime. The irony is that fairness works to reduce way – executing or incarcerating them, sometimes crime, especially among kids whose brains are still for life, and sometimes without the possibility of developing. parole. 18 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice There is something wrong, or indecent, about executing an underdeveloped brain or incarcerating it for life with no chance for release. It’s called the Eighth Amendment, or the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Those juvenile justice practitioners who had already seized upon the teenage brain research to reduce reliance on detention and emphasize evidence- based programs were empowered by the court’s decisions to stay the course. Others followed suit beginning in the late 2000s, Let’s lock ’em up and throw away the key, but no including governors, legislatures and even judges, worries because on the way there we gave them executing, codifying and ordering reforms of notice, an opportunity to confront their accusers, a different kinds and in places outside the justice lawyer and a fair trial. arena. This continues to this day, which brands our contemporary era of juvenile justice as So long as we gave the kid due process, we can do revolutionary. whatever we want to him. Or can we? With the election of a new president, many are “No, you can’t,” said the Supreme Court. anxious about what this means for juvenile justice. Will the roller coaster take its plunge, or will the And just like that, when we thought we couldn’t puzzle pieces become difficult to find? find any more missing pieces to our puzzle, and the roller coaster was at another low, the Supreme There is no turning back, even if the president tries Court came through again, 38 years after the Gault to eliminate federal support of states doing what decision, ruling that kids can’t be executed and works for youth. they can’t be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. And that’s because the revolution is grounded in what works, and that is forever. A president has a The justices admonished us, saying it’s not good lifespan of eight years. enough that kids are treated fairly on the road to sentencing. Once they arrive to be sentenced, the Steven Teske is chief judge of the Juvenile Court state can’t impose a sentence that’s contrary to “the of Clayton County, Ga., and vice chairman of the evolving standards of common decency that mark Governor’s Office For Children and Families. He is the progress of a maturing society.” a past president of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges and has been appointed by the governor They reminded us that due process is not only to the Children & Youth Coordinating Council, DJJ about the fairness of the process, but it’s also about Judicial Advisory Council, Commission on Family the validity of the law for which one must be fairly Violence, and the Governor’s Office for Children and processed. Families. The Supremes seized upon the medical findings that the prefrontal lobe of our brains, which translates emotion into logic, is not developed until age 25. That’s right, kids are wired to do stupid things, and for no explanation except they are kids. 19 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Faith-based Guidance Behind the Wire: DJJ and the Candler School of Theology – a Partnership in Prayer for Georgia’s At-Risk Youth Left to Right: Jennifer Arnold, Jessi Persson and Carmen Cunningham pray with DJJ youths. The Office of Chaplaincy Services was established care. Chaplain Horne’s vision was to launch an at DJJ to meet the spiritual needs of young anchor program to provide a spiritual foundation offenders “behind the wire.” Commissioner Niles and pastoral care to committed populations. envisioned Chaplaincy Services as the focal point for DJJ’s spiritual outreach efforts, providing faith- Seeking to establish a program at the Metro RYDC based guidance, support and education to help in Atlanta, Horne asked the Candler School of reduce recidivism in the state’s juvenile offender Theology to help develop and implement a faith- population. based strategy of prison ministry to support DJJ youth. Groundwork for the program began with Commissioner Niles believes that the “encouragement meetings between Horne and the Rev. Richard of personal spiritual development through Landers in May 2014. After much prayer and mentoring and prayer can play an essential role planning, the development of the DJJ-Candler in promoting personal stability and inspiring partnership continued with the assistance of Letitia individual progress for youth in juvenile detention Marie Campbell, Candler’s Director of Contextual settings.” Education and Clinical Pastoral Education. The Commissioner tasked the Office of Chaplaincy Metro RYDC became the first Candler partnership Services to advance innovative approaches to program site and the DJJ pastoral care program sustain a positive impact on the lives of Georgia’s began with 10 students. Chaplain Horne was at-risk youth, both in secure detention and under designated Site Supervisor. Now in its second community supervision. That meant creating strong program year, another nine divinity students have support networks for newly released offenders in developed a short-term curriculum of care for DJJ their home communities and in local churches and youth, while also providing direct ministry at Metro service agencies throughout Georgia. RYDC. Empowered with the Commissioner’s mandate, “I believed the Candler theology students would Chaplaincy Services Director Danny Horne initiated make excellent leaders for providing pastoral care conversations with local seminaries and faith-based to the male and female youth populations at Metro,” support systems to provide spiritual counseling for said Chaplain Horne, who graduated from Candler youth transitioning from facility care to community in 1991. 20 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice our young offenders would show interest in the new fellowship group sessions and even find new ways to learn new respect for themselves at the meetings,” added Chaplain Horne. The inventive Candler curriculum fits well with the Commissioner’s concept for a positive, nurturing DJJ chaplaincy partnership. The partnership is helping prepare juvenile offenders for success in their efforts to complete their court-ordered commitments, reenter their communities as law-abiding citizens and sustain productive lives without recidivating. St. Louis native Darrin Sims has always been interested in civil rights and activism. He majored in political science and history, and received his undergraduate degree from Fisk University, a Chaplain Horne speaks with a DJJ youth. historically black college in Nashville. A former congressional intern who serves in the Tennessee “As a former student in that same Contextual National Guard, Sims once considered law school. Education program, I already had a great deal of Instead, he joined Teach for America in Nashville respect and appreciation for ‘ConEd,’ as we termed and returned to his hometown in 2015 to educate it,” Chaplain Horne said. middle school students. Contextual education is at the heart of the Candler curriculum. Candler’s mission is to educate faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries throughout the world. Through community engagement programs such as contextual education, Candler is shaping tomorrow’s clergy and community leaders who will tackle the issues that divide many and preparing them to serve those marginalized by society. As part of their contextual education, students provide pastoral care for incarcerated youth, lead life-skills classes for the homeless, support the LGBTQ community, advise college students, support people with physical and intellectual differences and welcome and educate refugees. This hands-on experience applies what Candler students learn in the classroom to real situations and the community members who face them. The Candler theology students are engaging in direct prison ministry with the incarcerated youth at Metro RYDC. “Candler students say this is another way they can discover how to live out their faith to make a lasting difference in an ever-changing world,” said Chaplain Horne. “I was quite hopeful 21 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Abby Norman mentors a DJJ youth. “After Ferguson, I wanted to go back to teach those children who deserved a quality education,” Sims said. “My students challenged me with age-old questions about why bad things happen to good people. That’s when I decided to come to Candler and attend the seminary. I believe the answer is in faith and justice.” Sims chose to serve as a chaplain to the incarcerated youth at Metro RYDC as part of his contextual education. They don’t all come to the sessions knowing how to pray, but they all want the attention of the young chaplain who does. The former teacher is gaining a new perspective on how to support young people. “I’m learning the weight of the work we’re called to do,” Sims explained. “This experience has challenged me and helped me better relate with people across racial, economic and political lines.” Attending another evening pastoral session at Metro RYDC, Candler divinity student Abby Norman has already decided she wants to be a chaplain for a youth detention center or prison after she’s ordained as an elder in The United Methodist Church. Chaplain Norman is a former high school teacher from a family of five generations of educators. She chose the seminary after 10 years of “loving the students and the learning, but despising the testing and the paper-pushing of a classroom.” Norman’s 10-year teaching experience began with a degree from Ball State University and varied widely from public schools in poor African-American communities to schools in more affluent areas that were predominantly Caucasian. 22 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Left to right: Jessi Persson, Chaplain Horne, Jennifer Arnold. Darrin Sims listens to a DJJ youth. Carmen Cunningham interacts with DJJ youths. With responsibilities as a wife, mother, artist, church art director and divinity student, support from scholarship programs focused on community engagement and social justice allows Norman to concentrate on her schooling and her children. She admits she would have stretched herself even thinner without the scholarship assistance she has been given. “I came to Candler thinking I would transfer my experience with teenagers into youth ministry,” said Norman. “I’m now open to a more integrated ministry.” While providing counseling sessions and pastoral care for DJJ youth, Chaplain Norman is developing an adaptable teaching model that can be replicated for use in other settings. In sessions with young men at Metro RYDC she explores inventive ways to encourage those who have become withdrawn from faith, education and social situations to learn to express themselves again. “We recently asked everyone in session to describe intangible feelings with tangible objects,” Norman explained. “One boy said ‘confidence looks like a fresh pair of sneakers just out of the box.’ Another boy said ‘belonging tastes like his grandmother’s macaroni,’ just the way he likes it.” Chaplain Horne said, “During our journey we have received meaningful guidance and support from Candler, DJJ executive leadership and the staff at Metro RYDC. The significant result has been a growing mutual respect and appreciation for the ConEd students and staff.” At Metro RYDC, Candler theology students sign out on the visitor’s log at the end of class, knowing the same teens who attended their session will be waiting there again for words of hope and spiritual guidance when the chaplains return for their next visit. 23 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Implementing PREA and Sustaining Culture Change through Leadership Atlanta was the host venue for the winter 2017 Juvenile corrections administrators in Georgia Leadership Summit Series held by the Bureau of and throughout the country quickly recognized Justice Assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice it is critical to achieve a PREA culture change (DOJ). Juvenile justice professionals from six states within modern juvenile justice systems in order to throughout the southern region attended the successfully achieve the full intent of the PREA law. summit, which was entitled “Sustaining Culture Change through Leadership.” The DJJ-hosted Leadership Summit Series featured a panel of outstanding speakers – Josh Delaney The Georgia DJJ, along with its professional partners from the DOJ Civil Rights Division, Council of from The Moss Group, presented a priority focus Correctional Juvenile Administrators’ Executive on continued implementation of the federal Prison Director Mike Dempsey and Dr. Reginald Wilkinson Rape Elimination Act, which is known as PREA. from the DOJ Review Panel on Prison Rape. DJJ Commissioner Niles was the opening speaker Summit speakers discussed the roles of leadership at the conference and said, “This Leadership in the implementation of PREA standards, the future Summit Series allows us to have the fundamental of PREA in juvenile justice and the transformational conversations needed ‘beyond our checklists’ for effect of leadership working within existing agency PREA. Our team at DJJ, in partnership with the team cultures to bring critical PREA reforms to juvenile at The Moss Group, has worked hard to provide justice systems. Cherie Townsend of The Moss expert insight about sexual safety and PREA, along Group spoke about reducing the use of isolation with the many leadership and cultural issues faced in confinement settings and DJJ’s Victim Services by leaders in participating correctional agencies.” Director Latera Davis chaired the panel on a victim-centered approach for the incarceration of The summits began after Congress enacted high-risk youth. the nation’s PREA standards in 2003 so that state juvenile justice leaders could share ideas DJJ’s PREA Coordinator, Adam Barnett, noted that and network with their colleagues to expedite sexual abuse is never a matter to be minimized. It implementation of the required federal standards is a crime with severe consequences for victims, for sexual safety in juvenile correctional facilities. for the security of correctional facilities and for the safety and well-being of the communities where “We will be discussing some of the most critical nearly all incarcerated persons eventually return. issues in juvenile justice,” said Commissioner Niles. “Sharing innovative ideas and best practices is one of the most important steps we can take in this reform process.” 24 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Yet when the PREA law was passed, Congress observed the nation was “largely unaware of the epidemic character of prison rape.” The DOJ documented that for too long before passage of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, this offense was not taken as seriously by the general public as sex abuse crimes that occur outside correctional facility walls. The federal law applies to sexual abuse in all custodial corrections settings, including prisons, jails, police lock-ups, juvenile facilities and community residential settings. In addition, the Act applies to all forms of sexual misconduct against juveniles, including abuse by other juveniles or by staff. Summit presenters demonstrated that justice agency leaders with the specific tools, successful PREA programs depend on juvenile knowledge and networks needed to support their justice practitioners and state agency leaders efforts to successfully achieve system-wide PREA working together to foster conditions that implementation. support zero tolerance, safety and active reporting cultures. Among the objectives of this ongoing Barnett reported that in coordination with DOJ, the Leadership Summit Series is to provide juvenile Georgia DJJ mandates a zero tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse and harassment. DJJ policy provides guidelines for all staff to reduce the risk of sexual abuse within DJJ facilities, programs and offices. Specifically, youthful offenders who engage in sexual assaults or sexual abuse within the Georgia juvenile justice system are strongly disciplined and may be referred for criminal prosecution. Employees who engage in sexual assault or sexual abuse with youth are terminated from employment and are referred for criminal prosecution when applicable. 25 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest The federal law in which the PREA standards were published includes an official DOJ Final Rule statement declaring, “The success of the PREA standards in combatting sexual abuse in confinement facilities will depend on effective agency and facility leadership and the development of an agency culture that prioritizes efforts to combat sexual abuse.” Participants in the Leadership Summit Series agree that eliminating sexual violence in the nation’s correctional institutions requires an ongoing effort to clarify and implement the PREA standards. This task includes developing operational procedures to prevent and investigate sexual assaults, creating effective training programs for staff and inmates and building alliances with community partners to serve victims and prosecute predators. DJJ is committed to working with federal, state and local partners in activities like the Leadership Summit Series to reduce and eliminate sexual abuse and sexual harassment in its secure juvenile facilities and community residential programs. DJJ works diligently to engage private and federal experts to obtain necessary resources and technical assistance. DJJ continues to develop and implement best practices in its system to improve the level of sexual safety for Georgia’s youth in confinement and to enhance services for the youth in its care. 26 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice DJJ Stands Against Human Trafficking DJJ is proud to partner with local, state and Through its Office of Victim Services, DJJ provides federal law enforcement agencies to fight human statewide leadership and outreach services in trafficking in Georgia. Human trafficking is defined collaboration with law enforcement, government, as “modern day slavery” because it controls a private agencies and other concerned community person through force, fraud or coercion – physical stakeholders. or psychological – to exploit the person for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. For more information on how to stop human trafficking, visit At DJJ, the devastating effects of human trafficking Immediate help is a phone call away via Georgia are felt daily in its facilities. Many DJJ youth have Cares at 404-602-0068 or the Prevent Child Abuse experienced first-hand the pain of being victimized Georgia Helpline at 1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244- and controlled by others against their will. As a 5373). result, DJJ is dedicated to the elimination of human trafficking in all forms wherever it may be found. “Human trafficking is the most extreme violation of a person’s civil rights,” said DJJ Commissioner Niles. “And yet it still afflicts humanity in this century through the profitable business of sex trafficking or disguised in the form of domestic labor hiding human servitude.” Each year, up to 300,000 children are at risk to become victims of human trafficking. A shocking statistic is that more than 80 percent of youth who run away from home are fated to become new victims of human trafficking. Atlanta has been identified by the FBI as one of 14 cities in the nation with the highest incidence of sex trafficking activity. 27 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest First Lady Sandra Deal Presents DJJ Deputy Commissioner Draper with Servant’s Heart Award Recipients of the 2016 Servant’s Heart Award. First Lady Sandra Deal is pictured on the far right of the front row; Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper is the sixth person on the front row; Commissioner Niles is on the far right of the back row. DJJ’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Secure Campuses Sarah Draper (who retires on July 1) is the proud recipient of the Servant’s Heart service award. Along with several others, Draper received the award for volunteerism and mentoring from First Lady Sandra Deal during a reception at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion. Mrs. Deal presented the service recognition to Draper based on her nomination as an exceptional leader “whose quiet acts of kindness, concern and mentoring favorably impact the lives of others in the juvenile justice system on a daily basis.” The Servant’s Heart service award was founded by Mrs. Deal as part of the First Lady’s platform in 2011 to increase awareness of the importance of volunteerism. She later built on that commitment to recognize exceptional individuals who share her enthusiasm for volunteerism and mentoring. Each year, Mrs. Deal personally recognizes nominees like Draper for their selfless work for the betterment of their communities. The presentation ceremonies led by the First Lady included a personal tour of the historic Georgia Governor’s residence. DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles said, “Sarah Draper’s extraordinary approach to volunteerism has steered her to a broader understanding of the formidable challenges faced by DJJ’s troubled youth. Her approach has become a real life-changer for many of our youth.” During her time at DJJ, Draper oversaw DJJ’s seven long-term YDCs. She was responsible for the education and rehabilitation, safety and security of some of Georgia’s most high-risk youth incarcerated in the state’s juvenile justice system. “DC Draper has a significant background in law enforcement and correctional services,” wrote Draper’s fellow Deputy Commissioner, Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb, in her nomination letter. “However, this nomination is not about how well she does her job. It’s based on what she brings to our youth that’s outside the scope of her role.” 28 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice “DC Draper is an advocate and mentor for “DC Draper serves as a mentor for many of the our youth,” Reynolds-Cobb wrote. “But more youths in our facilities, which often fills the gap of importantly, she truly believes that with appropriate absent family participation,” wrote Reynolds-Cobb. resources and support, even our most troubled youth are capable of turning their lives around.” “Draper’s programs go above and beyond to provide the kind of extra support our youth need Draper’s extra efforts resulted in innovative DJJ to help them make a successful re-entry into the projects with the Special Olympics; with programs community.” like “Beat the Streets” in partnership with the Atlanta Track Club; and a generous sponsorship with Draper explained that she tackled all these tasks Mizuno sporting goods. Each of the programs has because she believes in DJJ’s young offenders had the constructive effect of exposing DJJ youth and in their ability to be successful. “When we to health and fitness goals while teaching them to show them we believe in them, they will show us positively address their emerging life issues. something different in their behavior,” DC Draper said. “We are not trying to make them perfect; we Draper was also the creative force behind DJJ’s try to make them better.” “Rescue-2-Restore” animal care and adoption program and the founding of Girl Scout troops at She looks for ways to inspire others to invest time secure DJJ facilities in greater Atlanta and middle or encouragement in the lives of DJJ’s challenged Georgia. Draper developed these unique youth youth. “Draper is an advocate and mentor and a programs as service-learning projects where young voice for our youth,” Reynolds-Cobb wrote. “But offenders could be industrious and give back to more importantly, she truly believes that with their communities while in state custody. appropriate resources and support, even our most troubled youth are capable of turning their lives Some youth volunteers who participate make around.” toys for adopted pets and animal shelters. Others handcraft holiday cards and quilts to bring cheer To read more about juvenile justice service-learning and comfort to the elderly. projects and partnerships visit the “News & Views” webpage at . 29 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Cagle Appointed to Peace Officers Standards and Training Council and Executive Board of Georgia Emergency Management Association DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles is pleased to announce that Scott Cagle, Director of the agency’s Office of Planning and Preparedness, has been appointed to serve as the Department’s representative on the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST). “I appointed Scott Cagle as DJJ’s voting member on the Council because I know that Scott will represent DJJ ably and with honor,” stated Commissioner Niles. “POST does an exceptional job for the Georgia law enforcement community and the public at large.” The POST mission is to provide the citizens of Georgia with qualified, professionally trained, ethical and competent peace officers and criminal justice professionals. The Georgia POST Council administers the regulatory process, sets the standards for training and certification and provides essential technical assistance to the law enforcement community. The Council provides the highest degree of excellence in public safety service and eliminates unqualified individuals from the law enforcement profession. The Council members serve the peace officers and citizens of this state without compensation. By POST was established in 1970 by the Georgia statutory definition, a peace officer is any person General Assembly as a regulatory body. The who is vested expressly either by law or by virtue composition of the Council, its power and function of public employment or service with the authority is established in Title 35, Chapter 8 of the Official to enforce the criminal or traffic laws through Code of Georgia, Annotated. The Council is the power of arrest and whose duties include the responsible for the certification and regulation of preservation of public order, the protection of life Georgia’s peace officers and other various public and property, and the prevention, detection or safety personnel. Additionally, POST is responsible investigation of crimes. for establishing the minimum training standards and curriculum of the personnel certified by the Commissioner Niles also announced that Cagle has agency. been appointed to serve on the Executive Board of the Emergency Management Association of Georgia The POST Council consists of 19 voting members (EMAG). Cagle, who oversees safety and all-hazards and a number of advisory members and meets emergency planning for DJJ’s secure juvenile quarterly. Members of the Council are appointed facilities, was appointed to the EMAG Executive from state, county and local law enforcement Board at its 58th Annual Business Meeting in Young agencies, professional associations and from the Harris. Cagle also will serve a two-year term as peace officer population. EMAG Chaplain. 30 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice The appointment was made by Don Graham, newly Commissioner Niles endorsed the benefit of a elected EMAG President, who is also Fire Chief and strong EMAG relationship in serving Georgia: Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director “Director Cagle has many years of firefighting, all- for Jones County. Cagle served 23 years with Hall hazards preparedness and experience managing County Fire Services before retiring as the Fire Emergency Operations Center responses during Marshal, Deputy EMA Director and Chief of Planning many types of critical incidents. I congratulate him and Preparedness. His DJJ duties include providing on his appointment to the EMAG Executive Board.” leadership to correctional staff in all phases of emergency preparedness, response, recovery and “It is an honor to be asked to serve on the EMAG mitigation. He is DJJ’s primary point of contact with Executive Board. The organization represents and the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland serves emergency management objectives in all Security Agency (GEMHSA). 159 Georgia counties,” Cagle said. “The Department of Juvenile Justice has 26 secure facilities and Safety and security are considered DJJ’s top 97 community services offices [CSOs] located priorities. Cagle’s primary duties are to maintain throughout the state that will benefit from DJJ’s the safety of DJJ youth and staff and to ensure continued professional relationship with EMAG.” that staff members remain confident in times of natural or man-made emergencies. His public safety background includes certifications as a Georgia Peace Officer, Firefighter and a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician. EMAG assists community emergency management efforts in saving lives and protecting property from the effects of disasters. It provides a professional forum for discussion of current issues in the emergency management field; and it serves as a policy advisory board to both local emergency management agencies and to GEMHSA functions. 31 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest BJCOT Graduation Class 217 On February 17th, 82 JCO cadets assembled Class 217 chose “The Tradition of Excellence Starts in their ‘DJJ blue’ uniforms for their Basic Now” as the class motto and with their right hands Juvenile Correctional Officer Training (BJCOT) upheld in solemn pledge, the 82 graduates were commencement at the Georgia Public Safety officially sworn in as new DJJ Juvenile Correctional Training Center (GPSTC) in Forsyth. This class was Officers. too large for all cadets to take the stage at one time – evidence of DJJ’s ongoing efforts to recruit and Cadet Bradford Washington of the Augusta YDC train greater numbers of qualified candidates to delivered the invocation. The welcome was given meet the demand for professional JCOs at 26 secure by Marisa Roberson of the Terrell County RYDC. DJJ facilities throughout the state. Once inside, the Training Academy Director DeBaja Coleman gave graduates would have to be divided into two ranks an official greeting to families, speakers and staff in to receive their honors. attendance. A memorable date coincided with this special In her graduation address, Lisa Mantz, DJJ Assistant event in their lives. These cadets would long Deputy Commissioner the Division of Support remember that after weeks of arduous state-of- Services, told Class 217 to remember to “celebrate the-art technical and physical training in juvenile the small stuff” in their jobs. corrections best practices, Class 217 was about to graduate on “02-17.” “You may never see the full impact that you have on the youth you work with, but do it anyway,” said As another distinction, Class 217 is the first Mantz. “They are coming to us damaged and with graduating class to include mother and son cadets broken spirits. They have been let down and they to pass the BJCOT sequence together. Cadets Shimona Hollowman and her son Christopher Wright trained in the same class and received their diplomas on the same stage at commencement – a DJJ first. Class 217 will also hold special memories for Cadet Jessica Patterson, who waited patiently through the ceremonies as her classmates were individually recognized, then she rushed off to her second major life-changing commitment of the day – when she became Mrs. Jessica Patterson Watson at her wedding ceremony. 32 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice have been left to find ways to cope with their anger, Give yourself permission to exercise authenticity disappointment, abandonment, abuse and neglect. in your dealings with the youths we serve. Give But you have the opportunity through your actions yourself permission to be the fullest extent of and interactions to show them another way.” yourself in hopes of achieving your goals.” Trevaris Summerour from the Augusta YDC was Leadership awards went to class leaders including named the class Honor Graduate. He had a grade Christopher Osby (Augusta RYDC); Bradford point average (GPA) of 95.22 and Santana Tooks Washington (Augusta YDC); and Christopher Wright from Metro RYDC was close behind, with a 95.11 (Sumter YDC). Additional leadership awards went GPA. to Section Leaders including Nia Burns (Eastman YDC); Shaun Lee (Terrell County RYDC); Nathaniel In his comments, Tooks addressed his fellow cadets McPherson (Marietta RYDC); and Saron Minter and thanked them for having the courage to return (Martha K. Glaze RYDC). to the challenging training week after week to achieve their graduation goals. McPherson also was awarded the Look Sharp Award; the Physical Fitness Award was presented “We are being authorized to help vulnerable youths to Michael Hammond (Terrell County RYDC) and transition into productive and law-abiding citizens,” Zachary Walker (Eastman YDC); and the Team Spirit said Cadet Tooks. “We are being entrusted to serve Award went to Christopher Osby (Augusta RYDC). as role models for young men and women who have fallen victim to circumstance and socialization. 33 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest After presentation of the Class Awards and Certificates by Public Safety instructors Kimberly Blount and Jason Kovarovic, DJJ Commissioner Niles shared closing thoughts. He recognized the class for their hard work and praised the cadets who distinguished themselves as class leaders. “Remember that education is key to building and restoring confidence and self-esteem for our young offenders,” the Commissioner said. “That’s why I often say, ‘Each one – reach one, teach one, keep one.’ We know that students who earn their high school diplomas while committed to DJJ have a much better chance of rehabilitation and reintegration into their communities as successful, productive citizens in the workplace.” Among the attendees and speakers were DJJ Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton, DJJ Board Member Willie Bolton, DJJ Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Support Services Margaret Cawood and DJJ Chaplain Danny Horne. In her concluding remarks, Mantz gave words of comradery and encouragement to Class 217: “So as you begin your DJJ career as a Juvenile Correctional Officer, go with confidence, courage and compassion, because you’ve got this and we’ve got your six.” 34 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice BJPOT and BCST Graduates Prepared to Help Youths Statewide On March 17, graduation ceremonies were held and Honor Graduates Lindsey Elias Hall (Bulloch for DJJ’s Basic Juvenile Probation Officer Training HITS), Jan Taylor (Randolph CSO) and Alex West (BJPOT) Class #009 and Basic Community Services (Crisp CSO). Training (BCST) Class #010 at GPSTC. In addition, class awards were presented to Mario BJPOT is a 360-hour basic training program for the Zamundio Alvarez (One Team Spirit), Zaoncra Bell certification of those Juvenile Probation Officers (Look Sharp), Lindsey Hall (Top Shot) and Lawrence assigned to High Intensity Teams (HITS). BCST is a McGee (Leadership and Physical Fitness Awards). 200-hour course that provides Juvenile Probation/ Parole Specialists the skills to perform their duties Christopher Monk, Public Safety Training Instructor and carry out the DJJ mission. The graduates’ class III, presented the certificates and Catina Martin- motto was, “Consistency is the key to transforming Fenner, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of our community.” Community Services, gave the closing comments. The graduation ceremony began as the DJJ Honor Guard conducted the presentation of colors; cadets from the two classes then performed the National Anthem. The Honor Guard also presented the colors at the Georgia Police Academy graduation later that day. Donny Carswell of Richmond HITS gave the invocation; Lindsey Hall of Bulloch HITS welcomed the cadets and guests to the ceremony; Training Academy Director DeBaja Coleman also greeted attendees; and Georgette Wimbush, District 8 Director, gave the graduation address. Betsy Wetzel, Public Safety Training Instructor III, recognized Distinguished Honor Graduate Ashley Charron (Hall Community Services Office, or CSO) 35 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Congratulations to the Graduates of BJPOT #009 and BCST #010: Basic Juvenile Probation Officer Training Basic Community Services Training #009 #010 Jerry Lee Bess Jr. – Telfair HITS Mario Zamudio Alvarez – Gwinnett CSO Mohammad Asaad Bryant – Emanuel HITS Ashley Bates – Hall CSO Donny Alvin Carswell II – Richmond HITS William Belflower – Central Office Sequoia Kadijah Flowers – Ware HITS Zaoncra Bell – Coffee CSO *Lindsey Elias Hall – Bulloch HITS Ana Isabel Beltran – Whitfield CSO Erica Nichelle Lee – DeKalb HITS **Ashley Charron – Hall CSO James Grady McGhow – Fulton HITS Amanda Cox – Walton CSO Shandricka Yulett Miller – Fulton HITS Anthony Davis – Savannah Education Transition Jasmine Desire’e Pryor – Carroll HITS Center (ETC) Marcelle Dodson – Meriwether CSO Tiffney Fraley – Cherokee CSO Christie Lynette Goswick – Gilmer CSO Sharon Hansrote – Coweta CSO Yolanda Hood – DeKalb Multi-Service Center (MSC) Braxton Jefferson – Bibb MSC Donovan Johnson – Walker CSO Brittanie MaGee – Bibb MSC Lawrence McGee – Lanier CSO Brittney Mendoza-Alexander – Polk CSO Khadijah Muhammad – Gwinnett CSO Derisha Rich – DeKalb MSC Christopher Robertson – Bibb Intake Richard Sanders – DeKalb CSO *Jan Taylor – Randolph CSO Othniel Thomas – Rockdale CSO Imani Tyler – Douglas CSO Theodosia Ware – Augusta ETC *Alex West – Crisp CSO Theodore Wilder – Douglas CSO *Honor Graduates **Distinguished Honor Graduate 36 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the Georgia State Capitol On March 6, law enforcement officers from across Georgia were honored for their service at the State Capitol. House Resolution 492 recognized March 6, 2017 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. This day was dedicated to commend the nearly 54,000 certified Georgia peace officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect the community. Through- out Georgia’s history, 699 officers have been killed in the line of duty, including nine in the past year. DJJ’s law enforcement staff joined Commissioner Niles and the executive staff at the Capitol to help commemorate Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. 37 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports What is PBIS? Facility-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a systematic framework that is designed to reduce safety concerns and enhance academic and social-behavior outcomes by implementing a continuum of evidence-based interventions. PBIS is not a curriculum, intervention, program or practice, but rather a data-based decision-making framework that guides selection, integration and implementation of evidence-based practices to improve youth behavior and change the culture in DJJ facilities. About PBIS at DJJ DJJ implemented PBIS in all its facilities in February 2013. The implementation of facility-wide PBIS statewide is helping to change the culture in DJJ facilities to a more positive environment where youth and staff are reinforced for displaying the expected behaviors posted in the facility’s local operating procedures that are established within the PBIS Framework. PBIS Addresses Specific Concerns for DJJ Youth DJJ’s previous behavior management system was ineffective and focused on negative consequences, with little to no positive reinforcement. The implementation of PBIS created facility-wide environments where positive behavior is actively enforced while, simultaneously, youth are helped to correct problem behaviors. PBIS provides a framework for more intensive or targeted interventions to be delivered to youth who do not respond to primary intervention strategies. PBIS Improves Youth Outcomes The framework of PBIS empowers DJJ staff within its facilities to identify the needs of all youth, match the level of support to the severity of the need, and then assess the youths’ responses to the intervention. The PBIS Radar Report is a tool designed to help identify youth who have had recent behavior problems. The report is used by facility staff to determine which youths need to be considered “at risk” or “high risk.” In the PBIS system, these youth should be considered for specialized supports and interventions to help them develop positive strategies for coping. Addressing Discipline, Climate and Safety with PBIS The primary goal of PBIS is to help schools design effective environments that will increase teaching and learning for all students. Challenging behaviors in school that range from disruptive classroom behaviors to physical violence are safety concerns and they represent barriers to teaching and learning. Educators and parents both share this concern. Parents report that their main school concern is the safety of their child. The Need for PBIS Prior to PBIS, there were power struggles between youth and staff and a need to “change the dialogue.” Staff were not previously specifying or modeling expected behaviors. There also was a lack of consistency in managing youth behaviors by different disciplines in the facilities. The previous facility culture and behavior management system primarily focused on negative consequences with little to no positive reinforcement. Most importantly, there was a need to improve the facility environment/climate. 38 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice PBIS at DJJ: Loftiss RYDC FET Award Photos and information from Statewide PBIS Administrator Janette Nihles Recently, the Loftiss RYDC’s PBIS team accepted a statewide award for having the highest overall Facility Evaluation Tool (FET) score for PBIS organizations within DJJ. FET testing is conducted twice per year to gauge the effectiveness of the PBIS program in specific juvenile facilities. This year, FET testing was overseen by Dr. Kristine Jolivette of the University of Alabama to help ensure the objectivity of the process. The Loftiss RYDC staff was presented the award at the PBIS Statewide Facility Team Leader Training. 39 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest PBIS at DJJ: Aaron Cohn RYDC Holiday Celebration Banquet At the end of 2016, the Aaron Cohn RYDC in Muscogee County held a holiday celebration banquet to give recognition to the facility’s youth and to celebrate their hard work and dedication. As a commendation for top students being faithful in their studies and setting a good example for their peers, the banquet also featured student recognition awards for specific high achievers. Active Aaron Cohn RYDC volunteer Sam Khalil (below right) gave the keynote speech for the celebration. PBIS at DJJ: Macon YDC Holiday Masquerade Also at the end of 2016, the Macon YDC held a holiday masquerade ball on its campus as a thank you to youth for good behavior as indicated in the PBIS program. The “A Night to Remember” ball brought glamor and excitement to the Macon facility with fancy dresses, styling and high-end dancing all a part of the night’s festivities. Youth without disciplinary reports for over a month were allowed to participate, which evoked memories of elaborate events from the past. 40 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice DJJ Cares: Bibb MSC Food Drive Photos and information from Monique Finney, Bibb Multi-Service Center Juvenile Program Manager DJJ is committed to ensuring that the world outside of the walls of its facilities is as safe and secure for citizens as it is for the youth in the agency’s care. Recently, staff members at the Bibb Multi-Service Center (Bibb MSC) in Macon helped some local families with the collection of food items for the holidays. The Bibb Intake and District Six staff also were involved in providing essential foodstuffs, including turkeys, dairy products and canned goods. Three families were better able to enjoy the season due to the generosity of DJJ staff in middle Georgia. 41 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest DJJ Cares: Support for Victims of Storms and Tornadoes On Sunday, January 22, 15 people died and more than two dozen people were injured by tornadoes that hit southwest Georgia. In addition, hundreds more experienced home and property damage. Many residents of the area were left with little or no clothing, food, shelter or support. Governor Deal declared a state of emergency for the area, which was also impacted by storms that struck much of the same area on January 2nd. DJJ employees sought to lend a helping hand to fellow Georgians who were in need. Donations for storm victims were accepted statewide at all RYDCs, YDCs and the Central Office through February 3. DJJ Transportation staff picked up the donations on February 6 and delivered them to the Donations Distribution Center in Albany so that they could be distributed by GEMHSA to those in need. DJJ staff members donated a box truck full of cleaning supplies, clothing, canned food and other non-perishable food items as well as pet food and paper products. The items were loaded on the truck by the members of the Commissioner’s Youth Council. District Ten Storm Support: Lanier CSO and Lowndes CSO Photos and information from District Ten Director Steven Mancuso For the District Ten Community Services staff, the end of the deadly January storms meant the immediate start of recovery and relief efforts to help their neighbors, friends and family. While many local communities in District Ten were battered by the storms, these cities and towns were not broken and most people were eager to pitch in to restore normalcy. DJJ employees from District Ten proudly took up the challenge to help restore storm-damaged communities in southwest Georgia. On Tuesday, January 24th, staff from the Lanier CSO volunteered their services at the Cook County Tornado Relief Donation Center. Assisting in the sorting, packing and organization of supplies, the Lanier CSO staff collected donations of clothing, food and toiletry items for the relief effort. Staff volunteers included Juvenile Probation/Parole Specialists (JPPS) Tabitha Watson, Robin Macon, Lawrence McGee, Allen Daniels and PA Kellie McCrae. On Thursday, January 26th, the staff from the Lowndes CSO participated in a similar volunteer effort at the same donation center. Volunteers from the Lowndes CSO included JPM Adrienne Wright, JPPS III Renee McEady, JPPS II Ashley Sorrell and JPPS II Darrien Dubose. 42 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice District Eleven Supports the DJJ Storm Relief Effort Photos and information from District Eleven Director Patricia Merritt Employees of District Eleven also took up the challenge to help and support those in need. Remembering the terrible times that they themselves experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, District Eleven employees collected food, water, socks, towels, blankets, cleaning supplies and pet food for the DJJ Southwest Storm Relief Effort. Many of the employees also contributed to the community support by participating in the Atlanta Falcons Fan Day. The District Eleven Leadership Team would like to thank everyone who helped to donate and collect items for the storm relief. Special recognition should be given to the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department for efforts to organize donation sites in the coastal area. Commissioner Niles stated, “I would like to thank each employee of the Department of Juvenile Justice from around the state who contributed to the storm relief effort. I also want to thank all of the District Ten and District Eleven staff who participated in the storm relief efforts and are featured in this article.” 43 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest 2017 DJJ Volunteer Day of Service DJJ volunteer coordinators throughout the state The DJJ Day of Service was modeled on the national participated in a Day of Service for Georgia citizens Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service during the in need on January 25th. The DJJ Day of Service King national holiday in January. Days of service can was coordinated as part of a quarterly meeting for be a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings coordinators at GPSTC. into action that helps empower and strengthen local communities. To learn more, visit https://www. As part of the DJJ Day of Service, volunteer coordinators created statewide service-learning projects for interested employees and youth. The positive impact of these service-learning projects was felt by a large segment of people in need in Georgia. Personal hygiene items and used clothing were collected for the southwest Georgia storm victims. In addition, care packages were organized for families in homeless and children shelters, including the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. Ties were donated to DJJ youth to help educate them on the importance of dressing for success and teddy bears were made for youths in foster care. 44 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Dougherty CSO and Lanier CSO: Read Across America Day 2017 Photos and support from District Ten Director Steven Mancuso Recently, DJJ took part in Read Across America This year, DJJ staff members (all JPPS II) Afiya Askew, Day 2017. Staff members from the Dougherty and Linfred Davis and Tabitha Watson helped to make Lanier CSOs participated by volunteering to read to Read Across America a success in south Georgia. students from the Lamar Reese Magnet School of By reading stories and leading a discussion on the the Arts in Albany and the Lanier County Primary books read, the Dougherty and Lanier CSO staff School in Lakeland. sparked imaginations and encouraged reading as a worthwhile pursuit. Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration coordinated by the National Education Following the success of this year’s Read Across Association that takes place on the birthday of America Day, DJJ plans on bringing in more famed children’s author Dr. Seuss. Each year, volunteers to staff additional schools across the thousands of schools, libraries and community state next year. centers bring the joy of reading and books to local young people. “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” – Dr. Seuss 45 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest DJJ in the Community: Lyons Nature Trail In early February, youths from Toombs County As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, the who are under DJJ Division of Community Services youth volunteers were put in charge of signing up supervision participated in a groundbreaking attendees to receive the Partin Park nature trail ceremony for a new nature trail that will be built in newsletter. During the ceremony, it was mentioned Partin Park in Lyons. that the youths will help build the nature trail during school holidays to earn community service The new trail will be constructed over the next hours and gain valuable construction experience. year and will be a welcome addition to one of the finest small town parks in the state. The park hosts DJJ would like to thank Lyons Mayor Willie Nesmith, the south’s largest Soapbox Derby and annual Real Jr. and Lyons City Manager Jason Hall for meeting Squeal BBQ and Music Festival. with the youth volunteers and for their support of DJJ community outreach efforts. 46 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice DJJ in the Community: Mitchell County Teen Maze In February, DJJ staff from the Office of Reentry Services, the Office of Volunteer Services and the Division of Community Services participated in a Teen Maze event held at the Mitchell County Agriculture Center. Working various stations at the Teen Maze, DJJ staff conducted sobriety tests, provided information on the risks associated with gang activity and discussed issues associated with being a teen parent. Eighth-graders from public and private schools in Mitchell and Baker counties participated in this event. The Mitchell County Teen Maze is an interactive life simulation where students are shown the positive and negative consequences of future behavior and life choices. The maze allows youth to explore real-life situations and their consequences without the permanency that would occur if they actually happened. Along the maze, participants drew their “fate” out of a bag as community professionals. As they continued from station to station, these teens encountered the real-life choices and consequences that can interfere with obtaining a high school education. The ultimate goal of the Teen Maze for the participants was to reach graduation with a focus on continuing their education and succeeding in life. The Teen Maze was sponsored by Family Connections of Baker and Mitchell County. DJJ would like to thank all of the agency staff who participated in this important local event. 47 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest Sumter YDC: A Visit from Marquis Daniels Article information and photos from Director of couldn’t evenafford proper clothing. He told the Victim and Volunteer Services Latera Davis Sumter YDC youth that times were so tough that, “I remember Christmas shopping at Goodwill one Marquis Daniels is a former professional basketball year.” player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for more than a decade. He However tough things got for Daniels, he never played college basketball at Auburn University gave up hope or stopped looking for opportunities before going undrafted in the 2003 NBA draft. to succeed. His first breakthrough came when Daniels played his first three NBA seasons for the he was given an opportunity to change high Dallas Mavericks before being traded to the Indiana schools to play basketball and then being offered a Pacers. Daniels then signed with the Boston Celtics scholarship to play basketball for Auburn University. in 2009 and the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012. He was selected as a third-team All-SEC player in 2001, a second-team All-SEC player in 2003 and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2004. Recently, Daniels spoke with youth incarcerated at the Sumter YDC. While he told his audience about his NBA career, Daniels also shared his personal journey from a troubled childhood to the success in life he has found since then. For Daniels, the obstacles he faced as a boy were similar to those of the Sumter YDC youth. He had a drug-addicted mother, grew up in impoverished and unstable housing and lived with multiple family members. His childhood was anything but stable; regularly attending school was difficult because he 48 • Spring 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice At Auburn Daniels met his future wife, who helped provide a second opportunity for his life; his wife was and is Marquis Daniels’ support system, pushing and encouraging him to be his very best. The youth of the Sumter YDC appreciated the words of wisdom gleaned from the hard work and success Daniels has achieved in his life to date. Encouraging education, Daniels stated that “being ignorant is more expensive than getting a free education any day” and that everyone should pursue their fullest potential, because they are all gifted. During the question and answer session, Daniels told the youth that the hardest challenge in the NBA is “remaining determined and working out in the off- season, because there is no one standing over you to push you and that when you get back, there is an expectation that you will be ready to play.” The staff and youth of the Sumter YDC appreciates and thanks Marquis Daniels for spending the time to share his life story. 49 • Spring 2017

The DJJ Digest DJJ Cares: Muscogee County CSO On March 20, DJJ Muscogee County CSO staff and youth participated in a two-hour service-learning project at Feeding the Valley Food Bank. Feeding the Valley is a regional food bank in Columbus and is the outlet for receiving and distributing donated food, produce and grocery products. Thirteen DJJ staff and six youth supervised by the CSO were educated on the impact of hunger on Georgia families while they boxed eight pallets of nonperishable food items that will feed 687 families throughout the Columbus-Phoenix City, Alabama area. 50 • Spring 2017

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