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Home Explore DJJ Summer/Fall Digest 2017

DJJ Summer/Fall Digest 2017

Published by matthewmontgomery, 2017-09-26 09:46:57

Description: The DJJ Digest for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice -- Summer/Fall 2017

Keywords: avery niles,nathan deal,georgia,juvenile justice,djj


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Read More DJJ Good News at www.djjnewsandviews.orgSummer 2017 The Official Newsletter of the Department of Juvenile Justice Volume 2, No. 2First Lady Sandra Deal (center, in green) and DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles stand with staff and volunteers in the DJJ Nurturing Parenting project.Georgia’s First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Deal, visited the Department of Key AcronymsJuvenile Justice’s (DJJ) Atlanta Youth Development Campus (YDC) onMarch 30 to promote her campaign for child literacy, support DJJ’s • BJCOT - Basic Juvenile Correctional Officer Trainingefforts to improve the reading skills of young offenders and other • CSO - Community Services Officeprograms. • CYC - Commissioner’s Youth CouncilDJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles stated, “We were honored that Mrs. • DJJ - Department of Juvenile JusticeDeal took time to visit the Atlanta YDC and to interact with youths in • GED - General Equivalency Diplomasecure confinement who are also young parents. He added, “We know • GPA - Georgia Preparatory Academyeducation is the key to successful community reentry for our youth. • GPSTC - Georgia Public Safety Training CenterSo we truly appreciate the First Lady’s visit to support a great partner- • HITS - High Intensity Team Supervisionship that is focused on improving parenting and reading skills, as well • JCO - Juvenile Correctional Officeras showing young children the importance of learning how to read. • JPO - Juvenile Probation OfficerHer support greatly encourages the goals of our Reentry Task Force.” • LETR - Law Enforcement Torch RunThe event is highlighted on the following pages. • NCVRW - National Crime Victims’ Rights Week • PBIS - Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports • POST - Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council • RYDC - Regional Youth Detention Center • SERT - Security Emergency Response Team • SMRT - Special Management Response Team • SOGA - Special Olympics of Georgia • SRO - School Resource Officer • YDC - Youth Development Campus

The DJJ Digest DJJ Parenthood Project Partners with Georgia First Lady Sandra DealMrs. Deal stressed the importance of reading – both for the DJJyouths and their children – and what reading can do to helpthem succeed. She said, “As parents, teachers and mentors, wemust take it upon ourselves to ensure that our students aregood readers.”Commissioner Niles and First Lady Deal endorsed theParenthood Project, a multi-organization partnership thatenhances relationships between youth committed to secureplacement who are parents and their children. Mrs. Deal isalso supporting DJJ’s new “Nurturing Parenting” parent skillstraining program.The Parenthood Project includes programs supported byPrison Fellowship – Storybook Moms and Dads, Angel Treeand Nurturing Parenting. The Parenthood Project also includestwo programs supported by Foreverfamily, another non-profitorganization partnering with DJJ. In the Storybook program,a youth/parent reads a children’s book aloud; it is recorded,and then the book and the recording are sent to the youth’schild. Prison Fellowship is providing a volunteer to run theprogram, the books and recording devices and their delivery tothe children. Angel Tree, a program in which churches sponsorChristmas gifts for children on behalf of incarcerated parents, isalso being provided to DJJ by Prison Fellowship. 2• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeThe First Lady also thanked the volunteers and Prison Fellowship staff membersstaff who participated in the Nurturing Parenting Mrs. Deal and Commissioner Niles also endorsedtraining. They were attending three days of training the provisioning of YDCs with toy/book carts forthat will enable them to teach Nurturing Parenting visiting children. Foreverfamily provides the freeto DJJ youth. “Nurturing Parenting is an evidence- books and toys for children who come to visit theirbased parenting skills curriculum that has been used parents in juvenile detention, as well as volunteerssuccessfully for many years in the adult system,” to support the program. In addition, the First LadyCommissioner Niles explained. Under the direction voiced support for the enrollment of DJJ’s youthfulof Brenda McGowan, Prison Fellowship’s National parents’ children in a Ferst Foundation program.Director for Church and Community Engagement, Children enrolled from 77 Georgia counties receivethe organization is providing the facilitator training one book per month until age five.and volunteers to teach parenting programs to DJJ’syoung offenders who are also parents.The First Lady’s “Read Across Georgia” initiativeincreases the percentage of children reading at gradelevel by the completion of the third grade. “Parentalactivities as simple as reading stories aloud to youngchildren can greatly improve and enhance students’reading and literacy skills,” said Mrs. Deal. As sheoften says, “As a teacher, I didn’t just teach to onechild. I taught every student in the class.” 3 • Summer 2017

The DJJ DigestThe First Lady’s “Read Across Georgia” initiativeincreases the percentage of children reading at gradelevel by the completion of the third grade. “Parentalactivities as simple as reading stories aloud to youngchildren can greatly improve and enhance students’reading and literacy skills,” said Mrs. Deal. As she oftensays, “As a teacher, I didn’t just teach to one child. Itaught every student in the class.” First Lady Sandra Deal and Brenda McGowan of Prison Fellowship 4• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeGeorgia’s First Lady Delivers Special Donation for Families of Youthful OffendersLisa Casey Bryson, Director of DJJ Office of Classication and Transportation, and Commissioner AveryD. Niles pose with some of the donated books and stuffed animals.DJJ received more than 130 books and two large they share quality time with their families,” saidbags of stuffed animals thanks to a special donation Commissioner Avery D. Niles. “The books andfrom the 2017 Easter Egg Hunt at the Governor’s stuffed animals will encourage visitations andMansion. Guests attending the event were asked strengthen family bonds, which in turn helps toto contribute a book or stuffed animal to benefit facilitate the re-entry process.”children in need statewide. First Lady Sandra Deal The donations are a great addition to the booksthen provided a portion of the donations to DJJ, recently donated to DJJ at a ceremony at theand they will be used at DJJ secure facilities around agency’s Atlanta YDC by Prison Fellowship (seethe state. Siblings and/or the children of youths in preceding article). Mrs. Deal participated in thatDJJ care will have books to read or stuffed animals event, discussing the benefits of a DJJ-Prisonto play with during their visits. Fellowship reading program partnership and“Reading boosts the imagination, determination the importance of reading in everyone’s life.and academic excellence of children. These Commissioner Niles and the DJJ staff are thankfuldonations will provide a positive activity for the for the First Lady’s efforts and her help in providingchildren and relatives of youths in DJJ’s care while these donations to DJJ facilities. 5 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest DJJ FOCUS ON EDUCATION: DJJ Graduates 2017 Senior ClassOn May 26, 57 students graduated from DJJ’s Georgia Preparatory Academy (GPA). Commencementexercises were held in Roberts Chapel at Tift College in Forsyth to honor the spring graduates ofGeorgia’s 181st school district. After a considerable amount of hard work and commitment, the Classof 2017 was proud to walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas, general educationaldevelopment (GED) diplomas and Vocational Technical Certificates of Credit (TCCs) from DJJ Commissioner/Superintendent of Schools Avery D. Niles.The graduating class was comprised of students from 16 GPAs at the Atlanta, Augusta, Eastman, Macon,Milledgeville, Muscogee and Sumter YDCs; Aaron Cohn (Columbus), DeKalb, Gainesville, Martha K. Glaze(Clayton County), Rockdale and Waycross Regional Youth Detention Centers (RYDCs); and EducationTransition Centers (ETCs) in Bibb, Chatham and Richmond counties.Families, friends, dignitaries, DJJ educators and media packed the chapel to honor graduates whoovercame odds as young offenders and achieved scholastic accomplishments in GPA classrooms. As adually accredited state school district, GPA students must complete the same educational requirements andstandards found in traditional public schools set by the Georgia Department of Education.Assistant Superintendent Dr. Letunya Walker presided over the ceremony while Deontae May, a graduatefrom Sumter YDC, gave the official welcome and Donte Battle, a graduate from Augusta YDC, gave theInvocation. The DJJ Honor Guard conducted the Presentation of Colors. Gospel singer Paulette Smith sangthe national anthem as well as an uplifting musical selection for the graduates and guests. 6• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticePaulette Smith delighted the audience with James Eric Berry, an All-Pro safety for the NFL’sseveral songs. Kansas City Chiefs, served as the keynote speaker.Eric Berry gave an inspirational keynote speech. A native of Fairburn, Berry is a five-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and was named the 2015 Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Several cities in Georgia have been the recipients of philanthropy from the Eric Berry Foundation, which is dedicated to providing opportunities for children to participate in team sports and leadership development programs. Berry encouraged the graduates by telling them, “You have to trust and believe in yourself and trust and believe in your vision that you made for yourself. You have to attack that vision every single day and fall in love with the process to get to that vision.” Hakeem Strickland, the class valedictorian from Eastman YDC, gave an inspiring address and stressed that “success is different for each of us; we will not always succeed immediately, but that does not matter. The lack of success only becomes failure when we allow it to defeat us.” 7 • Summer 2017

The DJJ DigestMichael Bourque, the salutatorian (who also is a grad-uate from Eastman YDC) gave the Class Charge andreminded his classmates that “education is the mostpowerful weapon we can use to change ourselves. Doyour best, be your best and do so unapologetically.”Commissioner Niles, Associate Superintendent JeanLee, members of the State Board of Education, statedignitaries and school leaders presented the diplo-mas. Commissioner Niles presented a Commissioner’sCoin to Berry for upholding the values of integrity anddedication and being a positive role model to youth.Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper, who retired inJuly, also received a Commissioner’s Coin for her 32years of service to the state. During the presentation,Commissioner Niles described Draper as “one of thepillars of this agency.”A number of students were also recognized for com-pleting ACT testing modules for college admissionrequirements. In addition to earning high school andGED diplomas and TCCs, youth in DJJ custody alsohave the opportunity to earn college credits.The Department of Juvenile Justice wishes GPA’s Classof 2017 success in achieving their goals and futureendeavors. 8• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeCommissioner’s Youth Council Provides Information to DJJ Senior StaffOn June 7, DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles “My purpose for being on this council is to give aconvened the 7th Commissioner’s Youth Council voice to those who are underrepresented and do(CYC), which was attended by incarcerated teens, not have a voice,” said Dylan Sierra, a youth fromtheir families, executive staff and community Muscogee YDC.members. This quarterly forum allows youth from Chaplain Yolanda Thompson opened the meetingYDCs to share their opinions and suggestions with the Invocation, and Essence Brown, a youthdirectly with the Commissioner. from Macon, led attendees in the Pledge of“It’s important that we all participate in this Council,” Allegiance. After the members of the CYC introducedsaid Commissioner Niles addressing the youth. themselves, staff proceeded to do the same, as well“We hold these quarterly meetings so your voice as stating their roles and duties within DJJ.can be heard and you all can hear first-hand the MeShell Dewberry of the Office of the Ombudsmancommitment our staff members have to improve introduced the meeting’s speaker, Pastor Aakeemthe services and programs in DJJ facilities.” Woodard of the James Rivers Church in Lithonia.The Commissioner believes that maintaining open Incarcerated as a youth, Woodward told the CYCcommunication between the youth in DJJ facilities members that he was not fortunate enough to haveand the agency’s executive staff is crucial for DJJ’s a Commissioner who was willing to give offendersoverall success. The council is currently comprised an opportunity to speak their minds. Woodardof 12 males and two females from YDCs in Atlanta, encouraged the Council members to make the mostAugusta, Eastman, Macon, Milledgeville, Muscogee of this opportunity.and Sumter. 9 • Summer 2017

The DJJ DigestHe went on to tell the youth his story with the law successes. They expressed a desire to expand themand imparted some of his own life’s lessons. “I need further. “I feel like many of us would take advantagey’all to hold value within yourselves,” said Woodard. of more college options,” said Shanquana Braxton, a“Don’t let anybody take away your power to be young woman from the Macon YDC who currentlysuccessful. You have to stay hungry. You have to participates in cosmetology and computer sciencefight against the urge to not go back to what you programs. A future survey will be conducted to seewere doing. Life is moving. Stay strong; I want to see where the youths’ interests lie.great things coming from each of you,” he added. The Youth Council also interacts with DJJ execu-Commissioner Niles then held an hour-long tive staff members in order for both groups to gainquestion and answer discussion session. The greater insights. These insights positively influenceCommissioner personally addressed each youth executives’ decision-making regarding juvenile of-and listened to what they had to say. fenders, services and facilities.“I’m here to voice the concerns of my peers and CYC members go through a careful selection proc-continue to learn what those concerns are,” said cess and must meet certain criteria to participate. InAn’Quavius Brown, a youth from Eastman YDC. order to be chosen to represent their facility, a youthYouth representatives appreciated the education must be at least 15 years of age and must not have aand training programs and discussed their release date within six months.Pastor Aakeem Woodard (standing) addresses members of the Commissioner’s Youth Council. 10• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Additionally, youths must possess strong leadership skills and be a positive influence on their peers. Candidates must prove they are striving to complete their educational goals and maintain participation in the behavioral management program. Letters of recommendation from their facility directors are also taken into consideration. CYC members also have the responsibility of meeting with their peers before and after the meeting to learn about their concerns and share insights from the forum. Members of the Youth Council are regularly rotated to ensure more voices are heard. Family members of the youth present also were able to address their concerns with the Commissioner and ask questions. At the close of the meeting Commissioner Niles reminded the 14 youth, “The winners are you all. We care and want to make a difference for each of you and all those you represent. That’s why you have to be truthful and open. We cannot lose the opportunity to engage with y’all.” 11 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest DJJ Participates in High Museum Youth Art Contest and ExhibitionIn partnership with Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, program coordinators for developing this visual artsDJJ is proud to announce the winning student en- teaching program. “We’re grateful for this programtries from the first annual ‘Express Yourself Art Con- and for allowing the High Museum partnership totest and Exhibition.’ be a part of your academic DNA,” said Shearer. “AsThe goal of the DJJ-High Museum partnership is to young artists going out into the world, there are soinspire DJJ youth to explore their creative talents in many artists to be inspired by, to help you revealways that promote artistic excellence and cultural your personal inspiration and talent. When we giveawareness. Through this motivational visual arts students the opportunity to learn more about artproject, youth in the care and custody of DJJ experi- they become inspired to create works of their own.”enced increased awareness of the arts while devel- Student participants came from GPA classrooms atoping and showcasing their own artistic talents. YDCs in Atlanta, Augusta, Eastman, Macon, Milled-“Art is the science of freedom,” High Museum Direc- geville, Muscogee and Sumter. Ten DJJ winners weretor of Education Virginia Shearer told participating chosen for the inaugural exposition.DJJ youth at the first art exhibition awards ceremony. DJJ began partnering with the High Museum in JulyShearer, who formerly worked as a university arts 2016, enrolling talented GPA students in theeducator for more than 20 years, thanked DJJ museum’s ‘Art Access Program.’12• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeThe partnership was developed by former DJJ Dep- ture, juvenile courts and incarceration, and doves ofuty Commissioner Sarah Draper. Assistant Commis- peace. Noah told parents that like the other stu-sioner Keith Horton said Draper created a number of dents, having his work displayed at the High Muse-youth programs with similarly successful impact. um meant his story was told through his art.“Former Deputy Commissioner Draper, who retired “When I was younger they showed me a Salvadoron July 1, did a spectacular job of making opportu- Dali piece at a museum and that’s what startednities like this available to many incarcerated youth my love of art,” Hernandez said. “Now I just wantwho otherwise would never get a chance to partici- to thank everyone for coming out and supportingpate in these educational experiences,” Horton said. us and I’m hoping all these art students can makeNoah Hernandez was among the GPA students who something out of this opportunity.”submitted winning entries. His iconic pencil sketch Through the DJJ-High Museum partnership, manyentitled “Manos” depicts the hands of a Hispanic young offenders like Noah Hernandez have attend-youth folded in prayer at his cell window, sur- ed museum guided tours featuring Black Historyrounded by symbols of Aztec and American cul- month and other timely special exhibits. DJJ’s part- nership with the museum has quickly grown to include the GPA student art show with a statewide art class competition to select projects worthy of exhibition at the High.High Museum’s Art Access Coordinator MamiFondu presents a youth with a Certificate ofAchievement. 13 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Former Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper, High High Museum Education Director Virginia Museum Art Access Coordinator Mami Fondu, DJJ Shearer addresses the contest winners and Project Coordinator Chrissie Kaczynski, High welcomes them to the High Museum. Museum Education Director Virginia Shearer and “Sarah Draper saw much more than that in each of DJJ Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton our youth and she saw a need,” said Horton. “SheShearer praised the winning DJJ art students for saw what they could actually do if they were giventaking the High Museum program seriously. “I’m access to art and the tools to maximize the talentso grateful to you for letting us know how much it they had in them. I was looking at the art and themeans to you and then going back and expressing different subjects they were drawing – their emo-yourselves in this most wonderful way,” she said. tions were clearly visible in their art,” Horton said.Horton told the winning students that the High Mu-seum partnership has become a success becauseDraper saw the potential in DJJ youth, instead ofseeing them solely as offenders coming throughthe juvenile justice system.High Museum Director Randall Suffolk speaks Contest winners also were able to see and learnwith DJJ staff at the exhibition. about the High’s many art collections on display. 14• Summer 2017

In fact, Dylan Sierra entitled his multi-media entry Georgia Department of Juvenile Justicein the ‘Express Yourself Art Contest’ as “Don’t BeAfraid to Express Yourself.”That same theme defined Shearer told the youth, “For creative people like you,his concept of what art is all about: “Art is a way of sometimes it’s easy to feel boxed-in by so many rulesexpressing one’s self and showing what we can do as we have to live by. Just remember that, ‘Art is theartists,” Sierra told attendees at the award ceremony. science of freedom.’ It has helped me when things“The unique thing about it is, it’s a language spoken feel like they’re closing in on me. So if you guys kindby anyone with a creative heart.” of think of that, it will help you go far,” she explained.“This opportunity gives me confidence to push mylimits and explore even more,” Sierra said. “Knowing The High Museum has committed to devoting morethat my painting is displayed in the High Museum of space next year to a larger student showcase forArt gives me a real feeling of accomplishment.” DJJ’s ‘Express Yourself Art Contest and Exhibition.’“So we’ll have more of your friends participating,” Shear- er said. “We hope this continues for a long time to come. The museum is here for you.”Congratulations to the Winners of the ‘Express Yourself Art Contest and Exhibition’‘Opportunity.’ Beachscape photograph conjoins Artist: Jacob Thornhill. Life-size ‘Blue Jay’ inthree hazy human figures. Artist: Hataria watercolors and pencil.Whitehead. 15 • Summer 2017

The DJJ DigestArtist: Dylan Sierra. Multi-media piece entitled, Artist: Noah Hernandez. Pencil sketch of‘Don’t Be Afraid to Express Yourself.’ praying hands entitled, ‘Manos.’Weeping woman’s face reflects razor wire in Artist Alonso Deavila’s ‘Wisdom’ depicts anher eyes. Artist: Julia Motley, pencil sketch. ‘See electric blue watercolor owl.Beyond the Gates.’16• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeArtist: Thang Sang. Pen and ink portrayal of a Artist Hea Aye’s ‘Spirit of Love’ gives flight to‘Japanese Samurai’ contrasts with a delicate a dove amid watercolor teardrops and a roselotus blossom. with thorns.Flags of three nations over the Atlanta skyline Artist: Andrea Johnson. A tropical palm againstillustrate artist Andrew Tarvin’s ‘Heritage.’ a blue-green sea is a counterpoint to its title, ‘Business.’ 17 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest DJJ Board Meets in Statesboro and Tours Savannah RYDC Commissioner Niles and Board Chair Elaine Snow Board members Thomas Coleman andThe DJJ Board held its April meeting in Statesboro. John EdwardsHighlights of the Board meeting were the Board members Adam Kennedy, Willie Boltonintroduction of Jean Lee, new Associate and Richard AmbroseSuperintendent of the DJJ School District, andan overview of the training curricula by DJJTraining Academy Director DeBaja Coleman andProfessional Development Unit Manager TaniaAppling. In addition, HR Director Virginia Phifergave a brief presentation on the make-up of theDJJ work force and ongoing recruitment efforts. Board members Willie Bolton, Julia Neighbors and Richard Ambrose18• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeBoard members and DJJ staff also visited the Assistant Director of Security Marquis Young,Savannah RYDC on Thursday, April 13. Director Assistant Director of Programs Janice WhippleRodney Dinkins and his staff provided the visitors and Commissioner Nilesinformation about the RYDC, its education,healthcare and recreation facilities and theprogramming available to the youth housed there.Assistant Director Young gives a tour of the Board Chair Elaine Snow and Board membersSavannah RYDC. Julia Neighbors and Lisa ColbertBoard members Lisa Colbert and Julia Neighbors, BoardChair Elaine Snow, Board Vice Chair Sandra Taylor andBoard Members Richard Ambrose and Adam Kennedy 19 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest BJCOT Class #218 Graduation CeremonyOn April 7, the DJJ Basic Juvenile Correctional Officer Training (BJCOT) Class #218 graduation ceremony washeld at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) in Forsyth.BJCOT is a 240-hour program designed to provide basic skills training in security practices and proceduresnecessary to function in a juvenile facility setting. To complete BJCOT, a trainee must meet established stan-dards on written examinations which evaluate cognitive knowledge, as well as performance-oriented exam-inations. The graduates’ class motto was “We started with multiple eyes and ended with one vision.”The graduation ceremony began with the DJJ Honor Guard presentation of the colors, which was followedby the national anthem. Commissioner Avery D. Niles and Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton were inattendance to honor DJJ’s newest BJCOT graduates and their families.Kendra Dawn Harris from Eastman YDC gave the invocation; LaQuitta Rena French from the MilledgevilleYDC welcomed the cadets and guests to the ceremony; Training Academy Director DeBaja Coleman andDeputy Commissioner of the Division of Support Services Margaret Cawood also greeted attendees; andJasmine Thomas of Metro RYDC introduced the graduation speaker (Christopher Wood, Assistant Director ofTraining). Wood delivered an inspiring speech and thanked the graduates for their hard work and dedicationto the agency. 20• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticePublic Safety Training Instructor Cordero Foster presented class awards to Othello Walker (Highest AcademicAchievement Award); Roy Flanders III (Look Sharp Award); Kevin Wright (Team Spirit Award); Tyler Brigham(Physical Fitness Award); and Crystal Blue (Helping Hands Award).In addition, leadership awards were presented to class leaders Roy Flanders III and Darryl Harris; and sectionleaders Tyler Brigham, Kendra Harris, Olivia Sapp, Othello Walker and Kevin Wright.Public Safety Training Instructor Kimberly Blount presented the graduation certificates. Christopher Woodadministered the Oath of Office and Commissioner Niles delivered the closing comments and congratulatedthe officers on their success. Larry Hill of Chaplaincy Services delivered the benediction. 21 • Summer 2017

The DJJ DigestCongratulations to the Graduates of BJCOT Class #218Alicia Alston – Aaron Cohn RYDC Malayshia Miller – Metro RYDCConeshia Anderson – Macon YDC Santambra Moore – Terrell County RYDCMiguel Arellano – Gainesville RYDC Jazmine Moses-Brown – Martha K. Glaze RYDCKendrick Armstrong – Augusta YDC Michael Oxford – Terrell County RYDCBrandon Beale – Terrell County RYDC Laquinda Patrick – Terrell County RYDCShamika Bennett – Atlanta YDC Patrick Patterson – Metro RYDCAdriana Blackmon – Sumter YDC Zanz Peeks – Metro RYDCShantrice Blount – Metro RYDC William Pope – Savannah RYDCCrystal Blue – Metro RYDC Marvin Prince – Gainesville RYDCJaVon Bowens – Atlanta YDC Dravious Reynolds – Claxton RYDCTijan Boyd – Metro RYDC Durell Roberson – Milledgeville YDC*Tyler Brigham – Augusta YDC Yolanda Roberts – Marietta RYDCIan Brown – Metro RYDC Trelisa Rogers – Metro RYDCTamara Brown – Augusta YDC Meshe Rutledge – DeKalb RYDCTiffany Brown – Macon RYDC Ericka Sanford – Milledgeville YDCMatthew Cannon Sr. – Terrell County RYDC *Olivia Sapp – Augusta YDCLashonda Carthan – DeKalb RYDC Danniela Taylor – Metro RYDCChristopher Davidson – Metro RYDC Jaleel Taylor – Atlanta YDCTobias Davis – Terrell County RYDC Marquis Taylor – Aaron Cohn RYDCPeter DiPersio – Loftiss RYDC Jasmine Thomas – Metro RYDCCameron Drake – Marietta RYDC Marquis Towles – Macon RYDCJacob Edmonds – Gainesville RYDC Aimee Turner – Savannah RYDCJalicia Ficklin – Milledgeville YDC *Othello Walker – Milledgeville YDC**Roy Flanders – Loftiss RYDC Kelly Ward – Metro RYDCTamekia Forrest – Savannah RYDC Eddie Washington – Atlanta YDCLaquitta French – Milledgeville YDC Tyeshia Watkins – DeKalb RYDCCajuana Gates – Metro RYDC Jonathon Wolfert – Augusta YDCEric Gause – Gainesville RYDC *Kevin Wright – Loftiss RYDCDevante Graham – Loftiss RYDC * Section Leader ** Class LeaderAneisha Green – Metro RYDCTracey Greene – Augusta RYDCLa’Terika Hall – Terrell County RYDC**Darryll Harris – Terrell County RYDCKedria Harris – Metro RYDC*Kendra Harris – Eastman YDCPhillip Harris – Terrell County RYDCTawanda Harris – Muscogee YDCKordell Holmes – Augusta RYDCTiowanna Horne – Sumter YDCRekeetha Hosley – Sumter YDCDarella Johnson – Augusta RYDCEric King – Terrell County RYDCTchernavia Leggett – Muscogee YDCKatrina Lemon – Martha K. Glaze RYDCAngelica Lester – Sumter YDCDerrick Lott – Metro RYDCAndre McRae – Sumter YDC 22• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice BJCOT Class #219 Graduation CeremonyOn May 26, 70 Juvenile Correctional Officer (JCO) cadets came together for the final time as a class for com-mencement ceremonies held at GPSTC. BJCOT Class 219 dedicated themselves by putting in hundreds oftraining hours and proudly wore their “DJJ blue” to receive their honors.Class 219 chose as its motto “Let the Light Shine, When We Hit the Door.”Working at DJJ’s 26 secure facilitiesacross the state, the graduating cadets whole-heartedly intend to uphold the motto they chose.The DJJ Color Guard conducted the Presentation of Colors and Marques Richmond, a cadet from AtlantaYDC, sang the National Anthem. Sumter YDC cadet Terence Jones officially welcomed family and friends, DJJdignitaries and instructors and Assistant Deputy Commissioner Lisa Mantz gave the official greeting. 23 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Lieutenant Alima Mims of the Augusta Fire Class Leaders Duane Jenkins (Aaron Cohn RYDC) and Department and DJJ Training Academy Director Dankeis Wylie (DeKalb RYDC) were given Leadership DeBaja Coleman Awards along with Section Leaders Lee Miller (Mus-Augusta RYDC cadet Tasha Abney introduced grad- cogee YDC), James Riggins (DeKalb RYDC) and Marleuation speaker Lieutenant Alima Mims from the Tucker (Eastman YDC).Training Division of the Augusta Fire Department. Instructor Cordero Foster presented Austin BentleyEarlier in his life, Lt. Mims was incarcerated in the (Loftiss RYDC) with the Team Spirit Award; the Lookstate prison system; at the recommendation of his Sharp Award was presented to Joshua Gillard (Mar-counselor, he enrolled in the Inmate Firefighter tha K. Glaze RYDC); and Jonathan Lyons (Aaron CohnProgram. Upon his release, he became a firefighter RYDC) won the Physical Fitness Award.with the Augusta Fire Department. Lt. Mims cred- Certificates were presented by Instructor Michaelits the Inmate Firefighter Program for successfully Mulkey. After stating the mission and vision of thepreparing him to reenter society and jumpstarting DJJ, cadets joined Training Academy Directorhis career. He stressed the importance of offenders DeBaja Coleman in reciting the Oath of Office.using opportunities while incarcerated to better Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton delivered thethemselves. closing comments and Director of Chaplaincy Ser- vices Danny Horne gave the Benediction. BJCOT ClassTesha Brooks, a cadet from Rockdale RYDC, was 219 will now serve as JCOs in their respective facilitiesnamed the Distinguished Honor Graduate of the and strive to support DJJ youth by helping prepareclass. Marietta RYDC cadet Kimberlin Connelly and them to re-enter society as productive citizens.Shenille Friday, a cadet from Metro RYDC, wererecognized as Honors Graduates. Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton stands with BJCOT Class 219.24• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeCongratulations to the Graduates of BJCOT Class #219Tasha Denise Abney – Augusta RYDC Jonathan Edward Lyon – Aaron Cohn RYDCSadarius Tyrique Adams –Augusta RYDC Calencia Sharese May – Milledgeville YDCRonke Musliat Ajape – Atlanta YDC Lee Ann Miller – Muscogee YDCDesiree Michelle Bailey – Metro RYDC Brittany Murray-Haugabook – Metro RYDCBobbi Banks – Sumter YDC Sia Deannah Musa – Martha K. Glaze RYDCHarriet Ashley Banks – Savannah RYDC Melissa Marie Phillips – Terrell County RYDCCornelius Deonte Bass – Metro RYDC Brianna Jannell Reed – Macon RYDCWayne Clark Bemis, Jr. – Gainesville RYDC Marques Duane Richmond – Atlanta YDCAustin Matthew Bently – Loftiss RYDC James Blake Riggins – DeKalb RYDCCalan Luke Brantley – Eastman YDC Crystal Gail Robbins – DeKalb RYDC**Tesha Shalunte Brooks – Rockdale RYDC Akeem Rashad Roberts – Eastman YDCBeonca Charmiane Brown – Eastman YDC Victoria Olexis Robinson – Augusta YDCDanielle Keshawn Brown – Metro RYDC Elaina Anita-Breshae Seals – Macon RYDCTinida Terra-Tyonna Bundrage – Milledgeville YDC Tierra Lavan Shivers – Macon RYDCPaisleigh Machelle Burrows – Gainesville RYDC Ebony Serena Thompson – Augusta RYDCCephus Martagus Camiel – Martha K. Glaze RYDC Marle D. Tucker – Eastman YDCSydney Lee Cannon – Martha K. Glaze RYDC Ahvee-Rahavah Veasley – Martha K. Glaze RYDCLeonard Eugene Carter – Metro RYDC Teddra Renee Watkins – Metro RYDC*Kimberlin Grace Connelly – Marietta RYDC Letroya Wilkerson – Martha K. Glaze RYDCLakeisha Elaine Cook – Metro RYDC Ronald Rejerrel Williams, Jr. – Macon RYDCKimesha Gay Daley – DeKalb RYDC Kierra Jatarrius Williams – Macon RYDCFelicia Michelle Davis – Waycross RYDC Teondre Javon Williams – Martha K. Glaze RYDCPetronillo De Los Santos, Jr. – Elbert Shaw RYDC Dankeis Derrod Wylie – DeKalb RYDCTravis Clayton Eaddy – Sumter YDC Tara Cerise Young-Barr – DeKalb RYDCKory Robert Ellis – Metro RYDC *Honor GraduateGarrick C. Evans – Bob Richards RYDC **Distinguished Honor GraduateAirian Ford – DeKalb RYDCKeyon Lionel Ford – Atlanta YDC 25 • Summer 2017Mckayla Breann Fortescue – Claxton RYDC*Shenille Keziah Friday – Metro RYDCRaul Daniel Galarza, Jr. – Atlanta YDCJoshua Gillard – Martha K. Glaze RYDCCyconia Gilliam-Davis – Savannah RYDCDevantae Lequez Graham – Loftiss RYDCRachel Allison Green – Rockdale RYDCTanisha Lakenya Green – Sumter YDCTanershia Lashea Hill – Milledgeville YDCKourtney Katrell Holmes – Augusta RYDCJanea Emon Horton – Milledgeville YDCChantana Hoskins – Martha K. Glaze RYDCDavid Hwang – Metro RYDCAlyssa Shantey Jenkins – DeKalb RYDCDuane Christopher Jenkins – Aaron Cohn RYDCTerence Rashad Jones – Sumter YDCKenneth Wade Lindsey, Jr. – Milledgeville YDCDarlene (Stevens) Lynch – Metro RYDC

The DJJ Digest DJJ Holds POST Swearing-In CeremonyOn April 27, 15 members of DJJ’s law enforcementstaff were sworn in as peace officers by CommissionerAvery D. Niles. During the swearing-in ceremony,Commissioner Niles granted these officers arrest powerand the authority to carry firearms.The new officers will be responsible for upholding thePOST mission – to provide the citizens of Georgia withqualified, professionally trained, ethical and competentpeace officers and criminal justice professionals.Commissioner Niles thanked the new officers for goingabove and beyond and taking the initiative to certify aspeace officers.Deputy Commissioners Catina Martin-Fenner andJohn Pearson and other members of the executivestaff also attended the swearing-in ceremony, as didfamily and friends. In addition, Commissioner Nilesawarded Wayne Thaxton a Commissioner’s Coin for hisexceptional efforts on a recent case.There are over 40,000 certified peace officers whowork for 900 different agencies in the state. Thosewho work for DJJ are responsible for preserving publicorder, protecting life and property, detecting crime,and supervising delinquent youth in the department’sprograms and facilities.Many of those certified serve as officers in the HighIntensity Team Supervision (HITS) Program. The roleof HITS officers is to ensure the safety of the citizensof Georgia, while promoting positive reinforcementfor the youth under DJJ care. They accomplish thesegoals by providing individualized and effective servicesthrough the use of evidence-based practices. 26• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice DJJ Director of Investigations Phillip Barton is recognized during the ceremony.DJJ congratulates the newly sworn-in peace officers and thanks them for their continued excellence inlaw enforcement:Commander William Belflower Theodosia Ware – SRO – RichmondJerry Bess – Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) – Community Services Office (CSO)Telfair HITS Betsey Wetzel – Emergency ManagementMohammad Bryant – JPO – Emanuel HITS Coordinator – Central OfficeDonny Carswell – JPO – Richmond HITSAnthony Davis – School Resource Officer(SRO) – Chatham Multi-Service Center (MSC)Sequoia Flowers – JPO – Ware HITSLindsey Hall – JPO – Bulloch HITSInvestigator James Hood – Central OfficeErica Lee – JPO – DeKalb HITSJames McGhow – JPO – Fulton HITSShandricka Miller – JPO – Fulton HITS Commissioner Niles, Betsey Wetzel, InvestigatorJasmine Pryor – JPO – Carroll ISP James Hood and John Pearson, Deputy CommissionerKelly Taylor – SRO – Chatham MSC of Secure Campuses 27 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Parents of Youthful Offenders Meet for Focus Group with DJJ StaffAs might be expected, parents have many questions “The conversation was free of labels, judgment orafter their child is taken into custody and more lecture. It was simple, relaxing and educational,”when they are committed to a DJJ facility. DJJ not stated Theo Carter Jr., Assistant Deputy Commissioneronly ensures the safety and security of the youths of Community Services. “Personally, the experiencein its care, but provides a variety of services to the provided me with an opportunity to remember whyyouths, their families and communities – making it I chose community service within juvenile justiceimportant to observe and listen to feedback from over 20 years ago, and I am hopeful we can openthese clients. this type of discussion to others in the field as a re-Moreover, parental involvement is one of the most energizer.”crucial factors of a youth’s rehabilitation. Recently, The roundtable discussion provided a settingsix parents of youthful offenders were invited to to build stronger relationships and help themeet with staff members and executives of DJJ to agency better understand parents’ views of thecomment on their experiences with the agency. juvenile justice system and where improvementsOrganized by Education Coordinator Gail Smith, might be made. Parents pointed out that safetythe roundtable meeting provided an opportunity and education were their greatest concerns forfor DJJ staff to have an open and honest discussion their children. They affirmed the agency is onwith parents. At the beginning of the meeting the the right track for their children and applaudedparents shared information by answering a series the educational opportunities provided to theirof questions regarding initial system encounters, children.their experiences with the staff of DJJ facilities, andexperiences with court and probation services. Thediscussion then shifted to the overall well-being oftheir children, as well as the DJJ education system,healthcare and other topics that the parents wantedto talk about.“The parents felt empowered and we now have a DJJ Assistant Deputy Commissioner Theobetter understanding about what their experiences Carter Jr. and Chaplain Danny Hornehave been and that’s always helpful,” said Smith,“When you hear someone else with the same story,it really helps you feel supported even if you don’thave a direct connection with that person.”28• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice“This event allowed me to understand very clearly see improved within the juvenile justice system.some of the issues that parents and guardians face The main concern among the group was their timewhen their loved ones are placed in DJJ custody. It to bond with their child while in detention. Onemade it clear that we need to do everything in our mother stated, “One of my concerns is the visitationpower to provide additional support and guidance schedule and time. I arrive early on visitation daysto parents and guardians,” stated Keith Jones, but the security check often cuts into our time.”Director of Reentry Services. DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles joined parentsFor their own privacy, and the privacy of their at the roundtable discussion and agreed thatchildren, the parents are not identified in this article family engagement is vital to achieve positiveby name. However, one father stated, “I feel sorry for outcomes for youths in the juvenile justice system.many of the others young men at the YDC where Additionally, he assured them that their childrenmy son is incarcerated. I don’t see their parents or receive every resource available to help make surefamily members visiting, and without that support, they don’t come back into the juvenile justicekids may feel that they have been abandoned.” He system or end up in an adult facility after they turnwent on to say, “From what my son has said, and 21. The Commissioner thanked the parents forfrom what I have observed, the DJJ staff members taking the time to attend and added he would liketake care of the youths and genuinely care for their to see more of these meetings across the state andwell-being. As a parent I am very grateful for that.” to build a stronger partnership with DJJ parents.Additionally, the discussion gave parents the One of the mothers stated, “While I wish that myopportunity to express what they would like to son had never done anything wrong and wasn’t in a DJJ facility, I believe that he is being cared for, he is taking advantage of the educational opportunities that DJJ provides and that his time behind bars will straighten him out going forward.” Collectively, the parents were appreciative of the opportunity to discuss issues with DJJ staff members and believe their children are being well cared for by the agency. The Division of Community Services has plans to work with the Georgia Family Connection Partnership to coordinate additional parent engagement events in the future. 29 • Summer 2017

The DJJ DigestChatham County Judicial-Government-Civic Representatives Tour Augusta YDC Augusta YDC Director Aishia Hunter-Cone (left)A delegation from Chatham County visited the Augusta YDC on April 3 at the request of Chatham CountyJuvenile Court Judge Lisa Colbert (who also serves on the DJJ Board). The visit better informed communitypartners and staff of the Court about the juvenile justice system. Another goal was to improve communityresources for at-risk youth in Chatham County.According to Judge Colbert, “Our goal in working with community stakeholders is to provide more commu-nity-based services for delinquent and/or at-risk children. In addition, we wanted to help those stakehold-ers to understand that confinement should be used only for thosechildren who truly pose a risk to community safety.” Judge Colbertadded, “On behalf of the group, let me thank Commissioner Nilesand the staff of the Augusta YDC for facilitating the visit.”Among the more than 40 people in the delegation were ChathamCounty Juvenile Court judges and staff, members of the ChathamCounty Board of Commissioners, Savannah-Chatham Police De-partment, Chatham District Attorney’s Office, Chatham PublicDefender’s Office, Savannah-Chatham Board of Education, the Cityof Savannah, Savannah-Chatham CASA, Savannah Impact Program,Solidarity Savannah, First African Baptist Church and the CriminalJustice Coordinating Council. Once the visitors from Chatham Coun-ty arrived at the facility, Commissioner Niles provided an overviewof the agency and the role of the YDCs. In addition, DJJ Board mem-bers Willie C. Bolton and Adam Kennedy took part.After the overview, the Commissioner answered a number of ques-tions from members of the group. The visitors then were dividedinto several groups and provided a tour by Aishia Hunter-Cone, thedirector of the facility, and key members of her staff. 30• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeThe Augusta YDC is DJJ’s largest (in terms of acre-age) long-term secure facility, and has an operation-al capacity of 100 young men. It has five living units,a modern dining hall, state-of-the-art educationaland vocational facilities, a gymnasium, an auditori-um, an administrative building and a medical clinic.Among the educational services provided at Augus-ta (and at other YDCs around the state) are middleand high school academic tracks, as well as GED andvocational education opportunities. The vocationaltrade programs offered at Augusta are horticulture,computer applications and construction (in collabo-ration with Augusta Technical College). Transitionalservices focus on career preparation, life skills andemployability preparation.The Augusta YDC offers on-site healthcare services culture needed for all youth to achieve social, emo-for the youth: medication management; sick call tional and academic success. Attention is focused onand urgent care; health education; physical exams; creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), sec-chronic care clinics; laboratory testing and x-ray ser- ondary (classroom) and tertiary (individual) systemsvices; and optometry. Behavioral health services are of support that improve lifestyle results by makingalso provided including screening/trauma screen- targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient anding, assessment, treatment services, crisis interven- relevant, and desired behavior more functional.tion, individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatricservices and suicide prevention.Augusta YDC provides a planned program of recre- Planned and coordinated religious activities areation and leisure activities to maintain good morale, offered. No particular religious faith is endorsed orphysical fitness and leisure-time skills for the benefit required and the YDC offers a variety of religiousof the youths at the facility. materials. In addition, citizen volunteers are involvedIn addition, the YDC utilizes Positive Behavior Inter- in order to provide increased personal contacts forventions and Supports (PBIS), a proactive approach the youths and to assist with their transition backto establishing the behavioral supports and social into the community. 31 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Cobb County Juvenile Court Group Visits Marietta RYDCOn June 6, top administrators and judges from the Restorative Justice Unit - Judicial Program Adminis-Cobb County Juvenile Court were invited to the DJJ trator Carlene Redmond and Rachel Davidson, Cobbsecure facility in Marietta for an official tour and County Office of the Child Advocate.some informal interagency discussion.The Cobb County Court visitors were greeted at theMarietta RYDC by DJJ Assistant Commissioner JoeVignati, Deputy Commissioner of Secure FacilitiesSean Hamilton and DJJ Legislative Affairs DirectorJohn Smith.Members of the Cobb County Juvenile Court judicia- Assistant Commissioner Joe Vignati addressesry included Judge Joanne Elsey, Judge Jeffrey Ham- guests from the Cobb County Juvenile, Judge Amber Patterson and Judge James Whit-field. County Juvenile Court administrators includedClerk of Court Shonell Sfreddo, Director of CourtServices Laura Murphree, Administration Unit - Ju-dicial Program Administrator Josh Weeks, ProbationUnit - Judicial Program Administrator Greg White,32• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeMarietta RYDC Director Selma Calloway Assistant Director of Security Derrick Bell(left-center, black shirt) welcomes guests. demonstrates security protocols.Marietta RYDC Director Selma Calloway and Assis- The group toured GPA classrooms where studentstant Director of Security Derrick Bell officially wel- receive 330 minutes of education every school daycomed the juvenile court visitors by professionally and are held to the same scholastic standards asdemonstrating the strict security protocols and pupils in Georgia’s traditional state schools. Some ofclearance procedures required for every visitor the Cobb visitors were surprised to learn DJJ oper-entering the DJJ facility. ates Georgia’s 181st school district and every courseThe purpose of this visit was to provide members of taught in GPA classrooms throughout the stateCobb County’s Juvenile Court system with an over- meets the same quality education standards pre-view of daily schedules and services for Georgia’s at- pared by the Georgia Department of Education forrisk youth who have been committed to the care and all other schools.custody of DJJ. This overview was accompanied by Cobb juvenile officials were shown how youths com-a brief orientation covering the department’s youth mitted by the courts are assigned separate roomspolicies, procedures and programs. at DJJ to help safeguard their stay. The DJJ Commis- sioner’s top priority is facility management in a manner that ensures each resident is kept safe and secure. RYDCs like the one in Marietta are designed to provide short-term secure care and supervision for young offenders up to the age of 21. 33 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Guests walk through the intake facility at Marietta RYDC.The Marietta RYDC has a population capacity of 70, A scene from an orientation video.including 60 males and 10 females charged withcrimes or adjudicated delinquent and awaiting casedisposition by a juvenile court, or final placement insecure detention or a DJJ treatment program.Cobb juvenile officials toured indoor and outdoorsports, recreation and activity areas before a walkthrough the intake facility. There they learned thateach RYDC is equipped with a medical clinic withnurses present and a physician on standby. DJJyouth receive physical and mental health assess-ments within 72 hours of their arrival and are pro-vided with individual medical services, counselingand emergency dental care.The visitors observed DJJ orientation videos provid-ing essential information for incoming youth aboutcurrent policies, procedures and programs. DeputyCommissioner Sean Hamilton answered questionsabout student services, supervision, daily schedulesand secure care.For those Cobb County Juvenile Court officialswho had not toured the Marietta RYDC before andfor those who hadn’t been inside it lately, the visitprovided fresh insight into many of Georgia’s juve-nile justice reforms at work. DJJ is equipping at-riskyouth with the social, intellectual and emotionaltools they need to achieve successful reentry andreintegration into their community, workplace andneighborhood settings as more productive andlaw-abiding citizens. Guests visit the medical clinic and speak with the doctors and nurses on duty.34• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeDJJ Participates in 2017 National Crime Victims’ Rights WeekSince 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week took place in Georgia at the Athens-Clarke County(NCVRW) has challenged the nation to confront Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS)and remove barriers to full justice for all victims of office, Metro RYDC, Gainesville RYDC, Thomascrime. Each year, communities across the country Jackson Juvenile Justice Center in Macon, Rockdalerevisit the history of the victims’ rights movement, RYDC, Terrell County RYDC, Jeff Davis CSO, Evanscelebrate the progress made and recommit County Courthouse, Bibb MSC and the Savannahthemselves to further advancements. Each April, RYDC.NCVRW showcases achievements in victim rights,including expanded inclusion of victims in the Presentations and Eventscriminal justice system, increasingly visible servicesand recognized rights for all victims and survivors. On April 3, child sex trafficking survivor and activistThe theme for 2017 NCVRW – Strength, Resilience, Keisha Head spoke to the youth of the Macon YDC.Justice – highlights core characteristics of healthy, A nationally recognized speaker and advocate seek-productive individuals and communities. ing the end of all forms of human trafficking, HeadFor the Department of Juvenile Justice, NCVRW is told her personal story of being a victim-turned-sur-a time to support victims in Georgia with positive vivor to help provide a voice for victims who are notresponses at events held around the state. In 2017, able to speak for themselves.DJJ events for NCVRW included Pinwheels ForPrevention, crime victim guest speakers, memorial On April 4, Patty Zeitz, mother of Danny Zeitz, toldservices for crime victims and, new this year, pallet the story of the life and death of her son who waspainting. robbed and murdered by two teens who usedEach event acknowledged that justice reachesoutside the courtroom and that the strength and 35 • Summer 2017resilience of communities depends on confidence inour justice system.In partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Georgia,DJJ participated in statewide Pinwheels forPrevention, raising awareness for the prevention ofchild abuse and neglect. Pinwheels for Prevention

The DJJ DigestCraigslist to lure him into danger. An educator for of the service was a talk by Christy Sims, a survivorover 30 years, Patty Zeitz stressed the importance of a violent domestic attack, who spoke about herof positive mentoring of youth to avoid a lifetime of struggles to overcome the incident and persevere bytragedy in a single moment. bringing awareness of domestic violence to others in her community.Youth at the Marietta RYDC heard about the life and The Henry County Police Department, Henry Countydeath of Bobby Tillman from his mother, Monique Solicitor General Trea Pipkin and the founder of theRivarde. In 2010, Tillman was randomly beaten to Haven House domestic abuse shelter were alldeath by teens outside of a house party in Georgia. recognized during the service.His death, while horrific, has helped raise aware- On April 4, GCCA hosted a Flag Raising Memorialness of the impact of teen violence while informing featuring Fulton County District Attorney Paulour youth that their voices are being heard when it Howard and DeKalb County District Attorney Sherrycomes to bullying and peer anger. Boston. Event attendees stood together as a flag wasDJJ also had a prominent role in a series of memorial raised in remembrance of the 47 children who haveservices for crime victims. Some of the victim recog- died from violence in Fulton and DeKalb counties innition programs held included the McDonough Me- the recent past. As memorial pinwheels were placedmorial Service, the Georgia Center for Child Advoca- on the GCCA grounds, the names of the child victimscy (GCCA) Flag Raising Memorial, the Fulton County were read as a reminder of the damage that childCrime Victims’ Rights Ceremony and the NCVRW abuse causes each and every day.Columbus Memorial Service. On April 7th, Fulton County hosted a Crime Victims’On March 30, the 15th annual McDonough Memori- Rights Ceremony on the Lewis Slaton Courthouseal Service and Law Enforcement Recognition Cere- steps in Atlanta. Participants included the CJCC Vic-mony was held at Shiloh Baptist Church. A highlight tims Compensation Division, Atlanta Legal Aid36• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeSociety, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, The Youth in DJJ facilities also had the chance to re-Tapestries Group, Ahimsa House, GCCA, Grady Rape flect on the importance of NCVRW. Students at theCrisis Center, Georgia State Office of Victim Advocacy DeKalb RYDC made pallets to represent Strength,and DJJ. The ceremony featured the placement of Resilience, Justice – reflecting a vision for the fu-hundreds of pairs of shoes to represent an individ- ture in which all victims are strengthened by theual story of violent crime in the area. Fulton County response they receive, organizations are resilient inDistrict Attorney Paul Howard spoke on the need response to challenges and communities are able tofor community education to help stop violent crime. seek collective justice and healing. After the creationSpeakers and survivors of a wide range of incidents of the pallets, they were donated to either the Geor-including homicide, child sexual abuse and domestic gia Coalition Against Domestic Violence or to Kimyaviolence shared their experiences. Motley, founder of Haven of Light International.Columbus held its 2017 NCVRW Memorial Service For more information on victims services in the USA,on April 8 at its Government Center. Among those visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Servicewho attended were individuals from CJCC Victims (NCJRS) at DJJ’s Office ofCompensation Division, The Tapestries Group, Moth- Victim Services can be found online at http://www.ers Against Drunk Driving, Sexual Assault Support, Rainbow Care Mental Health Counseling Photos from Victim Services Director Latera DavisServices and the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office.Shameika Averett spoke about the loss of her daugh-ter, sister and mother in a triple homicide in 2016. Aremembrance tree was created featuring the place-ment of individual ornaments for each local victim ofcrime the previous year. 37 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Representatives of Special Olympics Recognized at May Board MeetingDJJ Board Chair Elaine Snow, Elena Weaver, Rebecca Walsh and Joe VignatiAssistant Commissioner Joe Vignati and Victim and Nearly $7,500 has been raised this year by DJJ staffVolunteer Services Director Latera Davis welcomed in order for athletes with intellectual disabilities toSpecial Olympics of Georgia (SOGA) representatives participate in the Georgia Special Olympics SummerElena Weaver and Rebecca Walsh to the May DJJ Games. DJJ staff members throughout the stateBoard meeting. They were recognized for their participate in multiple fundraisers and events eachservice and accomplishments. DJJ is a long-time year.partner of the Georgia Special Olympics and The mission of the Special Olympics is to giveenthusiastically raises funds for this worthy cause. children and adults with intellectual disabilitiesSpecial Olympian Elena Weaver is a Level Four the opportunity to participate in year-roundrhythmic gymnast and has won multiple medals sports training and athletic competition in ain state, national and international competitions. variety of Olympic-type sports. This gives themIn addition, she was selected as this year’s torch continuing opportunities to develop physicalbearer for the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joyWeaver also has volunteered over 4,000 hours with and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills andChildren’s Healthcare of Atlanta to assist patients friendship with their families and other Specialand their families in whatever way she can. During Olympics athletes and the community. This year’sthis year’s Special Olympics she placed first in games were held May 19-21 at Emory University inRhythmic Ball and second in Rhythmic Ribbon. Atlanta.DJJ is a law enforcement partner with the Special DJJ was pleased to have Weaver and Walsh visit DJJOlympics. DJJ works closely with SOGA Law and address the Board and Executive Staff. WeaverEnforcement Liaison and Events Manager Rebecca shared her personal experiences with the SpecialWalsh to put on fundraising events like the LETR, Olympics and thanked DJJ staff members for theirPolar Plunge and Cops on Donut Shops. continued support. 38• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeDJJ Participates in the 2017Law Enforcement Torch RunDJJ law enforcement officers and staff recently Representatives from DJJ ran alongside theirparticipated in the 31st annual Law Enforcement fellow officers from the Atlanta Police Department,Torch Run (LETR) to support SOGA. The Final Leg Georgia Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshalsof the LETR took place on May 19 in Atlanta. DJJ Service, MARTA Police Department and otherjoined numerous law enforcement agencies to run agencies.the 5.7 miles from downtown Atlanta to Emory The LETR is the largest fundraiser for SOGA. TheUniversity to assist in the Opening Ceremony held funds raised were used to offset the costs of facilitythat evening. rentals, housing, meals, sports equipment andIn the weeks prior to the final leg of the Torch Run, other expenses needed to put on the State Summerofficers and staff from DJJ also participated in Games. DJJ also sold hats and t-shirts and collectedmultiple Torch Runs across the state in order to raise donations for SOGA.funds for SOGA. These funds allow athletes with The Torch Run concluded at Emory University’sintellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete McDonough Field just in time for the Openingin high-quality sports competitions. Ceremony of the State Summer Games.Hundreds gathered at 9:00 a.m. in Andrew Young Approximately 3,000 athletes participated inSquare for the lighting of the “Flame of Hope” aquatics, flag football, gymnastics, soccer, tabletorch. Special Olympian Elena Weaver served as the tennis, volleyball and tennis in this year’s Special2017 Torch Bearer and spoke at the morning press Olympics.conference along with LETR State Executive ChairJohn Clifton and Atlanta Police Department ChiefErika Shields. 39 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Candler School of Theology Student Counsels and Teaches Music Appreciation to DJJ Youths to provide the same type of mentorship to young black males as he had growing up. In getting to know these young men, Reid discovered that they “possessed an unparalleled hunger for knowledge about a way forward, a way out of their current situation.” Many soon-to-be- released youth expressed their desire to continue with a ministry comparable to Metro’s Chaplaincy Services program. Reid encountered youths who eagerly looked forward to future job prospects and even wanted to start their own businesses. Julian Reid gives youth at Metro RYDC piano He and his colleagues engaged in discussions that lessons. were necessary and liberating for the youth – evenJulian Reid, a rising second-year Masters of Divinity if it meant diverging from the original discussionstudent at the Candler School of Theology at Emory topics. According to Reid, “It was abundantlyUniversity, has spent the last year interning and clear to me that we were participating in sacredvolunteering for Chaplaincy Services at Metro RYDC. encounters.”Reid and his colleagues connected with the facility’s As a semi-professional jazz musician and churchyouth through discussion groups and informal pianist, Reid was delighted to share his love fordormitory visits. music with the youth by teaching group piano lessons. Reid recalled how on one particular day as he was teaching a youth – “S” – how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” another youth –“O” – came from the other side of the room and sat down next to them. O declined to join the lesson but explainedThrough these conversations, Reid and hiscolleagues were able to cover bold topics with theyouth such as self-perception, Black history andpersonal stories and journeys. “We wanted to have‘liberating conversations,’ a term Chaplain DannyHorne [DJJ Director of Chaplaincy Services] coined,”Reid explained. “In doing so, we often wouldhappen upon the spiritual, which was always arich time of encounter with the boys’ own religioussensibilities.”Reid chose to work with youth in the Metro RYDCbecause he wanted a setting different than hisprevious ministry experience working with NewEngland college students. Additionally, he wanted 40• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justicehis reason for coming over was to better hear the Under the direction of Rev. Horne, the partnershipmusic that had soothed his anger. Reid was also between DJJ and Emory University’s Candler Schoolthankful to be able to witness the smile that “S” had of Theology was established in 2015. Horne, athe first time he successfully played the song. Candler graduate himself, had full confidence that“The power of music impacts us in ways words can- students participating in the school’s Contextual Ed-not express. That three-way encounter between S, ucation program would provide exceptional pasto-O and me crystallized in me the much-needed place ral care to the youth population at the Metro RYDC.for music in the lives of these young people, in the Candler’s Contextual Education program aims tolives of us all. I was honored to be a witness to that,” give students the opportunity to use their theologi-said Reid. cal learning in order to hone their ministerial skills in a clinical or social service settingServing in a youth detention center and getting to The inaugural chaplain intern class was comprisedknow the young men who reside there has impact- of 10 students with Horne serving as the site super-ed Reid deeply and exceeded his expectations. “In visor. Reid is in the second class of interns, alongaddition to treasuring their stories in my heart, I with eight other Candler students. They provide di-hope that the youth see the possibility of construct- rect ministry through small group settings and one-ing new worlds though musical expression. It is my on-one conversations. DJJ and the Candler School offervent prayer that the world hears and embraces Theology look forward to continuing this beneficialtheir song and that those boys find who and what partnership and having more students like Julianthey need,” Reid reflected. Reid develop impactful relationships with the youth at Metro RYDC. 41 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Kiwanis Club of Gainesville Honors Local Law Enforcement see. They are people who risk their lives for us daily. I don’t know how they do it, but I am glad they do,”Yarbrough wrote in his column, which is carried statewide (including in the Gainesville Times). Each year, supervisors from law en- forcement agencies that operate in Hall County are asked to submit a nominee and speak on their behalf at the annual luncheon. In recommending JCO Hailey Solomon for the award, Herman Oglesby Jr., Director of the Gainesville RYDC, wrote,JCO Hailey Solomon and DJJ Board member Dick Yarbrough “Officer Solomon stands out in her tenac- ity, dedication and enthusiasm for her duties. Officer Solomon continuouslyOn May 16, six law enforcement officers were hon-ored for their dedication and service by the Kiwanis shows interest and compassion in our youth whileClub of Gainesville. The organization has given the remaining steadfast to security practices and pro-John W. Jacobs Sr. Memorial Award for Excellencein Law Enforcement as part of its Law Enforcement gramming needs. She brings solutions to problems, embraces teamwork and genuinely looks for theAppreciation Program for 20 years. The award is given good out of every situation.”in conjunction with National Police Week and wasoriginally organized by DJJ’s former Director of Inves- Oglesby also wrote, “In addition, Officer Solomontigations Ricky Rich and former Hall County Sheriff finds the time to lend support to her peers, or toDick Mecum. DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles is also counsel a youth during a crisis, prior to the arrivala member of the organization. of professional staff. She exemplifies the mission of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the visionEstablished in 1925, the mission of the Kiwanis Club of Commissioner Avery Niles.”of Gainesville is to serve the children of the world, andto change the world one child at a time. DJJ congratulates the recipients of the 2017 John W. Jacobs Sr. Memorial Award for Excellence inDJJ Board Member Dick Yarbrough served as the Law Enforcement:keynote speaker during the luncheon. Yarbrough haslong admired Gainesville and Hall County for their • JCO Hailey Solomon – Gainesville RYDC • Officer Chase Trammell – Gainesville Police Depart-successful leadership in coordinating the rowing, mentcanoeing and kayaking competitions during the 1996 Deputy Jeremy Cooksey – Hall County Sheriff’sCentennial Olympic Games. He also admires the coun- • Officety’s continuing commitment in recognizing excep- • Trooper First Class Scott Atwood – Georgia Statetional members of the law enforcement community. Patrol, Post 6, Gainesville“These are people who are doing things you and I • Sgt. Luke Minix – Hall County Correctional Institutecouldn’t do and see a side of society we don’t want to • Ranger Chris Kernahan – Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division42• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeDJJ Cares: Mitchell Community Services Office Supports Child Abuse Prevention Month Church of Camilla, Pelham City Hall and Pelham Board of Education.Photos and information provided by JPM Gary Coker National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness strategies and activities and promote prevention across the country.In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month in To learn more about Child Abuse PreventionApril, the Mitchell County Youth Advisory Council Month, visit created and placed gardens made of preventing/preventionmonth/.pinwheels in locations around the county. DJJstaff from the Mitchell Community Services Office(including JPPS II Fredrick Wrenn and JPPS II MolliePollock) participated in the event by helping tocreate the gardens in front of the Mitchell CountyBoard of Education, Camilla City Hall, First Baptist 43 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest 2017 Commissioner’s Challenge Held at Jackson State Prison2017 Commissioner’s Challenge winners from SMRT Team 1 hoist the trophy.On April 21 the Special Operations Unit of the This year’s winners and award recipients include:Division of Secure Campuses and Operations and Commissioner’s Trophy: SMRT Team 1Compliance hosted the Fourth Annual Special 1st Place Overall Team Award: SMRT Team 1Operations Commissioner’s Challenge at Jackson 2nd Place Team Award: HITS SouthState Prison. The competition was held among the 3rd Place Team Award: Eastman YDC SERTDJJ Security Emergency Response Team (SERT), Top Leadership Course Award: SMRT Team 1Special Management Response Team (SMRT) and Top Endurance Award: Sumter YDC SERTHITS teams. The training was a combination of Top Obstacle Course Award: SMRT Team 1leadership skills and physical challenges including Top Tug-of-War Team Award: Eastman YDC SERTobstacle courses, running trails and a competitivetug-of-war.DJJ personnel designed the endurance course and24 trainers from the Office of Training assisted inthe overall scoring of the courses. Ten teams werestaged at three different courses and competedfor the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy, which willbe showcased in the Commissioner’s suite at theDJJ Central Office. The trophy is a symbol of theexcellence in DJJ’s elite Special Operations teamsstatewide.After the teams completed the courses, AssistantCommissioner Keith Horton, Deputy CommissionerSarah Draper, Deputy Commissioner Catina Martin-Fenner, Director Montrail Mitchell and CommanderJesse Dewberry presented the awards. 44• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeWilbert Barrett, SMRT and statewide key control officer,was honored for his 23 years of service to DJJ andcongratulated on his retirement in May.Special thanks to all of the staff and volunteers forplanning and hosting the annual event. Congratulationsto all of the participants and winners! 45 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest The Shoebox Project: DJJ-United Way Statewide Service Learning ProjectDJJ partnered with the United Way of Greater Greater Atlanta to make this new service learningAtlanta to launch a new community service learning project a success.”project for youths in DJJ care. For over 10 years, theUnited Way’s Shoebox Project has brought togetherdonors and volunteers to help those most in need.The Shoebox Project ran from March 1 throughMay 1. During that time, shoeboxes were collectedand filled with toiletries to help underserved men,women and children throughout the 13-countyregion served by the United Way of Greater Atlanta.As part of the service learning project, DJJ youthsparticipated by decorating and filling shoeboxes forthe Shoebox Project. Youths decorated shoeboxeswith uplifting quotes, cartoon characters, sportsteam logos and more. Overall, DJJ facilities andcommunities collected over 300 shoeboxes filledwith toiletries, including toothbrushes, toothpaste,lotion, deodorant, shampoo and lip balm. Last year,the United Way of Greater Atlanta collected morethan 41,000 filled shoeboxes, with a value of morethan $830,000Commissioner Niles stated, “We are proud topartner with the United Way of Greater Atlanta ina program that gave DJJ youths the opportunityto participate in an activity that provides supportand relief to the community. The Office of VolunteerServices worked closely with the United Way of46• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeThe purpose of the service learning project was to engage youths in DJJ secure facilities and CSOs inactivities that benefit local homeless families. Prizes were awarded to the facility that contributed the mostshoe boxes and the most creative shoebox in the categories of YDC, RYDC and CSOs. To learn more aboutthe Shoebox Project and how to donate, visit 47 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest GPA Summer Conference: Real School. Right Here. Right Now. Associate Superintendent Jean Lee addresses conference attendees.DJJ’s Education Division held its annual Professional Learning Meeting at Calloway Gardens in Pine Mountainon June 5-7. Administrators and educators from the division and GPA gathered to discuss future plans,recognize awards and successes and participate in innovative training sessions. The theme of the conferencewas “Teamwork and Transformation: Real School, Right Here, Right Now.”That theme highlights the need todeliver quality education to youth in DJJ facilities.DJJ Commissioner/Superintendent of Schools Avery D. Niles told attendees, “We came together and wewill lead together. Education is first, security takes care of everything else. Every child should have anopportunity to learn. Every child should have the opportunity to engage.” Commissioner Niles also remindedteachers that they not only have to be prepared to teach, but prepared to inspire.Jean Lee also addressed conference attendees. As the recently installed Associate Superintendent, Lee toldteachers, “I am astounded by the dedication and professionalism I have seen to date. Keep up the goodwork!” Her vision for GPA schools includes collective goal setting, increased accountability, and furtherengagement of parents and stakeholders.Arisha Dancy-Mattox was honored as the 2016 DJJ Teacher of the Year. She has spent five years as an English-Language Arts teacher at Aaron Cohn RYDC. Dancy-Mattox works to instill a love of learning in her studentsand strives to boost their self-esteem and confidence. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychologyand certifications in Educational Leadership, Early Childhood, English-Language Arts and Special Education. 48• Summer 2017

Georgia Department of Juvenile JusticeAttendees also participated in a GangAwareness Training session led by RyanFoles of the Coweta County Sheriff’s OfficeCriminal Investigation Division and a DJJwellness education program conductedby Lauren Gean, Chief of Nutrition andFood Services.Winifred Pierce introduced the Dr. Earle Suttle and DJJ Commissioner/Superintendent ofconference’s keynote speaker, Dr. Earl Schools Avery D. Niles pose for a photo.Suttle. A speaker who motivates leaders,Dr. Suttle has worked with Fortune 500companies, corrections organizations,government and healthcare workers,educators and athletes. He toldattendees to continue their professionaldevelopment and to not only teach theirstudents but to lead them as well.GPA is Georgia’s 181st school district and serves students in 26 secure facilities and three ETCs around thestate. GPA abides by Commissioner Niles’ philosophy of “Each one reach one, teach one and keep one.” 49 • Summer 2017

The DJJ Digest Division of Community Services’ Holds Professional Development CourseDJJ’s Division of Community Services held a profes- The PDC was attended by 174 representatives fromsional development course (PDC) May 1-3 in Young community offices, re-entry services, residential andHarris. With “The One Team Approach” as the course aftercare services and Central Office. Those who at-motto, the goals over the three-day period were to tended and completed the program received creditincrease staff engagement, facilitate team-building for 16 training hours. Workshop presentations wereand for attendees to gain knowledge and skills from facilitated by the division, the Finance Office, Officethe numerous workshops offered. of Victim Services, Division of Support Services,“As our theme indicated, we are one team embrac- Office of Training, Carl Vinson Institute-UGA, Univer-ing change and striving to improve outcomes for sity of Connecticut, Georgia Family Connections andyouth and families. We need positive morale, staff Guide, Inc.empowerment and strong leadership to be success-ful. As leaders within the Division of CommunityServices, we must support and uplift each other andour colleagues regularly,” said Deputy CommissionerCatina Martin-Fenner.Commissioner Avery D. Niles gave the keynoteaddress in which he stressed the importance ofteamwork and reminded attendees to “see the faceof a child before you see their file.”The division alsoreceived updates on the state’s juvenile justice re-forms.50• Summer 2017

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