The Secure Campuses Division and the Office of Reentry Services partnered on "Shop with a Cop." This program gave youth in DJJ custody who are parents an opportunity to go shopping and gift their children with a special toy for Christmas. The youth traveled to Wal-Mart with SMRT officers to select a Christmas gift for their children on Monday, December 19.
This program is part of the Parenthood Program that the Office of Reentry Services has developed to support DJJ youth who are parents. Eleven youth participated from the Atlanta Youth Development Campus (YDC), Macon YDC and Sumter YDC.
Wal-Mart gift cards were donated from faith organizations that are part of the Faith and Community Alliance and DJJ staff. The gifts were wrapped and presented during Christmas visitation.
Atlanta YDC Bruno Silva-Lima Malik Hightower Jaquile Williams Jonathan Kappler Nathaniel Clack
Macon YDC Georgeann Russell
Sumter YDC Aramani Hickson Michael Burse Joseph Osborne
DJJ in the Community: Gwinnett County Victims of Crime Candlelight Vigil
On December 8th, the Department of Juvenile Justice was a proud participant in the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office Victims of Crime Candlelight Vigil in Lawrenceville. Hosted by Gwinnett County District Attorney (and former DJJ Board Member) Danny Porter, the Victims of Crime Candlelight Vigil brought together crime survivors, families and their friends as they lit candles in remembrance of those individuals impacted directly by crime. DJJ Chief of Staff Mark Sexton and the Victim Services staff including Director Latera Davis, Lalita Appling, Loronda Giddens and Sara Gardner all participated in this moving ceremony recognizing that the effects of crime last beyond the physical act.
DJJ Victim Services staff member Sara Gardner meets with some local citizens at the Vigil
DJJ Victim Services staff member Loronda Giddens at the Vigil
During the ceremony, Jenene Craig, widow of Keith Woods, read a memorial poem during the start the lighting of the candles of each participant during the vigil. Candice Pitman and Ben Hayes of the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office took turns reciting the names of local victims as a bell tolled after each name. Jay Neal of the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and State Senator Renee Unterman also attended to show their support personally, professionally and legislatively.
DJJ Chief of Staff Mark Sexton talks with Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley
Gwinnett County Public Safety Honor Guard
The Department of Juvenile Justice created an Office of Victim Services to help individuals deal with the loss and stress that often accompanies an act of crime. For more information on the emotional and financial support available to crime victims, visit www.djjnewsandviews.org/victimservices.
Leadership Summit Series: Implementing PREA and Sustaining Culture Change through Leadership
The Summit is being hosted by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and The Moss Group. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, PREA Demonstration Grant Award #2014RP-BX-0031.
On December 12 through 14, 2016, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice along with The Moss Group helped host the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance Leadership Summit Series: Implementing PREA and Sustaining Culture Change through Leadership. This summit event, the fourth held by the Department of Justice, has grown from four states to six states located in the southern region of the United States.
The idea behind the creation of the summits originated when Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards had just been introduced to the field and leaders recognized the value of networking and sharing ideas and resources to better implement PREA. However, leaders also recognized that critical conversations were needed on how leadership and culture can support PREA to fully meet the intent of the law, which is sexual safety. The authors of the final rule in which the PREA standards were published officially also recognized this fact and included in the final rule an insightful statement to support this notion:
“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. Effective leadership and culture cannot, of course, be directly mandated by rule. Yet, implementation of the standards will help foster a change in culture by institutionalizing policies and practices that bring these concerns to the fore.” – DOJ Final Rule
The path for success with PREA depends on juvenile justice practitioners and state agency leaders fostering conditions that support zero tolerance, safety and reporting cultures to fulfill the role in PREA implementation. The Leadership Summit Series aims to provide tools, knowledge and networks to support leaders in these efforts.
Regarding the Leadership Summit Series, DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles stated that “our team at DJJ, along with The Moss Group, has worked hard to provide attendees with a program that targets critical issues in juvenile justice specific to sexual safety and PREA, along with leadership and cultural issues faced by leaders in operating agencies. The Leadership Summit Series allows for us all to have the critical conversations needed beyond the PREA checklist.”
The 2016 Leadership Summit Series featured an outstanding lineup of informative speakers including:
• Josh Delaney of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division speaking on "The Future of PREA" • Cherie Townsend of The Moss Group speaking on the reduction of isolation in confinement settings • Dr. Reginal Wilkinson, Chair of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Review Panel on Prison Rape, discussed transformational leadership • Latera Davis of DJJ, Anne Seymour, Nathan Whiteman and Tyrone Dennis chaired a panel on using a victim-centered approach to high-risk youth • Mike Dempsey, Executive Director of the Council of Correctional Juvenile Administrators, gave the keynote speech on the critical role leadership and culture play in effective juvenile justice agencies
To learn more about the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, visit it on the web at https://www.bja.gov/ . The Moss Group can be found online at http://www.mossgroup.us/ .
Story support and photos from Janette Nihles, Betty Brown-Williams and Veronica Garlic
Last month, the Muscogee Youth Development Campus (Muscogee YDC) held its Annual Fall Festival on its facility grounds. Part of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, more than 30 youth were rewarded for recent exemplary behavior with the chance to participate in miniature golf, musical chairs, hop scotch, a marshmallow and spaghetti competition, a basketball shoot-out, bowling, ping pong, a long jump competition and a three-legged race. Staff from throughout the facility contributed to the Fall Festival as either volunteers or active participants in the games and activities.
Events such as the Fall Festival are an important part of the PBIS program at DJJ. PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. More than 19,000 U.S. schools are implementing PBIS and saving countless instructional hours otherwise lost to discipline. The premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behavior will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS schools apply a multi-tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behavior analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve school climate for all students.
To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj/.
Story support and photos from SE Regional Administrator Rusty Rodgers
Recently, the Laurens Community Services Office (Laurens CSO) organized a canned food drive for deserving families in middle Georgia. Led by JPPS Chataura Poole, full Thanksgiving meals were provided to local area residents in need. DJJ youth helped the Laurens CSO team bag the items and take them to recipients' homes. Extra items collected during this food drive will be combined for delivery during the upcoming holiday season in December.
The Laurens CSO Food Drive is in keeping with the tradition at the Department of Juvenile Justice to lend a helping hand to those in need in our local communities. Similar programs and food drives have been organized under the Restock the Shelves '16 umbrella. Restock the Shelves ‘16 is an opportunity for the Department and its employees to help local food banks replenish their supplies prior to the busy holiday and winter seasons. All donated items will stay in the area where collected to maximize the benefit in the community. To learn more about Restock the Shelves '16, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/restocktheshelves/.