District Ten News: Thomasville Anti-Bullying Event
Story support by JPM Gary Coker
On October 20th and 21st, the Thomas County Sheriff's Office and Boston Police Department hosted the Second Annual Anti-Bullying Program at Thomas County Middle School in Thomasville. The Department of Juvenile Justice (with the assistance of many of its District Ten employees) was a proud participant in helping to educate local youth on the importance of stopping bullying in its tracks.
As part of the two-day program, local students and citizens were able to experience first-hand the excitement of Southeastern Wrestling Association (SWA) matches live. The theme of the matches and the overall program was simple: students should stand up against bullying by telling a teacher, principal or law enforcement officer if they see someone being bullying firsthand.
SRO Lelia Spires, JPM Gary Coker, WWE Teddy Long, JPPS III Dawn Smith, WWE Ron Simmons
Thomas County School Resource Officer Lelia Spires and Boston Police Chief Jimmy Peeples teamed up to provide the students with helpful information to make reporting bullying easier. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famers Ron Simmons and Teddy Long were in attendance for the matches and program as well as NFL stars Ray Drew, Myron Guyton, Danny Copeland and Jessie Small. Juvenile Program Manager Gary Coker and Juvenile Probation/Parole Specialist Dawn Smith also showed their spirit and support of the anti-bullying message.
SWA Wrestling's Hardway Brothers standing up to bullies
Special thanks to Boston Police Chief Jimmy Peoples and SWA Wrestling (https://facebook.com/SWAWrestling) for the event entertainment.
To learn more on how you can stop bullying in your community, visit www.stopbullying.gov.
CJI Report: Implementing Juvenile Justice System Improvement in Georgia
The Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) at Community Resources for Justice strives to make criminal and juvenile justice systems more efficient and cost effective and to promote accountability for outcomes.
In 2012, Georgia embarked on comprehensive juvenile justice improvement to reduce out-of-home placements, protect public safety, reduce costs, and improve outcomes for youth. By May 2013, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law a set of policies designed to improve youth outcomes in the juvenile justice system. The policies were expected to save $85 million over five years by ensuring placement in youth facilities was reserved only for youth adjudicated for the most serious offenses. Those savings would, in turn, be reinvested to bolster evidence-based programs in the community through a Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program.
Recently, the CJI released a report on the key outcomes from Georgia’s Incentive Grant Programs. These key outcomes show the fruits of Georgia's efforts in improving their juvenile justice system.
Georgia Receives an NCJA Outstanding Program Award for the Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program
The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), is pleased to announce that Georgia has been awarded a National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) Outstanding Program Award for the Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program (JJIG). On August 2, 2017, Georgia juvenile justice leaders accepted the award during the Criminal Justice Forum on behalf of Governor Nathan Deal. The JJIG is operated by CJCC and the JJIG Funding Committee, but derives its success from the many partnerships and the hard work of local governments, courts, service providers, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform, and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
In 2012, Governor Nathan Deal charged Georgia’s Council on Criminal Justice Reform with studying Georgia’s juvenile justice system. The ensuing report found approximately 95 percent of youth in Georgia’s secure juvenile facilities were in long-term placements and nearly two-thirds of the budget for DJJ was used to operate out-of-home facilities, which can cost more than $90,000 per bed per year. Despite these expenditures, more than half of the youth in the juvenile justice system were re-adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a criminal offense within three years of release. Per the recommendations of the report, following the 2013 legislative session, Governor Deal signed into law House Bill 242, landmark legislation that would improve Georgia’s juvenile justice system. At that time, Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly appropriated resources to CJCC for the purpose of creating the JJIG.
The goal of the JJIG was to create effective community-based programs as alternatives to out-of-home placements for juvenile offenders. By reserving out-of-home placements for serious, high-risk offenders and reinvesting savings into community evidence-based programs (EBPs), Georgia is able to increase public safety, reduce recidivism and promote positive relationships between youth, their families and their community.
The JJIG was implemented in late 2013, and provided 29 juvenile courts spanning 49 counties with grants to implement EBPs. Today the Grant serves counties housing over 60 percent of the at-risk population, and all other Georgia counties are eligible for EBPs through DJJ.
Since the JJIG was implemented, Georgia has reduced out-of-home placements by over 50% in Incentive Grant recipient counties compared to the 2012 baseline. During the first year of the JJIG, 1,122 youth were served through EBPs, and by the third year, the number of youth served had increased to 1,723 youth, for a total of 4,511 youth served in those three years. In addition, the overall graduation rate for youth in the JJIG program was 62 percent, with some EBPs seeing rates up to 85 percent.
Governor Nathan Deal was pleased to learn Georgia had received the award. “Georgia has achieved monumental success in juvenile justice reform in recent years and continues to lead the nation with meaningful criminal justice reform," Deal said. "This national honor is a reflection of not only our efforts this far but our unwavering commitment to increasing public safety for our state and our citizens through a more effective justice system.”
Because of the many partnerships that have gone into building the JJIG and youth who have been positively impacted, Georgia was both honored and proud to accept an Outstanding Program Award from the NCJA.
To learn more, visit the CJCC website at https://cjcc.georgia.gov/.
From August 30th through September 1st, the Georgia Juvenile Services Association (GJSA) held its 46th Annual Training Summit at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto. The purpose of this summit was to create networking opportunities for Georgia juvenile services workers to learn and implement best practices in juvenile delinquency prevention, supervision, treatment and rehabilitation. The Department of Juvenile Justice is a proud partner of GJSA and was a sponsor of the 2017 GJSA Conference.
Aside from the informative training and updates, the 2017 GJSA Summit also offered its attendees the chance to say "thank you" to many of their fellow employees through the presentation of special annual awards. Among the many award winners for 2017 included:
Gail Hilley Award: Angelous Boykin
Outstanding Facility Worker: Katrina Zilliner
Outstanding Community Worker: Latoya Gibbons
Harold K. Ables Award: Judge Sandra Miller
Gail Hilley Award winner Angelous Boykin
Outstanding Facility Worker Katrina Zilliner
Outstanding Community Worker Latoya Gibbons
Harold K. Ables Award winner Judge Sandra Miller
Judge Sandra Miller was this year's winner of the Harold K. Ables award, presented by GJSA to an outstanding worker in the field of Juvenile Justice in Georgia. It is awarded in memory of Harold K. Ables (1931-1968), who contributed to the founding of GJSA, and represents the dedicated service and high ideas he held. Ables spent 11 years with the Floyd County Juvenile Court where he served as a Chief Probation Officer and Referee. Ables' sincere interest and concern for his fellow man was seen through his work with the youth of his community and church and he was a strong believer in the worthwhile work done through the juvenile courts in our state. His work in the formation of GJSA was born of his interest in bringing together those working in the field of juvenile justice in Georgia to study and improve services rendered to the youth of the state.
Congratulations to all of the Department of Juvenile Justice award winners at the 2017 GJSA Training Summit. To learn more about the Georgia Juvenile Services Association, visit them on the web at http://www.gjsa.us/.
PBIS at DJJ: Elbert Shaw RYDC Employee of the Month Greg Cooper
Photo and information provided by Lt. Kristen Nix
Recently, the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center (Elbert Shaw RYDC) announced that Sergeant Greg Cooper of Community Services and Intake was named the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Employee of the Month for the facility. The PBIS Employee of the Month award is open to all in fields of Safety & Security, Medical, Counselors, Mental Health, Education, Food Service, Maintenance, Business, Personnel, Support Staff and Administration.
To become the PBIS Employee of the Month at the Elbert Shaw RYDC, employees must:
Possess a positive attitude towards work responsibilities, co-workers, youth and be willing to serve as a role model for others.
Show a willingness to exercise servant-leadership, take initiative and accept and carry out additional responsibilities beyond the regular job assignments for the good of DJJ.
Be consistent, dependable and punctual in reporting for duty.
According to his co-workers and supervisors, Sergeant Cooper is "one of the most dedicated employees in the building. He really cares about doing his job to the best of his ability. He is focused on caring for the youth in the Elbert Shaw RYDC and tries to help them learn things that can keep them from coming back to the facility. He will help anyone to do anything if asked and is determined to make sure that the facility is run in a well-organized manner. He lifts people up instead of pushing them down and is very dependable. Thank you for all that you do, Sergeant Cooper."
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 23,000 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 the school climate for all students.
To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/pbisatdjj/.