DJJ Faith and Community Alliance Meeting Meets in Dawson DJJ Staff  at:  6/12/2017  
DJJ Faith and Community Alliance Meets in Dawson

In concert with the ribbon-cutting at its new Terrell County Regional Youth Development Center (RYDC), the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) held its initial Faith and Community Alliance meeting in Dawson, the county seat of Terrell County.

DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles, other DJJ staff and community leaders took part in the meeting, which was held at the Robert Albritten Neighborhood Service Center on October 3.

Commissioner Niles addresses attendees at the Terrell County Faith and Community Alliance meeting

Interested members of the Terrell County community chat prior the the Faith and Community Alliance meeting

Pataula Chief Superior Court Judge Joe C. Bishop makes a point to DJJ Commissioner Niles

Commissioner Niles takes part in an interview a local television station

Commissioner Niles addresses attendees at the Terrell County Faith and Community Alliance meeting

DJJ Assistant Commissioner Keith Horton (left) speaks with Pataula Chief Superior Court Judge Joe C. Bishop

The alliance meeting focused on building support among local community and faith partners in order to strengthen the state juvenile justice system’s outreach to young offenders from Terrell County and the Southwest Georgia area. Similar alliances at other DJJ facilities have generated positive impacts on the lives of youth who are in DJJ care at one of its 26 secure facilities located across the state.

Ministers, community leaders and those interested in making a positive change in the lives of local young people were urged to attend the hands-on opportunity to help develop effective strategies for increasing the success of those youth in DJJ’s care. The activities undertaken by members of the alliance help the youth during their incarceration and also help create safer communities for the long-term.

Commissioner Niles addresses attendees at the Terrell County Faith and Community Alliance meeting

Pataula Chief Superior Court Judge Joe C. Bishop takes notes during the Alliance meeting

Deputy Commissioner Joe Vignati address the Terrell County Faith and Community Alliance attendees

DJJ's Cathy Smith-Curry served as the master of ceremonies during the meeting

DJJ Chaplain Danny Horne describes opportunities for service to attendees

DJJ Chief of Staff Mark Sexton makes a point to meeting attendees

State Representative Gerald Greene and Commissioner Niles discuss the Terrell County RYDC with meeting attendees

Going forward, DJJ hopes to obtain commitments from local churches and community groups to help address the following concerns: teaching parenting and counseling skills classes for youth and parents; providing character development instruction at the local DJJ facility; developing mentoring programs for DJJ youth at churches and community organizations; and establishing re-entry assistance for youth returning to Terrell County and surrounding communities.

For ministers, pastors and/or leaders of community organizations who were unable to attend, DJJ Chaplain Danny Horne can be contacted at 404-508-6500 (office) or 404-295-0057 (cell).

News media covering the meeting

Pataula Chief Superior Court Judge Joe C. Bishop addresses attendees at the Faith and Community Alliance meeting

Following the meeting, attendees discuss the topics that were raised

Attendees discussing meeting topics after the meeting

Pastor Frederick Murray of the First Brownwood Baptist Church (holding material) was a featured participant during the Faith and Community Alliance meeting



     The Teske Model: Evaluating a Judge-Led Approach to Eliminating School Pathways to Juvenile Justice System DJJ Staff  at:  6/12/2017  

The Teske Model: Evaluating a Judge-Led Approach to Eliminating School Pathways to Juvenile Justice System

A report from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) presents the results of an evaluation of its judge-led model that aims to keep youth in school and out of court. According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Social Change, the NCJFCJ studied the use of the intervention at 16 sites across the country. Each location received technical assistance to start a cooperative effort that would bring together parties around reforming school discipline practices that often lead to greater involvement in the juvenile justice system.

This judge-led model is dubbed the “Teske model” for the Honorable Steven C. Teske, the Georgia judge who helped pioneer the use of judicial authority to convene stakeholders around dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

Teske is an active member of the DJJ Judicial Advisory Council. He is the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County and serves regularly as a Superior Court Judge by designation. He was appointed a juvenile judge in 1999. Teske earned his Bachelor's, Master's and Juris Doctor degrees from Georgia State University. He was a Chief Parole Officer in Atlanta, Deputy Director of Field Services for the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, and a trial attorney in the law firm of Boswell & Teske, LLP. He also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases and representing state employees and agencies in federal and state court cases. Teske is a past president of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges and in addition to his appointment to the DJJ Judicial Advisory Council he has been appointed by the Governor to the Children & Youth Coordinating Council, Commission on Family Violence and the Governor's Office for Children and Families. He has written articles on juvenile reform published in Juvenile and Family Law Journal, Juvenile Justice and Family Today, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, and the Georgia Bar Journal. He serves his community in numerous other capacities including as past president of the Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity and is currently on its advisory board.

The NCJFCJ evaluation assessed changes in attitudes and behaviors toward a reform of school disciplinary practices using a collaborative model and the change in the number of suspensions, expulsions and referrals to juvenile court at those sites.

However, the evaluation also experienced significant challenges with data collection. Though half of the sites provided some data on referrals to the juvenile justice system, only one was able to offer accurate and complete information. As a result, it was not possible to know if the convening of stakeholders at the 16 sites resulted in lower numbers of suspensions, expulsions or referrals to the juvenile justice system. Evaluators also were unable to determine any changes in practice or outcomes potentially associated with the intervention. The report further discussed the process component of the evaluation and the challenges with data collection for the outcome component of the evaluation. Recommendations for future research and purposeful data collection in this area are presented. Several relevant barriers to data collection were identified: varying definitions of referrals across different systems; confusion about the original source of some referrals; insufficient context for data around the school discipline records; inflexible data systems; and a greater need for cross-agency partnerships.

To read the NCJFCJ report in its entirety, visit





     October 2016 Central Office Employee of the Month: Maryam Favors DJJ Staff  at:  6/12/2017  

Congratulations to Maryam Favors -- Selected Central Office Employee of the Month for October 2016!

The Employee of the Month nominations committee is pleased to announce that Ms. Maryam K. Favors has been selected as the employee of the month for October 2016.

Ms. Favors is the Administrative Assistant for the Community Division, and may be best known for her cheerful demeanor and infectious laugh. Her customer service skills set a high bar for all employees, and the Division has been greatly impacted by her professionalism and willingness to help others. Using her years of experience and wealth of knowledge, she has played an instrumental role in the Division’s ability to maintain a high level of coordination and structure. We admire her ability to manage the fast pace needs of the Division’s leadership, easily adapt to changes when required, and to maintain her pleasant demeanor. When required and without complaint, Ms. Favors will adjust her plans to work on new activities that require immediate attention or work late to complete projects. She consistently seeks ways to grow as an employee with DJJ and to use her skills to help the Division press forward with the mission and vision.

Ms. Favors retired from employment with the DeKalb County Juvenile Court in 2010, joined DJJ as a part‐time employee in 2011, and became full time with the Community Division in 2015. We are grateful to Ms. Favors for her temperament, organization, and work ethic.

Congratulations Ms. Favors. You Rock!

The Employee of the Month Committee

DJJ’s Employee of the Month Recognition Program
– How Nominees Are Selected

Beginning January 2015, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice kicks-off its first “Employee of the Month” program for Central Office employees. Names of nominees are selected by the DJJ Executive Team from members of their units or divisions and submitted to be recognized as the Central Office Employee of the Month. Included with the nomination is a one page write-up detailing why the staff member should be given consideration to be selected Employee of the Month.

Then each month, the Nomination Committee makes their selection for the employee to receive public appreciation the following month. The written nomination is reviewed and signed by Commissioner Avery D. Niles and posted for public recognition on the DJJ “News & Views” website. Each nominee selected by the committee will be recognized at a monthly DJJ Board Meeting and entitled to use the Employee of the Month parking space reserved at Central Office.

The DJJ Central Office Employee of the Month award is intended to recognize and support those stand-out DJJ team members who bring additional motivation, determination and vigor to the workplace through their personal ethics, advocacy, positive attitudes and innovative solutions to impact the professional challenges faced by their dedicated colleagues and the troubled youth they serve.





     DJJ in the Lead: Recent Graduates of the Command College Performance Management Program DJJ Staff  at:  6/12/2017  
DJJ in the Lead: Recent Graduates of the Command College Performance Management Program

Story and Photos by Lisa Kenn of the Office of Communications

The Georgia Department of Corrections and Columbus State University honored 69 graduates of the Professional Management Program (PMP) in Criminal Justice on August 24th at the State Offices South at Tift College Roberts Chapel. Among the graduates were two of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice’s finest – Special Operations Lieutenant William Belflower and Metro Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) Associate Director of Security Monique Brandenburg. They completed the 400-hour certification program over the course of two years while maintaining their full-time responsibilities at DJJ.

Lieutenant Belflower and Associate Director Brandenburg

The Professional Management Program in association with Columbus State University serves as an “advanced school” for public safety personnel, bringing together leaders in corporate and public management to provide public safety officers with intense training in management theory and practice. Belflower found the leadership instruction modules to be exceptionally eye-opening saying, “I benefited tremendously from these modules. The fact that you had so many different supervisors/managers in your class and each had a different take on how to supervise/manage was a tremendous benefit as to insight on what they encounter compared to what you encounter. The discussion and class participation/instructor interaction was excellent.”

Department of Corrections Assistant Commissioner/Chief of Staff Greg Dozier

To participate in the PMP certificate courses applicants must be nominated by the head of their public safety agency and be accepted by Columbus State University. Brandenburg expressed her initial unease at entering a classroom setting, but also said that “the majority of the classes gave me a better appreciation for the tasks my security staff/management team do, day in and day out.” Brandenburg also found that “Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and also to be able to lead, you must first know how to follow.”

Associate Director Brandenburg receiving her certificate

Both graduates hinted that this ceremony was only the beginning of their journey down a path of continuing their education and professional improvement. For Belflower it means completing a plan put aside 20 years ago. “Obtaining this certificate has pushed me to complete my bachelor’s degree… Since completing the certificate program, I am currently enrolled at Columbus State University and will complete my bachelor’s degree in 2018. Once I earn that I plan to immediately enroll in Command College through Columbus State University.” Brandenburg summed it up by stating, “Graduation was part one of many that are to come… the sky is the limit.”

The DJJ family congratulates Lt. Belflower and Associate Director Brandenburg on this unique and exciting accomplishment!




     DJJ in the Community: Rockdale RYDC School Supply Drive DJJ Staff  at:  6/12/2017  
DJJ in the Community: Rockdale RYDC School Supply Drive

Story support and photos from Rockdale RYDC Volunteer Resources Coordinator Staci Hill

Recently, the Rockdale Regional Youth Detention Center (Rockdale RYDC) sponsored a back-to-school supply drive for deserving students at the Clements Middle School in Covington. Over 175 school supply items including pencils, pens, books, crayons and rulers were donated by the Rockdale RYDC staff. Youth involved in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program also participated in this community service program by helping to decorate the school supply collection boxes that were placed in locations around the area.

Rockdale RYDC staff Lt. Bithiah Prather, Ashanti Jefferson and Staci Hill meet with Clements Middle School Guidance Counselor Tiphanie Dean

Clements Middle School 7th Grade Class Representatives

Staff members of the Rockdale RYDC in front of the collected school supplies

The Department of Juvenile Justice would like to thank the staff and youth at the Rockdale RYDC who helped make this year's school supply drive a huge success. For more information about DJJ's PBIS program, visit





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