DJJ Career Opportunities: Views from the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Job Fair DJJ Staff  at:  9/10/2013  


On September 5th, the Department of Juvenile Justice participated with the Georgia Department of Labor in the 3rd Annual Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Labor of Love Job Fair. Held at Turner Field's Gold Lot in Atlanta, the Labor of Love Job Fair aimed at connecting job seekers with potential employers and equipping them with the skills to compete in the labor market.

SMRT Officer Jesse Dewberry assists potential applicants

SMRT Officer Jesse Dewberry, HR Recruiter Melissa Jackson, and Program Coordinator Lalita Appling assist potential applicants

DJJ Career Fair Booth

Several thousand potential employees attended the Labor of Love Job Fair looking to gain employment in several different fields. Recruiters from the Department of Juvenile Justice directly spoke with approximately three hundred of the attendees.

Program Coordinator Lalita Appling and HR Recruiter Melissa Jackson speak to potential job applicants

The DJJ Facility Security Staff providing information to a potential applicant

SERT Officer Cory Jones and the Facility Security Staff at the Labor of Love Job Fair

A Facility Security staff member reviews a potential candidate's work application to DJJ

For more information on starting your career at the Department of Juvenile Justice, visit us online at For the latest job openings at DJJ, go to Special thanks to Statewide Security Risk Group Coordinator Monique Brandenburg for the photos and for her work with this career fair.





     DJJ in the Community: Road to the Ring DJJ Staff  at:  9/5/2013  


The following is a news article and story about the Road to the Ring Charity Wrestling event that took place in Dalton in August and included Dalton RYDC JCO I Dwayne Smith. The Road to the Ring Charity Wrestling Event was held to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project , a nonprofit organization whose works to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. Even though JCO Smith has never been a wrestler, he won both matches during this two night event against WWE/TNA Superstar Luke "D.O.C." Gallows. JCO Smith participated to honor the men and women in the military "who fight for us, so why not fight for them?"

Special thanks to the Dalton Daily Citizen for their coverage and Reporter Jamie Jones.....


Northwest graduate trains hard to raise money for injured military veterans

Professional wrestling is fake.

Wrestlers never really get hurt.

Don’t tell that to Dalton resident Dwayne Smith.

More specifically, don’t tell that to his nose.

During the past several months while training for a charity wrestling match, Smith has been dealt a myriad of bumps and bruises. Smith counts his broken nose from a leg drop gone wrong as his most painful injury.

His nose has since healed.

The hours spent sweating in the gym, the time spent being slammed on a wrestling ring and the agony of a busted nose are minor speed bumps on Smith’s “Road to the Ring.” That’s because proceeds from the event benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services to severely injured service members as they transition to civilian life.

Although Smith never served in the armed forces — neither did his father or grandfather — he has several friends who are military veterans.

“I’ve got a lot of friends who have the post-traumatic syndrome and it’s hard for them to find jobs,” said Smith, a 2001 graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School. “My way to help them out is through the Wounded Warrior Project. They help them find jobs, they help them when they get low. I’ve seen how hard the transition is from the in-service life to the civilian life. It took its toll on me and I couldn’t think of anything better to do than give back this way.”

“Road to the Ring” begins Friday at 7 p.m. at Renegade Championship Wrestling in Chatsworth. There will be a special ceremony for military veterans at 7:30, with wrestling action following. During the main event Friday night, Smith will climb through the ropes to face Luke Gallows (also known as D.O.C.), a former wrestler with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment, in the main event. The fundraiser continues Saturday at 7 p.m. with more wrestling matches. Smith will not wrestle Saturday, but he will be in another wrestler’s corner.

In addition to several area wrestlers on the card, former WWE wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts is expected to attend both nights. There will also be an auction for autographed wrestling memorabilia and a raffle. Tickets each night are $6 for ages 10 and older, $3 for ages 5-9, with children 4 and younger admitted free.

Before beginning his wrestling odyssey, Smith had never competed in a match. During his junior year of high school he applied for a wrestling school but was turned down, so he has had the desire to perform for years. He’s a “lifelong” wrestling fan and fondly recalls watching programs with his late grandfather. Smith counts “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Sting and The Rock (movie star Dwayne Johnson) as his favorite wrestlers.

“My favorite part is just the showmanship,” Smith said. “You’ve got these huge guys who go in there no matter whether they get booed or get cheered, they give it 110 percent. They’re taking so much time away from their families. The fact that they’re going in there and putting on these great matches, then walking to the back and they’re best friends, it just blows my mind. I absolutely love it.”

Smith admits his wrestling training, which began in January, has been “rough.” Although he has watched wrestling for years, the training aspect was not what he expected. He works out at a gym five days a week while spending two to three hours training in the ring one night a week. That’s on top of a full-time job and raising a family.

“Growing up all the time you hear ‘That’s fake, that’s fake,’” Smith said. “Until you get in the ring and know what the guys go through, you can sit there and call it fake all day long, but until you get in there and get hit with a clothesline, with an elbow or anything like that, you realize it’s not fake.”

In real life, Smith works for the state Department of Juvenile Justice at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center in Dalton. Over the weekend, Gallows — the 6-foot-8-inch, 300-pound wrestler — will speak to the children at the YDC.

“Growing up, I was probably one fight away from being in that place,” Smith said. “What I tell them is you never know what you can accomplish until you apply yourself to do it. I never would have imagined I would have the life I have, if I had not worked my rear end off to get it.”




     View from DJJ's Inaugural Statewide Chiefs of Security Meeting DJJ Staff  at:  8/26/2013  

View from DJJ's Inaugural Statewide Chiefs of Security Meeting

On August 23rd, the Department of Juvenile Justice held its inaugural Statewide Chiefs of Security Meeting at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth.

The Statewide Chiefs of Security Meeting was the first of its kind for the Department of Juvenile Justice and proved to be a popular event. Representatives from all twenty-eight secure facilities across the state attended this training seminar to network and receive training on the latest techiniques available in the juvenile justice field.

Based on success of this inaugural training, the Statewide Chiefs of Security Meeting will become a quarterly event for all Chiefs of Security in the Division of Secure Facilities.

Among the DJJ leadership that attended this inaugural meeting included:

DJJ Chief of Staff Mark Sexton
Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper
Director of Training Theo Carter
Director of Special Operations Amy Fortner
Program Coordinator Monique Brandenburg
SMRT Commander William Belflower,
Classification Director Lisa Casey-Bryson
Regional Administrator Debbie Alexander
Regional Administrator Ronnie Richardson
Regional Administrator Corey Butler
Regional Administrator Martha Dalesio

Speakers at the meeting emphasized the importance of positive leadership, accountability, consistent standards, gang awareness, and successful security standards as part of the strategy to help DJJ move forward to provide the best possible service to the youth in its care as well as to all citizens of the State of Georgia.

If you or someone you know wants to become part of the Department of Juvenile Justice Team that encourages leadership and teamwork through such programs as the State Chiefs of Security Meeting, learn more about a career in juvenile justice at






     DJJ Excellence: Community Program Coordinator Receives National Honor DJJ Staff  at:  8/23/2013  

DJJ EXCELLENCE: Community Services Program Coordinator Dee Bell Receives Prestigious National Award

The Department of Juvenile Justice is proud to announce that Dee Bell, Program Coordinator in the Community Services Division, was recently awarded the prestigious Walter Dunbar Award from the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) at their most recent Summer Training Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dee Bell introduced at the August DJJ Board Meeting by Assistant Commissioner Mark Sexton

The Walter Dunbar Memorial Award is the most prominent practitioner award given by the APPA. Presented in honor of one of the APPA’s most distinguished colleagues, Walter Dunbar, former Director of the California Department of Corrections, Chairman of the U.S. Parole Commission, and Director of the New York State Division of Probation, the Memorial Award is presented to worthy individuals who have significantly contributed to the field of probation and/or parole and the community at large through work with the APPA.

Assistant Commissioner Sexton expressing DJJ’s appreciation of Dell Bell’s work for Georgia

Well-known in community corrections, Dee Bell was selected for this award for raising awareness of restorative and community justice. Starting with her work in the early years of the Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) initiative, she has traveled the country extensively to promote and teach evidence-based practices. She is recognized as a great facilitator and her people skills have created a national network of community corrections practitioners. She is a dedicated professional and a long-time activist at the national level.

Dee Bell shares a moment with Assistant Deputy Commissioner Miguel Fernandez

Educated at Clemson University in South Carolina and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Bell received her BS degree from Clemson University in 1975 and followed with her MA and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology both from Emory University. Dr. Bell has provided training in both state and national venues for many years and has authored and co-authored a number of articles on justice system issues and juvenile justice curricula. Dr. Bell has made significant contributions to the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA). Her involvement began in 1991 around the time that the Georgia Department of Corrections hosted the Annual Institute in Atlanta, Georgia for the first time. She has been an APPA member since 1993 and has chaired the Program Committee and served as a Track Coordinator on multiple occasions. Dr. Bell has served on the Board of Directors as chair of the Prevention Committee, the Community Justice Committee, and the Leadership Institute Committee. In 2001, Dr. Bell was honored with the APPA Member of the Year Award for her continuous dedication and volunteer spirit. She currently serves on the following committees: Community Justice/Prevention, Gender Issues, Juvenile Justice, Leadership Institute, Nominations, and Victim Issues.

Dee Bell honored for her APPA work by Commissioner Niles and Board Chair Snow

The American Probation and Parole Association is an international association composed of members from the United States, Canada and other countries actively involved with probation, parole and community-based corrections, in both adult and juvenile sectors. All levels of government including local, state/provincial, legislative, executive, judicial, and federal agencies are counted among its constituents. By taking the initiative, APPA has grown to become the voice for thousands of probation and parole practitioners including line staff, supervisors and administrators. Educators, volunteers and concerned citizens with an interest in criminal and juvenile justice are also among APPA's members. APPA will continue to effectively provide services to its constituents. The association represents a strong, unified voice for the field of community corrections. For more information on the American Probation and Parole Association, visit them on the web at

Congratulations again to Dee for this great honor and her dedication to her work at DJJ!

To read the news release honoring Dr. Bell, click on:





     Encouraging Positive Outcomes: Muscogee MSC DJJ Staff  at:  8/23/2013  

Encouraging Positive Outcomes: Muscogee MSC

When it comes to preventive measures to encourage positive outcomes for local youths, the Muscogee Multi-Service Center walks the walk to back up the talk: last Saturday, the Muscogee Multi-Service Center participated in a Girls Conference called "Beauty Boot Camp" at the New Birth Outreach Church in Midland, Georgia.

JPPS II's Knyetta Copeland, Tiffany Shorter, and Jasmine Harris spoke to about eighty girls from the area about their jobs at DJJ, the juvenile justice system, and the importance of making positive life choices to avoid becoming part of the correctional system.

The "Beauty Boot Camp" participation by the Muscogee Multi-Service Center goes hand in hand with DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles' new emphasis on the “Do You Know the Law?” program where teens are encouraged to become better informed about the legal system to avoid the kind of trouble that can lead to encounters with Georgia’s juvenile justice system. Since many of Georgia's youth are just a misdemeanor away from a parole violation that could lock them up in juvenile detention, education about the law is an important key towards leading a safe, fulfilling, and productive teen life.

To learn more about the "Do You Know the Law?" program, visit




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