DJJ Commissioner Announces New Board Member Appointment DJJ Staff  at:  4/26/2013  


 (ATLANTA - GA)  The Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is pleased to announce the appointment of a newly named DJJ Board member by Governor Nathan Deal.  Commissioner Avery D. Niles announced the appointment of Julia D. Neighbors to the Board of Juvenile Justice.

Board Member Neighbors currently serves as the project manager for JUSTGeorgia, a statewide juvenile justice coalition involved in the recent re-write of Georgia’s Juvenile Code and the promotion of healthier, safer communities and better outcomes for our children and youth.

As a former senior attorney with the Fulton County Office of the Child Attorney, Julia Neighbors brings additional child advocate experience to the DJJ Board. She also previously held the position of Executive Director of Fulton County Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc.

Board Member Neighbors currently serves on the board of directors for Georgia CASA, the Council of Intown Neighborhood Schools and the Historic District Development Corp.  She holds a Law Degree from Emory University and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Michigan.  Neighbors and her husband, Ken, live in Atlanta with their two sons, Kenneth and Kaden.

As DJJ’s newest Board Member, Neighbors was appointed by Governor Deal to represent Congressional District 5.  DJJ Board members are appointed by the Governor to serve in an advisory capacity to the Department of Juvenile Justice, providing leadership and guidance to the Commissioner. The Board is made up of 15 members representing each Congressional District in the state to help improve Georgia’s juvenile justice system.

Neighbors said, “Being at the table during this exciting time for Georgia juvenile justice is an honor and I am ready to serve.  I hope to help the Board and Commissioner in their efforts to implement the positive new measures that will come about as a result of the Juvenile Justice Reform bill.”

Commissioner Avery D. Niles expressed the appreciation of the agency and the Board for the Governor’s latest appointment to DJJ.  “We admire the viewpoint and experience this new Board Member will bring to our task,” said Commissioner Niles. “Julia Neighbors will bring fresh perspective to the Board and we wish her all the best as she faces the many challenges that will come with Georgia’s juvenile justice reforms. I can think of nothing more important to our communities and the future of our state than our common effort to help Georgia’s juvenile offenders become productive citizens.” 





     The Atlanta City Detention Center Junior Corrections Officer Program at the Rockdale RYDC DJJ Staff  at:  4/19/2013  


On April 13th, youth from the Atlanta City Detention Center Junior Corrections Officer Program visited the Department of Juvenile Justice Rockdale Regional Youth Detention Center to tour the facility and participate in a team building and educational program. DJJ Security Risk Group Coordinator Monique Brandenburg led the program and discussion for the seventeen youth and five staff members from Atlanta which included Deputy Chief John Jackson from the City of Atlanta Department of Corrections. Arkeysha McCullough and Fabienne Tate from DJJ helped assist Ms. Brandenburg with the program and escorting the youth and special guests.

Class participants were given a tour of the Rockdale RYDC facility, participated in team building exercises, and listened to inspirational stories written in letter form from previous residents of the facility. Ms. Brandenburg also gave a personal testimonial based on her life and work experience dealing with juvenile offenders and gangs.

This is the third class for the Atlanta Junior Corrections Officer Program which accepts high school students and at-risk youth and allows them to learn about the criminal justice system from exploring all branches of public safety from the inside out. The focus of each six week program is to promote a career in law enforcement for high school graduates and college bound students. Participants of this year's class will graduate on April 23rd.

The Department of Juvenile Justice is proud to participate in the Atlanta City Detention Center Junior Corrections Officer Program. For more information on this great program, click on





     Muscogee Multi-Service Center/Court Services Office at Superhero Day for Child Abuse Awareness DJJ Staff  at:  5/7/2013  


April is National Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month and staff from the District 8 Muscogee Multi-Service Center and Muscogee CSO were leading the charge as part of "Be a Child's Hero...Superhero Day on Broadway" in Columbus.

The event, organized by Children's Tree House and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), included a Superhero 5K and 1K fun run, bouncy houses, Child Identification Kits, puppet shows, a sidewalk chalk contest, a costume contest, and vendor tables.

JPPS III Meshonda Moore and Ervin Christie

JPPS III Ervin Christie and Dr. Floretta Thornton-Reid of Building Towards Wellness Community Coalition, Inc.

Staff present included Herman Archie (District 8 Director), Ervin Christie (JPPS III, Muscogee MSC), and Meshonda Moore (JPPS III, Muscogee CSO). The Muscogee Staff handed out information about the Department of Juvenile Justice to parents, children, and other community partners.

All proceeds from the event benefited the Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, Inc, Chattahoochee CASA, and Children's Tree House --Advocacy Center programs. For more photos from the Super Hero event, click on:





     DJJ Honors Crime Victims During National Crime Victims' Rights Week in April DJJ Staff  at:  4/16/2013  

DJJ Honors Crime Victims during
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in April

Atlanta, GA – “New Challenges and New Solutions” is the ‘2013-theme’ for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week across the state and across the country this April 21 through 27.  “It’s an important opportunity for all us to pause and remember victims who have suffered as a result of crime,” said Commissioner Avery D. Niles of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

“Victim advocates from a task force of twelve state agencies we call our ‘Multi-Agency Victim Services Partnership’ are inviting crime victims everywhere to attend Georgia’s annual Victims’ Rights Week ceremony and Open House,” said Commissioner Niles.

The event is scheduled Tuesday, April 23rd at State Offices South, at Tift College in Forsyth. The ceremonies begin at 10:00AM in Roberts Chapel, followed by the Open House at noon.

This annual ceremony and event are held to honor crime victims and to increase public awareness about victims’ rights. Then from 12:00 to 4:00PM, the Open House is designed to allow victims and the public to learn more about important services offered by each participating state agency. DJJ Commissioner Niles said crime victims can meet with Department of Juvenile Justice leadership and staff. 

“At DJJ we work 24-seven to maintain secure facilities for Georgia’s juvenile offenders – and to preserve public safety for Georgia citizens,” said the Commissioner. “As we hold Georgia’s most violent youth accountable for their actions, we can never lose sight of the victims of their crimes.”

Thousands of Georgia families are affected by crime every year.  Crime victims in attendance will have opportunities to meet with leaders from all the sponsoring state agencies at the Open House and to receive information on many victim services:                                             

  • Learn how to submit Victim Impact Statements

  • Register to receive notifications on offender’s status

  • Learn how to complete claims processing

  • Receive current offender information, including inmate location and maximum release and parole dates.

  • Learn how to navigate the Department of Corrections and State Board of Pardons and Paroles’ websites

On April 23rd, the Georgia Office of Victim Services also conducts a “Victims Visitors’ Day” in conjunction with the annual ceremony and Open House for the Department of Corrections and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles’. Each year, crime victims come to register for notifications about offender’s status and to receive information about claims processing. Victims who want to meet with DOC and PAP agency staff to discuss offender information should contact the Department of Corrections and Parole Board’s Office of Victim Services by calling 404-651-6668 or 1-800-593-9474.

The Department of Juvenile Justice will also have staff available to help educate crime victims about their rights and the juvenile justice process, and to provide information about referrals to community services.  

“DJJ is responsible for rehabilitating young offenders,” said Commissioner Niles.  “But it’s also our job to protect the victims of juvenile crime so they too can begin to rebuild their own lives.  As victim advocates we recognize that about 50-percent of crimes go unreported so only a fraction of victims may get all the help they need.  In Georgia, we’ll continue to reach-out and afford victims the fairness, dignity and respect they deserve.”

The Multi-Agency Victim Services Partnership: Administrative Office of the Courts, Commission on Family Violence, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Public Safety, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Governor’s Office for Children and Families, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, State Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.

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     Juvenile Reinvestment Request for Proposals DJJ Staff  at:  4/16/2013  


In response to Governor Deal’s aim to improve the juvenile justice process, the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF) and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) have issued Juvenile Reinvestment Request for Proposals in order to find and support local juvenile programs that reduce juvenile recidivism. Local jurisdictions with proven program models based on evidence are encouraged to apply for this funding.

Utilizing the Georgia Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform December report, the GOCF and CJCC are seeking local juvenile justice projects that focus on a two-pronged approach of diversion and aftercare/re-entry.

“We aim to incentivize court projects that provide services which hold juveniles accountable for their actions while also holding our juvenile system accountable to taxpayers,” says Katie Jo Ballard, Executive Director of GOCF.

During the 2013 legislative session, Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly appropriated $5 million in State dollars to CJCC and an additional $1 million in federal funding to GOCF. The purpose of the funding is to create effective community programs to serve youth who are currently being committed to DJJ or sent to Short-term Programs as a sanction.

“Our experience with the accountability courts combined with GOCF’s juvenile expertise has created the perfect paradigm for ensuring this is successful for Georgia,” says Braxton Cotton, Executive Director of the CJCC.

Applications for funding will be considered and prioritized for the counties with the highest recidivism rates.

A workshop to provide technical assistance to local jurisdictions seeking to apply for juvenile justice funding through CJCC’s Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program and GOCF’s Juvenile Reinvestment Grant will be offered on April 23, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Georgia.

This workshop is recommended for grant writers working with the local jurisdictions and the supporting juvenile judges applying for funding under either or both of the grant programs.

Given the space limitations of the training (200 participants maximum), Juvenile Court Judges and Grant Writers will be given priority for registration.

Applications for funding are due June 21, 2013 with funded projects set to begin this summer.

For more information, please refer to CJCC’s website- or GOCF’s website- .


If you'd like more information about this topic, please call Joe Vignati at (404) 656-5183 or e-mail Joe at





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