DJJ Commissioner Congratulates Governor On Signing of Juvenile Justice Reforms Bill DJJ Staff  at:  5/2/2013  

DJJ Commissioner Congratulates Governor

On Signing of Juvenile Justice Reforms Bill

(DALTON - GA)  Today, Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles congratulated Governor Nathan Deal on the passage and signing of Georgia’s massive juvenile justice reform legislation in the Senate.  Based on the recommendations of a special panel convened by Governor Deal, the goal of the legislation is to reduce the number of repeat juvenile offenders and bring down costs.

“The passage of Georgia’s juvenile justice reform bill speaks volumes about Governor Nathan Deal’s leadership,” said DJJ Commissioner Niles. “Working together with his special reform council and our Legislators, Governor Deal has helped shepherd this innovative overhaul legislation for Georgia’s juvenile system,” said Commissioner Niles.

The reforms will provide judges with more discretion in juvenile case sentencing; offer more drug and mental health counseling; and place more emphasis on local community-based outreach programs rather than commitment to detention centers for non-violent juvenile offenders. 


The Reform Bill is a “win-win-win” equation for juvenile justice in Georgia,” said Commissioner Niles.  “It’s a win to get help for youth who are neglected or abused -- It’s a win for troubled teens who need community outreach, not detention -- And it’s a win for Georgia taxpayers who are entitled to protection from felony youth offenders, but who shouldn’t have to shoulder high security system costs for low-risk juvenile offenses.”

Supporters say the reasons behind the legislation’s active support across party lines were two-fold: Georgia currently spends more than $90-thousand dollars a year for each juvenile offender held in detention and 65-percent of those offenders end up back in detention within three years after their release.

Georgia’s current juvenile code has been in effect here since the ‘70’s.  Advocates claim the sweeping changes enacted today by the General Assembly are projected to create a potential $28 million dollars in savings for the State of Georgia during the next two years alone.

Recent polls conducted for the Pew Charitable Trusts show Georgia voters want a juvenile justice system which keeps communities safe and holds youth accountable, while helping them become productive citizens. Governor Nathan Deal asked his special reform council to study the state’s juvenile justice system and formulate ways to improve public safety while decreasing costs.

“Here in Georgia, we’ve actually been watching this process of judicial history being made first in our General Assembly and now with the Governor signing this legislation into law,” said DJJ Commissioner Niles. “I am so fortunate to see this promising reform happening during my first year in office at the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.”

The provisions of Georgia’s juvenile justice reform act are effective as of next January to allow effected state agencies and entities to prepare for the dramatic new changes, strategies and added responsibilities.

“What an honor it is to be Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice during this pivotal time,” said Commissioner Niles. “I thank the more than 4,000 professional staff members working at DJJ centers and offices across the state as we face this new challenge of Georgia juvenile justice reform together: ‘One Team’ -- ‘One Mission’.





     DJJ News Advisory: Governor Deal to Sign Juvenile Justice Reform Legislation at Elbert Shaw RYDC DJJ Staff  at:  5/1/2013  


Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles is pleased to announce that Governor Nathan Deal will sign Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Reform legislation at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center in Dalton, Georgia on Thursday, May 2nd, at 10:00 AM.  


WHO:  Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal

            Bobby Hughes, Director, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center

            Judge Michael Boggs, Court of Appeals

            Avery Niles, Commissioner, Department of Juvenile Justice

            Criminal Justice Reform Council members

            State legislators


WHEN:  Thursday, May 2nd, at 10:00 AM.  


WHERE:  Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Dalton, GA

(Located in Whitfield County) (There will be no public tours of the facility)
2735 Underwood Road, NE
Dalton, GA 30721-7499

Phone: 706-272-2309

*Follow Directions Below and Follow Security Check-In Instructions:


Directions from Atlanta:
Take I-75 North toward Chattanooga.

After approximately 90 miles take Exit 336   (SR 3/US Hwy 41/US Hwy 76-Dalton/Rocky Face). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto the North Bypass.

At the seventh traffic light, turn left onto Underwood Road.

The Elbert Shaw RYDC is on the immediate left.



  • In order to expedite clearance of all visitors through security before the Governor arrives, DJJ suggests you schedule your arrival about an hour early, around 8:45AM so we can begin sign-in and clearance to get you into our secure facility on time.

  • Please remember to bring a Georgia driver license and other photo-media I-D, required for entry.

  • As part of standard security protocols all cell phones must be locked in your vehicle as a condition of entry.  We realize this is an inconvenience for news media and we appreciate your understanding of the need for this standard security measure.

  • Once news media has cleared security, no one may leave the designated restricted area (multi-purpose room) identified as the media staging area for this event.



  • Rules for news media in a DJJ facility require that no photos will be taken, published or broadcast in a manner which would identify juvenile residents

  • Juvenile residents cannot be identified by name in media reports unless releases have been obtained by DJJ for this purpose.

  • No interviews can be conducted with juvenile residents unless DJJ Staff clearly indicate that signed parental permission has been obtained by DJJ for this purpose.

  • (It should be understood that violation of these rules will result in coverage permission to be withdrawn and news media would be escorted from the secure premises.  Reporters with questions regarding rules and procedures should immediately ask the nearest DJJ staff member to avoid any misunderstandings.  We want your visit to the Dalton RYDC to be a productive one.) 



  • News media will clear security and standby inside the RYDC all-purpose room until the Governor arrives.

  • 9:45 a.m. -- The Governor is escorted into the RYDC facility by DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles where he will be welcomed by RYDC Director Bobby Hughes and presented

  • with a brief history of the facility.

  • 10:00 a.m. – Commissioner Niles makes brief welcoming remarks, introduces Judge Michael Boggs

  • 10:03 a.m. – Judge Michael Boggs makes brief remarks, introduces Sen. Charlie Bethel

  • 10:06 a.m. – Sen. Charlie Bethel makes brief remarks, introduces Governor Deal

  • 10:09 a.m. – Governor Nathan Deal makes brief remarks

  • 10:13 a.m. – Governor Nathan Deal signs HB 242, photo ops

  • 10:18 a.m. – Governor Nathan Deal signs HB 182, photo ops

  • 10:25 a.m. – Governor Nathan Deal departs Dalton

  • Reporters will be escorted through security following the departure of Governor Deal.


MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                                                               

 Office of Communications

May 1, 2013                                                                                                                            

(404) 651-7774


Deal to sign public safety bills at Dalton youth detention center


Gov. Nathan Deal will sign two pieces of legislation related to public safety at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center in Dalton on Thursday, May 2, at 10 a.m.


WHO:                    Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal

                Bobby Hughes, director, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center

                Judge Michael Boggs, Court of Appeals

                                Avery Niles, commissioner, Department of Juvenile Justice

                                Criminal Justice Reform Council members

                                State legislators


WHEN:                  Thursday, May 2, at 10 a.m.


WHERE:                Multipurpose Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center

                              2735 Underwood Road NE Dalton


Deal will sign additional legislation later tomorrow and Friday. Information on bill signing ceremonies provided below.


Thursday, May 2

Bill signing at the Colonnade Center

11 a.m.

Catoosa County Civic Center

264 Catoosa Cir.



Bill signing at Dade County High School

1 p.m.

300 Tradition Ln.



Bill signing at Walker County Civic Center

2 p.m.

10052 N Highway 27

Rock Springs


Friday, May 3

Bill signing at UniHealth Magnolia Manor South

10 a.m.

3003 Veterans Pkwy.







     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:





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