DJJ Director Andrew K. Block delivered the keynote address on the opening day of the recent Virginia Juvenile Justice Association’s (VJJA) 38th Fall Institute in Newport News. “Every child we work with should be better off for the work you do with them,” Block told the 260 attendees. “Most of them do not yet know the person they can become. It is our job to show them that better days lie ahead.” VJJA President Stephanie Garrison, DJJ’s Regional Program Manager—Eastern Region, welcomed delegates to the President’s Reception. DJJ’s Mentoring Program Coordinator Ashley Williams spoke on the topic “Bridging the Gap: Connecting Commitment With Community” in one of the conference breakout sessions. VJJA is an independent organization comprised of juvenile justice professionals that is committed to child advocacy and advancing the professional interests and competencies of its members.
The Richmond Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) team and the Richmond Juvenile Justice Collaborative recently hosted a day-and-a-half long, cross-agency event focused on examining the prevalence of school-based referrals. Welcoming remarks were provided by Congressman Bobby Scott, Chief Judge Marilynn Goss, Lead JDAI Judge Angela Roberts, and Court Service Unit 13—Richmond Director Kim Russo. Speakers for the event included the Hon. Chief Judge Steve Teske and other professionals from Clayton County (GA) JDAI and System of Care. For the past two years the Richmond Juvenile Justice Collaborative has focused on a DMC recommendation of reduction in school arrests. Seeking to reduce school-based incidents resulting in arrest and court referral was among the recommendations of a 2012 assessment of Disproportionate Minority Confinement (DMC) conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The community-wide meeting, which was made possible as a result of support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, was attended by the judiciary, prosecution, defense, court services, schools, law enforcement and other child serving agencies. An action plan is under development and protocols are being established to differentiate between incidents that could/should be handled by school administration and incidents that require court intervention. Photo, from left: Beth Stinnett, DJJ Program Manager/State JDAI Manager; Hon. Angela Roberts, Richmond J&DR Court Judge; Rep. Bobby Scott; Regina Hurt, DJJ Regional Program Manager—Central Region; Kim Russo, CSU 13—Richmond Director/Local JDAI Coordinator; Hon. Marilynn Goss, Chief Judge, Richmond J&DR Court; Hon. Steven Teske.
Those who attended the fourth annual Youth Connections Open House and Vendor Fair, held recently at the Henrico County Training Center, learned about mentoring and other volunteer opportunities at DJJ from Reentry staff. The open house, sponsored by the Capital Area Youth Workforce Transition Council, provides an opportunity for professionals who work with youth to network with each other and learn more about resources in the greater Richmond area. Pictured in the photo, from left: Elizabeth Walton-Jones, Reentry Specialist at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center; Melissa Smith, Transition Specialist Coordinator; Ashley Williams, Mentoring Program Coordinator; and George Peoples, Reentry Specialist at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center.
DJJ hosted a talent show at Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center (JCC) featuring residents from Beaumont and Bon Air JCCs. Eighteen residents participated in 12 different numbers ranging from dancing, singing, poetry reading and keyboard playing. This talent show was one of the first events of the newly reintroduced Inter/Intra Recreational and Extracurricular Activities Program (IREAP) which you can read more about here. The show was a huge success with both staff and residents.