DJJ News

Bon Air Thanksgiving dinner

November 22, 2016 – Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center residents enrolled in the Culinary Arts program planned and prepared a Thanksgiving meal that culminated with the residents and staff enjoying the fruits of their labors. The meal was a Project-Based Learning (PBL) activity in which each dish prepared was a separate lesson in which several skills were taught. Workplace skills included demonstrating creativity, job-specific math skills, problem solving, time management, proper food storage and handling, menu planning, dining service, weight, measure, recipe reading, teamwork, and customer service skills. Culinary skills included pasta, sauce making, yeast bread, roasting poultry, dessert preparation, and food presentation.

September 8, 2016 – Another first occurred for the youth and staff in DJJ’s Juvenile Correctional Center (JCCs) on Thursday, Sept. 8, when members of the Beaumont and Bon Air JCC Youth Advisory Councils, as well as staff from each facility, had an opportunity to meet with Governor Terry McAuliffe, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, and members of the Governor’s staff. They were meeting to present their ideas about forming a resident government in the JCCs, and to learn from the Commonwealth’s leaders about the key elements of government. The Youth Advisory Councils are made up of residents from all units within the JCCs who meet with the superintendent to discuss and voice their concerns regarding their unit’s issues. The Councils are now developing a process that will provide them with the opportunity to establish a form of representative government. This student government body will help residents have a voice and ownership of their units and neighborhoods (residential areas), and give them a chance to make recommendations on campus matters to all levels of management.

At the meeting with Governor McAuliffe and his staff, the residents learned about drafting a constitution, campaign strategies, establishing voting procedures, the importance of truly representing constituents, the value of compromise, and the benefits of a democratic form of government. These residents will take the information learned at this meeting back to their facilities to help roll out a plan to establish their student government. The residents also heard from Del. Charniele Herring who told them how she had experienced homelessness as a child and how important it was for them to become advocates so that people in government understood their stories, their experiences, and their needs. The Governor, First Lady, and the Governor’s team were all impressed with the level of preparation, participation and engagement of our kids.

Special recognition also goes to Jack Ledden, DJJ’s Deputy Director for Residential Services, whose first envisioned this program and whose leadership has moved the process to this point, and to Beaumont and Bon Air staff and Executive Assistant Wendy Hoffman, all of whom went considerable effort to get the residents downtown for the meeting, and to ensure the meeting went smoothly.

First Lady and Governor listen to resident
Gov's Staff Applauding
Resident Speaks to Gov. McAuliffe
Resident with PowerPoint
McAuliffe addresses residents

July 27, 2016 – The recent softball game between Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center residents and staff served several purposes. In addition to the participants having a great time, the activity contained all the key elements of the Community Treatment Model that DJJ is in the process of implementing in all its juvenile correctional center units: Developing healthy, adult relationships; teaching teamwork and working together to solve problems and resolve conflicts. The softball game was only one of many athletic events residents are regularly participating in, including volleyball games and 5K runs.

Batter 2

Counselor Jermaine Dennis rips into one as Resident Specialist Martin Dailey waits on deck.

Teachable moment

Grievance Coordinator James McPherson uses a teachable moment to show a resident the proper batting stance.


Resident Specialist Kevin Walker approaches third base.

Batter 3

Physical Education and Health Instructor Kevin Pierce takes a swing.

Celebrating home run

Resident Specialist Martin Dailey celebrates hitting a home run.

Slide at home

Grievance Coordinator James McPherson tags a resident out at home.

April 30, 2016 – A resident of DJJ's Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center was featured reading a poem he wrote in a recent NPR radio feature on "Poetry Behind Bars." Click on link below to see story, then click on first link under "Listen To The Poems."


Roanoke Valley Heroin Task Force Team

April 29, 2016 – Carolyn Minix, Director of Court Service Unit 23 in Salem, was among a group of Roanoke Valley community leaders recently receiving the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for “tirelessly working to make their own cities and towns a better and safer place for their fellow residents.” Joining Minix at the event, held at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., were City of Salem Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowers (who was honored with receiving the award), Salem Chief of Police Mike Crawley, and Office of the Attorney General Community Outreach Coordinator Debbie Bell. The award was given to recognize the work of the Executive Law Enforcement Summit’s Heroin Task Force, chaired by Bowers. The task force has addressed the issues of bath salts, K-2 Spice (synthetic marijuana) and for the last two years heroin, which has become an overwhelming problem in the Roanoke Valley. Statistics report that one out of every 14 youth in high school in the Roanoke Valley have tried heroin, and that the area has the highest overdose per capita of any other area in Virginia. The task force has promoted education, awareness and prevention through a series of community meetings, posters, drug take-backs, a play performed by the local children’s playhouse, and public service announcements. While the 56 award recipients come from all backgrounds, all professions, and all parts of the country, “they are united by a single thing—an effort to do good,” noted FBI Director James Comey. “We want to thank them, because they’re doing the same things we’re doing, which is trying to make life better for the American people.”

Photo, from left: Salem Chief of Police Mike Crawley, CSU 23—Salem Director Carolyn Minix, FBI Director James Comey, Salem Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowers, Office of Attorney General Community Outreach Officer Debbie Bell.

Performance-Based Learning (PBL) Techniques

March 11, 2016 – To better engage students at DJJ’s Yvonne B. Miller High School, instructors plan to incorporate performance-based learning (PBL) techniques in upcoming curricula. PBL extends traditional fact-and-skill instruction by requiring students to use and apply their knowledge, skills and work habits by completing tasks that are authentic, meaningful, and engaging. Performance tasks not only help students fully understand the content, but they provide the teacher evidence of the extent in which a student has actually learned the content. Performance-based tasks can be short activities, such as preparing “identity scrapbooks” or learning the science and geometry of a snowflake (see photos), or can extend over many days, culminating in a project that demonstrates student understanding of the curriculum.

Performance-Based Learning (PBL) Techniques
Performance-Based Learning (PBL) Techniques

February 22, 2016 – The Expressions XXIV Art Exhibit, which features artwork created by youth incarcerated in DJJ's Bon Air and Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Facilities, will be on display at the Virginia General Assembly Building lobby through Friday, Feb. 26. Expressions XXIV is more than just an art show: It is a means of encouraging residents to use their time constructively to outwardly express inner thoughts and visions in a creative way they may never have considered before.

All the artworks are available via silent auction through noon Friday, February 26. Proceeds will go to the artist.

For more photos, click HERE to see our Facebook page.

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