The Policy & Planning Unit consists of the Certification Unit, the Rights and Accountability Unit, and the Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Unit. The Policy & Planning Unit is responsible for managing and directing the Department’s work in the legislative and the regulatory process, certification and compliance programs, the resident grievance process, and record requests.
The Certification Unit conducts certification audits of programs and facilities regulated by the Department and the State Board of Juvenile Justice. The Certification Unit inspects and monitors court services units, group homes, juvenile detention centers, juvenile correctional centers, and the Department’s halfway houses for the purpose of ensuring that all programs and residential facilities are complying with regulatory standards and that the conditions of placement or confinement are safe and secure. The Certification Unit also provides technical assistance to programs and residential facilities to improve successfully functioning programs serving court referred youth.
Rights & Accountability Unit
The Rights and Accountability Unit is tasked with ensuring staff and resident’s rights are protected while at the same time striving to modify poor behavior through accountability measures. The unit is staffed by Human Rights Coordinators, who, along with their management team operate independently from the JCC in order to provide youth with an outlet for addressing concerns.
- Resident Grievances - As a safeguard for youth, a grievance program is in place at the facility. The purpose of the program is to provide a strong system of advocacy for committed juveniles. By monitoring conditions of confinement and service delivery systems, the program helps identify and solve problems that may potentially harm or impede rehabilitative efforts.
- Resident Hearings - In order to ensure accountability and fairness in the JCCs the Human Rights Coordinators are tasked with determining if serious rule violation accusations against residents are accurate. If there is merit to the allegations, the Human Rights Coordinators come up with creative and personalized methods to alter the youth’s behavior.
- Staff Accountability - When there is an allegation of JCC or CSU staff wrongdoing, the Rights and Accountability Unit interfaces with Human Resources and the Investigative Unit, working to make fair recommendations to management that address the staff’s behavior. If management determines there is no alternative but to discipline staff, the Unit represents the agency in hearings before a neutral arbiter.
- Ombuds Program - The unit also staffs the Ombuds Program, where youth and their families, staff members, professionals, and the general public may call to ask questions or address concerns about conditions of confinement. While the first point of contact should be the correctional center where the youth is housed, the Ombuds Line is available, as an alternative, at (804) 588-4414.
- Legislation - This unit serves as the agency point-of-contact for juvenile justice-related legislation during the General Assembly Session and throughout the year. Staff review, analyze, draft, and provide informational testimony regarding pertinent legislation in concert with direction from the Governor’s Office.
- Procedures - DJJ’s administrative procedures and standard operating procedures regarding agency operations and essential functions are drafted and promulgated by policy staff.
- Regulations - This unit coordinates the development, dissemination, and periodic review of juvenile justice regulations in accordance with the Administrative Process Act and Governor’s Executive Orders. Staff also provide administrative support to the state Board of Juvenile Justice.