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The National Juvenile Corrections and Detention Administrators' Forum: an opportunity to collaborate, network and learn.

Under the James E. Gould Memorial for Training and Technical Assistance for Juvenile Corrections and Detention grant, ACA hosted the 2006 National Juvenile Corrections and Detention Administrators' Forum. This important juvenile justice meeting was held in Pittsburgh, April 29-May 2, 2006.

This three-day, national forum provided comprehensive discussion on key topics relevant to approximately 100 state and local juvenile corrections and detention administrators. The forum encouraged communication and collaboration and allowed the participants to: share issues and concerns, get to know leaders who are new to the field, continue networking and obtain knowledge on current, pressing juvenile justice issues.

Sharing this venture with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the American Correctional Association's mission for more than 131 years has been to "... exert a positive influence on national correctional policy and to promote the professional development of individuals working in all aspects of the corrections field." National juvenile practicioners joined in this effort, and attended the 2006 National Juvenile Corrections and Detention Administrators Forum.

The purpose of the forum was to bring together the leaders of the juvenile justice system to join forces to discuss a variety of issues facing juvenile justice such as suicide prevention, staff retention, female programming, the Civil Rights of Incarcerated Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). For that reason, ACA brought together 86 of the country's leading juvenile justice experts to address the important issues facing juvenile justice practitioners today. Including scholarly presenters, generous sponsors and ACA staff, the forum was attended by a total of 113 individuals.

The theme of this year's forum was "Challenges Facing Juvenile Justice." Experts in the field joined the forum as presenters in an effort to share information with our nation's juvenile leaders. State and local directors not only discussed a number of issues they face today in the juvenile justice system but worked together to create potential solutions for those issues. The forum was conducted with special emphasis placed not only on covering the forum theme's issues, but also on providing ample opportunity for participants to interact with each other, presenters and sponsors. To aid networking and information sharing, a list of all participants, their positions, agencies, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses was provided to attendees at registration.

The Opening Ceremony began with welcoming remarks from ACA, the National Juvenile Detention Administration (NJDA), the Council of Juvenile Corrections Administrators (CJCA) and the state of Pennsylvania. These opening remarks were followed by the keynote address, which was provided by Michael Costigan, chief of staff at OJJDP. His remarks focused on the direction in which OJJDP is moving and their priorities, as well as the future of the organization.

Following the Opening Ceremony, participants gathered for an Opening Reception to network, get to know other leaders in the field, exchange ideas and collaborate. The reception provided everyone with an opportunity to socialize and meet fellow juvenile practitioners from coast-to-coast.

On Sunday, the participants discussed seven topic areas that were predetermined during several conference calls with selected leaders of NJDA and CJCA. The topics chosen were: evaluation, funding challenges, issues affecting state and local relationships, management information systems, programming, risk and needs assessment instruments, and staff retention. The day began by informing the group of the chosen topics and engaging a large group discussion to provide further clarification of the issues and the goals of the day. Following that, in accordance with the program, 32 members of NJDA and the 37 members of CJCA divided up into small groups according to topic of interest to discuss some of the recent challenges they are facing in their facilities. One participant said, "The mix of ideas and persons representing different points of view allowed me to see the issues from a perspective different from my own."

Later that morning, the groups reconvened for a town hall meeting, which featured a report from each small group followed by a discussion in the large group. Following the town hall meeting, the small groups gathered again to create action plans to address the issue. Groups were asked to address the following questions: What will success look like upon completion?; How will we measure progress and success?; Who needs to be involved?; Who is going to do what and by when?; What resources are needed?; Who will report progress/success to this forum?; and When will progress/success be reported?

After constructing an action plan, each group provided a brief report to all the participants. In addition, the participants were treated to presentations by:

* Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., chief, Corrections Statistics Program, Bureau of Justice Statistics and Andie Moss, president, The Moss Group Inc.: The Prison Rape Elimination Act: An Update;

* Lindsay M. Hayes, project director, National Center on Institutions and Alternatives: Juvenile Suicide in Confinement: A National Perspective;

* Leslie S. LeMaster, correctional program specialist, National Institute of Correction Academy: Juvenile Female Offenders: How Do You Meet Their Needs in Your Juvenile Setting?;

* Ryan H. Rainey, J.D., consultant: CRIPA Investigations of Juvenile Correctional Facilities;

* Deborah K. Boyer, corrections quality assurance administrator, Oklahoma Department of Corrections and Joyce Fogg, public relations manager, Virginia Employment Commission: Correctional Staff Recruitment and Retention--A National Challenge; and

* Antonio Garrett, detention administrator, Lucas County Juvenile Court; Bernard Glos, Ph.D., superintendent, DuPage County Juvenile Detention Center; Leonard Dixon, director, Michigan Bureau of Juvenile Justice; and Bartlett Stoodley, associate commissioner, Maine Department of Corrections: Effective Juvenile Detention.

At Monday's luncheon, everyone had the pleasure of hearing Hasan Davis' presentation, "Reclaiming and Rebuilding Youth in Crisis." Davis spoke about several of his experiences as a youth, some of which included getting in trouble with the police, spending time in juvenile facilities and being expelled from school. His message was one of motivation that reminded the leaders in attendance of the daily impact they have on each child's life. Davis had a remarkable way of tying together his own personal experiences and relating it to situations that juvenile justice practitioners face each day.

The post-forum evaluations were used to measure the success of the forum by determining whether the topics covered were relevant. Participants ranked the program very highly and they expressed their appreciation for the opportunity for professional development. One participant said, "Overall the forum was great--it will help me to improve practices in my system that will help the momentum change." This attendee, along with the ACA staff, looks forward to attending the next year's forum.

Jennifer Bechtel is the former grant manager for the American Correctional Association, and is currently the administrative manager for ACA's Executive Office.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Juvenile Justice News
Author:Bechtel, Jennifer
Publication:Corrections Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Previous Article:Welcome new members.
Next Article:Mitigating insider threat within correctional facilities.

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