2018 VCA Training Institute (Fall Conference) October 17 - 19, 2018
Our Fall Conference will once again be hosted by Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia Last year's attendees indicated that this venue provided us a spacious meeting hall and convenient conference rooms for workshops. Meals and accommodations were provided on site, and the staff was friendly and attentive to our needs.
SAVE THE DATE! Plan now to join us for this informative, educational, and enjoyable event. As details become available regarding keynote speakers and workshops, they will be posted here on the website. Check back frequently for updates.
JUVENILE JUSTICE Editorial: Here's one government agency that's doing great work February 17, 2018
Government often gets things wrong, and partisan politics makes talk about it contentious. So it is easy for good news to go unremarked. Let us take a moment to remark on some. Andrew Block Jr., who heads the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice, recently gave a presentation to state lawmakers with some eye-opening data. Some of the more striking numbers show how much the department has shifted young offenders from prison and detention facilities to alternative, community-centered programs. Five years ago, the DJJ held more than 650 youths in confinement; the figure now is 212. Over the same period, the number of young people in alternative placement has grown from six to nearly 130. (The remaining difference is owing, in part, to a general decline in crime by youths.) Also impressive: Last fall, 22 young people in DJJ’s care completed college courses — no mean feat for students who are not only removed from traditional school settings but who also, more often than not, face a variety of other challenges, from mental and emotional disorders to histories of physical abuse. And although the DJJ now holds some extremely troubled youths, the department has seen both staff grievances and worker’s-comp claims drop by more than two-thirds. What about recidivism? Not enough time has passed to allow for robust data on three-year re-offending rates. But re-arrest rates have dipped slightly — an encouraging sign. Clearly, the DJJ is doing something right. It has earned the trust of state lawmakers. They could demonstrate that trust by doing something Block is asking for: approving a regional facility in or near Hampton Roads, where a majority of its wards come from. Putting a smaller, less institutional facility in or near Hampton Roads (rather than have one giant facility in Richmond) would cut down on travel time for case workers — and for families, which often play a key role in rehabilitation. What’s more, it probably would be roughly revenue-neutral: A facility that was to have been built in Chesapeake never materialized, owing to local resistance — so placing one in Isle of Wight, which seems more receptive, should incur few new expenses. If legislators still aren’t sure whether the DJJ is doing good work these days, they might want to learn more about the constitution juvenile offenders wrote while incarcerated — a constitution Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed. A good place to start would be Block’s TED talk in Charlottesville. It’s available at goo.gl/domkrV.
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Virginia Correctional Association P. O. Box 13384 Richmond, Virginia 23225