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Court officials chosen for juvenile justice program

January 1, 2008
Indiana's largest county has been chosen to join six other states in a series of leadership-development workshops to study juvenile justice reform nationally.

On May 13, the non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation selected Marion Superior Juvenile Magistrate Gary Chavers and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Chris Ball to participate in the program because of their work recently on juvenile detention alternatives. For the past two years, the county has been Indiana's only site participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI), which has helped reduce the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center's population and enable more efficiency in the local system.

Both Ball and Magistrate Chavers - who serve under Marion Superior Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores - co-chair the local JDAI Steering Committee, which is designed to reduce incarceration rates for all juveniles and address disproportionate detainment of minorities. The two applied for the inaugural series called the Applied Leadership Network after being recommended by Judge Frank Orlando, an internationally recognized consultant for juvenile justice reforms who served on the bench in Florida and helped establish JDAI more than a decade ago.

Judge Orlando suggested them because of an Initial Hearing Court developed to determine if court involvement is necessary, the creation of an off-site reception center that addresses low-level juvenile criminal and status offenses, and a risk-assessment instrument similar to an adult bail matrix that evaluates the need for juvenile detention through a scoring system.

Other participants include juvenile justice officials from Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia.

Read more about Marion County juvenile justice reforms, and those happening statewide, in the May 14-27, 2008, edition of Indiana Lawyer or at www.theindianalawyer.com.
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