Justice Department Presents Awards in Juvenile Justice

Oct 14, 2011, 08:45 ET from Department of Justice

Three individuals, one organization recognized for outstanding work to improve the lives of at-risk youth

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) today presented awards to three individuals and one organization for outstanding leadership in the juvenile justice field and for their efforts to improve the lives of young people and their communities.

"These juvenile justice practitioners, civil servants, community members and organizations, and youth themselves have made extraordinary efforts to prevent delinquency and improve public safety," said Jeff Slowikowski, OJJDP Acting Administrator.  He presented the following awards at OJJDP's national conference:

Donn Davis Public Service Award: Recognizes a public servant for his or her significant contributions to the juvenile justice system and the lives of young people. This award commemorates Donn Davis, a former OJJDP program manager, whose legacy spanned four decades of heart-felt service to young people in Maryland and his community.

  • Recipient: Stephanie Glass coordinates the Lake County (Florida) Teen Court. Glass has greatly expanded the scope of the teen court and has researched and implemented a number of innovative and effective alternative programs to divert first-time juvenile offenders from the juvenile justice system. Through the initiatives that Glass has introduced in the court, young offenders, 10 to 17 years old, learn about the consequences of their offending behavior and are given a chance to become more engaged in their community.

Organization of the Year Award: Recognizes a group that provides leadership, coordination, or resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and/or victimization in their community and improve the juvenile justice system. These organizations must be community-based and may be faith-based, non-profit, or for-profit.

  • Recipient: Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action (CAPPA), in Williamsport, Pa.  CAPPA is a non-profit youth intervention and development program that helps participating youth improve their life skills, increase their feelings of self worth, decrease their self-destructive behavior, and make life-changing decisions.  CAPPA received this award because of the breadth of services they provide and the audiences that they reach. CAPPA's programs resulted in 75 percent of participating youth improving their grade point average, 50 percent improving their social competence, and 33 percent improving their school attendance.

Overcoming Adversity Youth Award: Recognizes the efforts of an exemplary young person who overcomes adversity and makes significant contributions to his or her community and the lives of others. Candidates must be younger than 18 years old.

  • Recipient: De Shaun Bennett, of North Little Rock, Ark., for his inner strength, determination, ambition, sound character, leadership skills, and willingness to give back to his community.  De Shaun grew up in a neighborhood where drug and alcohol abuse were prevalent. His father was a drug dealer in Arkansas and was on the Arkansas 10 Most Wanted List. He was murdered when De Shaun was 11 years old.  De Shaun helps daily with many of the household duties, including caring for his younger brothers and sisters and his disabled grandmother, and he contributes financially to the household. He also extends this helpful spirit to his community, where he has volunteered at a local hospital, participated in Race for the Cure, and fed needy families. Over the past 4 years, he has volunteered for more than 1,000 hours of community service.  In North Little Rock High School, where he recently graduated with honors, he was voted class president for all 4 years and student body president during his senior year, and he served on the student council. He was named the 2011 Boys & Girls Clubs of Arkansas Youth of the Year, the highest honor a club member can achieve.  During his high school career, he earned a varsity letter in wrestling and football and was a member of several clubs and the school's marching band.  De Shaun will attend Morehouse College this fall on a full scholarship.  

Spirit of OJJDP Award: Recognizes an adult (18 years or older) who embodies the spirit of giving and service, with an emphasis on assisting and improving the lives of youth.  

  • Recipient: Rachel Lloyd, the founder and director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), for her selfless spirit of giving and service while improving the lives of youth.  In 1998, with only $30 and a laptop, she founded GEMS, the largest commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) agency in the United States for victims 12-24 years old, and the only CSEC agency operating in New York City.  The program services the victims' emotional, physical, psychological needs and assists in providing economic stability, education, and transition opportunities as they transition from victims to survivors.  Lloyd is a nationally recognized expert on the issue of child sex trafficking in America and a CSEC survivor herself.  When not presenting nationally on CSEC issues, she spends much of her time working with young women in detention centers and group homes to do outreach and prevention.  Her work has helped to establish CSEC laws in several states and her memoir, Girls Like Us, is helping to shift perceptions of CSEC victims and raise awareness of their issues.  

OJP, headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.

SOURCE Department of Justice