Alabama’s juvenile justice system may soon see some improvements following a comprehensive review by a group of legislators, judges, law enforcement officials and others.
Gov. Kay Ivey‘s office announced the formation of an inter-branch, bipartisan Juvenile Justice Task Force on Tuesday. The 22 member group has been charged with performing a comprehensive, data-driven review of Alabama’s juvenile justice system and coming to consensus on policy recommendations that protect public safety, hold youth accountable, control costs, and improve outcomes for youth, families and communities.
“I am committed to improving public safety outcomes from our state’s juvenile justice system,” said Ivey. “This Task Force will build on what is working well in our state and improve what is not.”
Formed by Ivey, Chief Justice Lyn Stuart, Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, and Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, the Task Force will conduct its assessment of the state’s system by reviewing data from the courts and state agencies, collecting input from stakeholders from across the state, considering strategies tested in other states, and examining how the Alabama system can better align with research about what works best to improve juvenile justice outcomes.
“Alabama does many things right in juvenile justice already,” said Chief Justice Stuart. “However, there is more to be done, and I have faith that the Task Force will come together to carefully review what works in juvenile justice and develop solutions that will keep Alabama communities safe and put youth on the right track.”
They group will submit a report of their findings and recommendations to state leadership in December with findings and recommendations for consideration during the 2018 legislative session.
“Our Task Force is charged with finding ways Alabama can improve our efforts to protect public safety by preventing juvenile crime,” explained Ward. “Working together, we can make sure our state is getting the best return on Alabama taxpayer dollars by focusing our system on strategies that achieve better results for youth, families, and communities.”
McCutcheon says the task force will help bring Alabama “into the next chapter of how our state serves its most troubled youth.”
“The Task Force is committed to developing data-driven options to help put these youth on a path to productive citizenship,” added McCutcheon.
The membership of the Task Force includes:
- Judge Bob Bailey, 15th Judicial Circuit
- Daryl Bailey, District Attorney, Montgomery County
- Gar Blume, Blume & Blume Attorneys at Law, PC
- Sonny Brasfield, Association of County Commissions of Alabama
- Christy Cain, Executive Director, Alabama Children First
- Derrick Cunningham, Sheriff, Montgomery County
- Senator Vivian Davis Figures, District 33
- Representative Jim Hill, District 50
- Governor Kay Ivey, or designee
- Judge Adrian Johnson, 2nd Judicial Circuit
- Representative Mike Jones, District 92
- Steven Lafreniere, Director, Department of Youth Services
- Jim Loop, Deputy Director, Department of Human Resources
- Speaker Mac McCutcheon, House of Representatives, or designee
- Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, or designee
- Cary McMillan, Director, Family Court Division, Administrative Office of Courts
- Jim Perdue, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health
- Lyn Stuart, Chief Justice, Alabama Supreme Court
- Senator Cam Ward, District 14
- Kay Atchinson Warfield, Department of Education
The Task Force will receive technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts.