Monday, October 5, 2009

National Group Honors CDCR's Director of Juvenile Justice

Warner Named "Outstanding Administrator of the Year"

SACRAMENTO - A nationwide organization dedicated to correctional programs for incarcerated youth has named the Chief Deputy Secretary of California's Division of Juvenile Justice as its "Outstanding Administrator of the Year."

Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), received the award on October 3, during the annual conference for the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) in Chicago.

"This award provides national recognition of California's excellent progress in reforming its juvenile justice program, which now emphasizes rehabilitation through evidence-based treatment and counseling," said Matthew Cate, Secretary for Corrections and Rehabilitation. "This is an acknowledgement of Mr. Warner's steadfast commitment to reforming the DJJ system in a lasting way."

Warner was presented the award "in recognition of his commitment to the council and his leadership of the organization as its president over the last year," said Kim Godfrey, Deputy Director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.

"He engaged all of the members and improved our agenda for working with troubled youth," said Godfrey, "and there is nothing better than recognition from your peers for that work."

"In addition to his duties with the council, Mr. Warner has made extraordinary progress in reforming California's juvenile justice system, which has become more humane in addressing the individual needs of these troubled youths," said Edward Loughran, Executive Director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and former Commissioner of the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. "There is a collective effort by staff under Mr. Warner's leadership to address those needs first and foremost and on a day-to-day basis."

Warner, a 27-year veteran of administering juvenile justice programs in Florida, Arizona and Washington, was appointed Chief Deputy Secretary of CDCR's Division of Juvenile Justice in 2005. Since that time, he had led a reformation of the state's juvenile justice program, including the development of remedial plans covering safety and welfare, education, mental health services, health care and sexual behavior treatment and accommodating offenders with disabilities. According to the most recent progress report filed with the Alameda Superior Court, which supervises the state's efforts, the Division of Juvenile Justice has completed 79 percent of more than 6,000 mandated policy and program changes and is in partial compliance with another six percent.

Youth committed to the DJJ represent less than one percent of the 225,000 young offenders arrested in California each year, but have the most violent criminal backgrounds and severe treatment needs that cannot be addressed by county programs. Forty percent of DJJ's youth require mental health treatment, 58 percent are in need of substance abuse treatment, 22 percent require treatment for sexual behavior offenses and 28 percent have special education needs. Nonetheless, over the last four years, there has been a 300 percent increase in the number of DJJ youth who have reached some form of educational achievement, including high school diplomas or GED's or vocational and continuing education certificates and enrollment in college courses.

The Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators is a national, non-profit organization formed in 1994 to improve state and local correctional services for youth, and promoting practices that will help them succeed when they return to the community. Based in Braintree, Mass., the organization provides education and research to administrators and policy makers of juvenile justice programs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and in major metropolitan counties.