I couldn’t hide my disappointment. There she was on the program, Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler, the keynote speaker. What better person to address the several thousand attending the American Correctional Association conference in Denver last month? Are they kidding, I thought. What could she possibly share with correctional professionals that could increase our understanding on the important issues facing adult and juvenile corrections?
As an attorney and recently retired Deputy Commissioner of Operations for The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, it was disappointing that the new comprehensive Georgia juvenile code legislation failed to pass. Watching many well-intended professionals take years to finalize proposed legislation, only to see it fail due to questions regarding compromised provisions and lack of resources, was disappointing to say the least. To see a forward-thinking adult criminal justice package pass through the Georgia General Assembly within one year, should make all of us wonder about the real reasons for our joint disappointment this past session. It has been recently announced by Gov. Nathan Deal that juvenile justice will be the new focus of the Special Council on Criminal Justice, which was instrumental in bringing about those need reforms in the adult system. JUSTGeorgia, the coalition of advocates working for reform in the juvenile system, praised the governor’s move.