Governor-Elect Nathan Deal has nominated Amy Howell as the next Commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice. She will be the first woman to ever lead the agency. Howell is a DJJ veteran, an attorney who currently serves as Deputy Commissioner. She is slated to replace Commissioner Garland Hunt in mid-January. DJJ Board members who must approve the appointment, got the word this morning by email. Howell is a long-time child advocate. She was hired at DJJ by then-Commissioner Albert Murray, who promoted her within the agency. Amy Howell is an alumna of the Barton Clinic at Emory University, where she started in 2002 as an Equal Justice Works fellow, and became Managing Attorney of the Southern Juvenile Defender Center. According to the Barton website, Howell helped develop protocols for pre-trial mental health assessment, detention alternative policies, and public education on the juvenile justice system. She has written a manual called “Representing the Whole Child: A Juvenile Defender Training Manual.”
Howell is also past president of the Young Lawyer’s Division of the State Bar of Georgia. Before she became a lawyer, Howell taught elementary school and worked with special needs and gifted children in North Carolina. She got her BA from Connecticut College and her JD from Temple University.