New Juvenile Justice Database in Georgia Puts Pieces of Puzzle in One Place

With the goal of presenting “the most current and accurate juvenile crime data available,” Georgia’s Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF) launched a new website this week. The Georgia Juvenile Justice Data Clearinghouse aggregates data from multiple partners such as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

“It’s a way to synthesize the information so people can look at it and say, ‘OK, this is what we’ve got,’” said Joe Vignati, director of Justice Programs at GOCF.

“You’ve got pieces of the puzzle all over the place,” Vignati said. And not all counties are able to report their data yet. In fact, one county, Vignati said, is still using paper records.

Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal, was the inaugural visitor to the website a few days ago. After signing on, she said, “I am confident that this effort will go a long ways in helping improve outcomes for Georgia’s Youth, “said Mrs. Deal.

The site is broken into three main sections: Reports and Dashboards, Interactive Map and Pre-made Maps, each providing multiple ways of exploring the data from spreadsheets to pie charts.

Award Winner Joe Vignati on Juvenile Justice in Georgia

Center for Sustainable Journalism Executive Director Leonard Witt caught up with Joe Vignati of the Georgia Governor’s Office on Children and Families at the Coalition on Juvenile Justice 2011 spring conference.  Vignati was awarded the Tony Gobar Outstanding Juvenile Justice Specialist Award.  In this video interview Vignati provides insights for policy makers and legislators.  




Beyond Scared Straight: Experts Alarmed by New Show and Impact on Kids

Seventeen cocky teenagers are about to get a wakeup call. They’re locked inside Rahway State Prison in New Jersey, with a group of inmates who call themselves the “Lifers.” These are guys doing 25 years to life for serious crimes like murder and armed robbery. Their job is to scare these troubled kids away from a life of crime by showing them the reality and the horror of prison. They call the program “Scared Straight!” For the next few hours, the Lifers will yell and curse at these kids. They push them around and get in their faces.

Juvenile Justice Forum Encourages Agency Collaboration

It was a chance meeting, but highly impactful. Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Garland Hunt struck up what he expected to be a casual conversation on an elevator Tuesday. It turns out the man alongside him worked as a prosecutor in the state and had a lot to say to the newly appointed DJJ chief. “He told me that ‘I know you all want to help out the (incarcerated) kids, but I get to see the victims every day,” says Hunt, who took his post in May. “Don’t forget the victims too.’ I think it was great for me to have that conversation; to be reminded of that fact and to keep that in the forefront of my mind as I make decisions every day.”

Such dialogue – and more importantly creating an opportunity for representatives from various agencies across the state to communicate and collaborate formally and informally – was at the heart of a Juvenile Justice Forum held this week at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Buford.