DJJ Newsbriefs, Vol. 14, December 24, 2020

AmeriCorps Justice Navigators Complete Inaugural Year

Last February 25 in Los Angeles, 40 formerly justice involved youth raised their hands are were pledged to serve their communities as California Justice Leaders, following a month of training. Their task as Navigators, mentoring other justice-involved youth, including those at DJJ, to access reentry resources within the community. Ultimately, the goal is to help those youth to apply for Honorable Discharge, an official designation of the Board of Juvenile Hearings which can remove barriers to housing and employment.

California Justice Leaders and DJJ Navigators
California Justice Leaders and DJJ Navigators upon pledging a year of public service in Los Angeles last February 25.

At a ceremony held in Stockton in December, some of the AmeriCorps members participated in a graduation ceremony which marked the end of the 11 month AmeriCorps commitment. Several members signed up for second year’s tour, and applications are now being accepted for the next cohort.

The program is about to embark on the second year of a three year grant, a cooperative effort amongst DJJ, Impact Justice and California Volunteers. The new cohort members each will complete 905 hours of service, about 22 hours per week, will be paid a $1,727 monthly stipend and upon completion of their term, be eligible to apply for a $3,047 grant for educational expenses. 

New Course on LGBTQI awareness set for 2021

DJJ is preparing to roll out a new training for staff in 2021 entitled “Working with LGBTI youth in DJJ Facilities.” This training was designed for DJJ by Just Detention International in partnership with Cal-CASA (the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault) funded partially through Cal OES. The three-hour training covers a variety of topics specifically tailored to address the needs of youth, instilling a supportive “culture of care” and to ensure that staff are given the tools necessary to assist LGBTI youth prepare youth for a healthy transition back to the community. “We’re excited and pleased that CPOST has approved this course curricula,” said Dr. Jonathan Yip, associate director of mental health services, “This course will go a long way towards helping staff adapt to the needs of our most vulnerable youth.” The course includes modules: Basics about LGBTI Youth; LGBTI Youth in Detention; PREA Standards and DJJ Policies around LGBTI Youth and; Working with LGBTI Youth.

Pine Grove Update

The 2020 California fire season has lingered into December and two Pine Grove firefighting hand crews were deployed to the Airport Fire in the Chino area near the border of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The remote location required that the teams be airlifted in and out of the fire zone daily by helicopter as whipping Santa Ana winds made the fire unpredictable and dangerous. Pine Grove youth firefighters have been deployed to incidents in Napa, Butte, Madera, and Riverside and San Bernardino counties this year. Thanks for our young heroes who put their lives on the line to save lives and property from devastating wildfires.

Holiday Spirit is Alive at DJJ

Traditions fell by the wayside this year, as COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of traditional DJJ holiday events, such as the presentation of wreaths to the Amador County business districts by Pine Grove Youth, as well as the traditional breakfast served between first and second watch to staff at the Stockton complex by Executive Staff. But new traditions were born, and the holiday spirit of giving lived on at DJJ. At the Stockton complex, Deacon Fidel Carrillo spearheaded a wildly successful Taco Tuesday, setting up tents with volunteers outside to safely serve staff a much deserved and delicious holiday meal. In Ventura and the Stockton complex, the talent and creativity of youth was on full display as holiday decorations brightened living units—and spirits.

Deacon Fidel Carrillo and volunteers at the Stockton complex.
Staff await a tasty Taco Tuesday treat courtesy of Deacon Fidel Carrillo and volunteers at the Stockton complex.
Staff at the Stockton complex await a tasty taco lunch.
Staff at the Stockton complex await a tasty taco lunch.
Eliza Jackson
Eleeza Jackson, from Case Services at Ventura gets into the holiday spirit vibe.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, at DJJ

With apologies to Clement C. Moore, author of The Night Before Christmas, c. 1823.

Holiday tree and presents

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the house…

Holiday decor

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Holiday faux fireplace decor

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

Holiday ribbon tree with santa

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there….

Holiday packaging

The children were all nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced their heads.

Holiday table decorations

When up from the roof there came such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.  

Holiday lighted decor

When what do my wondering eye shall appear? A miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

Holiday boxy train

He said not a word but went straight to his work.

Holiday grinch decor 1

Wait a minute–wrong poem–a right Grinchy jerk?

Holiday grinch decor 1

…and I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight…

merry christmas sacramento decor

Merry Christmas to all!

holiday giant tree decor

And to all a good Night!

Holiday candy cane decor

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Winter Solstice, or whatever you celebrate this holiday season!