A Message from DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles

Georgia DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles

Welcome to the website of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Our goal at DJJ is to protect the public and reclaim the lives of Georgia's juvenile offenders through our focus on education, prevention and rehabilitation. 
 
As Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice I am personally committed to excellence and I have committed this agency to providing effective intervention to improve the lives of the youth entrusted to our department. We want to strengthen Georgia families and communities and we look forward to making real changes in the lives of our young offenders. 
 
To achieve this goal we must give the full measure of our support to agency policies which enforce safety precautions, protocols and procedures all the time and at all our secure facilities. 
 
We know our youth must feel a sense of safety before they can become open to change in their lives. We also know our officers and staff likewise must feel safe and secure to effectively perform their duties. We know, without exception, if we have safer campuses, it means we have more successful campuses. 
 
So every day, more than 4,300 DJJ employees work behind the scenes at 97 community services offices and 26 juvenile detention facilities throughout Georgia to maintain the security of a population of felony juvenile offenders. 
 
We encourage our DJJ Team to stay on the cutting edge of juvenile justice best practices. From the executive level to individual caseworkers, leadership is expected from DJJ staff. Leadership in a juvenile justice career means keeping your moral compass on a true heading -- not just doing things right, but doing the right thing.
 
From the moment new Juvenile Corrections Officers put on DJJ uniforms, we urge them not only to look for ways to make the grade, but for ways to make a difference. We want to recruit great officers, but we start the process here by looking for great people. 
 
This team of dedicated public servants is responsible for providing the living examples and educational tools and opportunities our youth in custody need to make lasting, positive changes so they can learn for the first time to take constructive control of their own futures. 
 
DJJ staff members constantly seek to refine our existing outreach programs and to cultivate new ones that encourage youthful offenders to become successful members of society. By doing this, DJJ has achieved national status among other juvenile justice system models. Most Georgians are unaware the Department of Juvenile Justice is accredited as this state's 181st school district to provide stellar education and vocational training. 
 
We are grateful for assistance from law enforcement agencies, social service organizations and local community groups who routinely partner with us to preserve public safety and improve preparation for our youth to re-enter the community through vocational and transition training. 
 
Few Georgians realize that approximately 90 percent of the youth now entrusted to DJJ custody are known as "designated felons" who require constant and direct supervision because they are charged with serious crimes resulting in either bodily harm or physical damage to Georgia's law-abiding citizens. These "designated felons" now comprise most of the population in DJJ's long-term secure facilities. Sometimes the most dangerous of these juvenile offenders are committed to DJJ custody for several years. 
 
A career in juvenile justice is rarely easy, but it is always rewarding. This is why we appreciate DJJ officers and staff for their commitment and conviction, as well as their service and sacrifice. As Commissioner, I am personally committed to safeguarding our officers and staff who place themselves in harm's way every day to protect the citizens of the State of Georgia as they serve the needs of every community's troubled youth. 
 
 
Respectfully,
 
 
DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles