Phoenix, Arizona - As the agency charged with serving one of the state’s most at-risk populations, the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC) is making significant strides in carrying out its mission of rehabilitating delinquent youth to become productive law abiding members of society.
Governor Ducey saw the innovative programs taking place first-hand as he toured ADJC Wednesday afternoon.
Between 2016 and 2018, more than 50 percent of juveniles released by the department did not recidivate with a new offense. Through proactive services including behavioral health treatment, career training and educational opportunities, ADJC has taken deliberate steps to provide an opportunity for success for all juveniles in the department’s care. Examples include:
- Promoting a Positive Educational Environment. Adobe Mountain School is the department’s school for juveniles to attend while at ADJC. Adobe Mountain School’s educational programming focuses on the individualized needs of students. Students can earn credits through courses as well as the ability to earn additional credits through the credit recovery program, which allows students to catch up with their peers and earn a diploma or GED. Youth also have the opportunity to participate in tutoring and mentoring programs through a partnership with Grand Canyon University.
- Partnering in the Community to Reduce Recidivism. ADJC Transition Specialists, Parole Officers, and Adobe Mountain School staff partner with community organizations, including AZ@Work, OCJ Kids, Goodwill of Southern Arizona, Boys and Girls Club in Southern Arizona, St. Mary’s Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul and more, to ensure that the treatment, programming, health, and education needs of the youth in the department's care will continue to be met after release.
- Rehabilitating and Treating the Needs of Youth. The department’s staff of licensed mental health professionals, clinicians, and trained case managers provide youth with high-quality evidence-based behavioral treatment services. In addition, youth have the opportunity to participate in weekly religious services, special holiday celebrations, sports, student council, arts and clubs, and community service.
- Providing an Opportunity for Success. In 2018, Governor Ducey signed HB 2365 into law allowing youth who are charged with a crime to stay in the juvenile court system until they reach age 19. Extended jurisdiction provides youth the opportunity to continue receiving the rehabilitative treatment and services available in the juvenile justice system and helps youth avoid an adult criminal conviction.
In addition, through the Arizona Management System, ADJC continues to focus on achieving constant, data-driven improvements. As one example, in 2016, ADJC recorded over 45 workplace injuries resulting in over 1,900 days of lost productivity. By improving signage and staff communication, the department saw a 43 percent reduction in workplace injuries and a 54 percent reduction in lost days in 2017 compared to 2016.