Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center held an awards ceremony Nov. 12 honoring post-adjudicated youth and recognizing their completion of the fall 2021 training programs.
Joseph Dominick, executive director of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center, began the ceremony by welcoming guests and juvenile justice stakeholders from the 21st and 22nd Judicial Districts. He shared a brief history of the center that opened in 1994.
“FPJDC has primarily been a place of pre-trial detention for youth requiring secure placement. In late 2018, we recognized the need to provide long-term placement space for youth, as many kids were awaiting state placement. With that in mind, I knew we needed something to keep our kids closer to home once they were adjudicated and received their sentence. The research shows that when families remain engaged in a child’s rehabilitation, the outcomes are more successful,” he stated.
“Continuously improving and providing a better way to facilitate family involvement is always at the forefront of our work, and having a facility close to home versus out-of-state could help provide a different future outcome for students,” he said.
The Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice Commission and Dominick worked to develop a longterm, or post-adjudicated program, that could house youth who had been adjudicated delinquent. The center’s long-term program has housed 52 youth in the short time of its operation, and 33 of these youth received their high school diploma while working the program, he said.
As students became more successful at completing such a tremendous feat, FPJDC wanted to push them further to help them obtain a higher education degree and skills training while in the program, he said.
“As a partnership with Northshore Technical Community College developed, the opportunity for our students to receive certifications and skills training that would help build their career choices would now be available,” he said.
Chancellor William Wainwright of Northshore Technical College said, “Education plays a vital role in rehabilitation. Northshore Technical Community College is honored to work closely with judges, community leaders, and the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center administration and faculty to aid in the development and transformation of our youth through the power of education. This collaboration will ensure the long-term strength of families and communities.”
The commission is an eight-member board appointed by the judges and district attorneys from within the parishes of Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany and Washington. The commission oversees the affairs of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice District, its executive director, and the operation of the detention center. The facility has 133 beds, is opened 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, and houses youth from 10-17 years old accused of committing misdemeanor or felony grade offenses.
The center staffs approximately 100 employee with jobs in detention security, counseling, nursing, maintenance and food services, with most of the positions involving around-the-clock shift work.