RD17 - Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice Data Resource Guide Fiscal Year 2013

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) provides services to juveniles and families by operating 32 court service units (CSUs); four juvenile correctional centers (JCCs), including the Reception and Diagnostic Center (RDC); and two halfway houses. DJJ audits and certifies 35 CSUs (including three locally-operated CSUs), 18 group homes, 24 juvenile detention centers (JDCs), four JCCs, two halfway houses. The Board of Juvenile Justice regulates and provides oversight for these programs and facilities. (Prior to September 2013, the Board of Juvenile Justice was responsible for the certification process.)

Agency Description

DJJ’s mission, vision, and values are the following:


DJJ protects the public by preparing court-involved youth to be successful citizens.


DJJ is committed to excellence in public safety by providing effective interventions that improve the lives of youth, strengthening both families and communities within the Commonwealth.


The values of DJJ are referred to as Knowledge and PRIDE:

Knowledge: We stay on the cutting edge of effective juvenile justice by keeping abreast of facts, information, data, and best practices as they become available. To achieve the agency’s mission, we apply this knowledge with competence according to laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. The youth, families, and communities we work with are our first priority.

Professionalism: As representatives and ambassadors of DJJ, we always adhere to our standards of conduct by behaving responsibly, appropriately, and with discipline.

Respect: We treat everyone equitably and impartially, recognizing the diversity of individuals and their viewpoints. We are aware of body language, tone, and words during our conversations. We acknowledge the issues of others and always strive for a clear solution. The “Golden Rule” is standard operating procedure: treat others the way you wish to be treated.

Integrity: We are honest, truthful, and non-judgmental in all our professional interactions. We follow policy and procedures and accept responsibility for our actions. Our decisions are ethical and always honor confidentiality.

Dedication: We are fully committed to fulfilling the agency’s mission. We serve as ambassadors of the agency, representing it with loyalty, enthusiasm, and perseverance. We can see the “big picture” and routinely make personal sacrifices for the good of the agency. We play as a team.

Effective Communication: We are good listeners. When we communicate with our clients, courts, customers, and colleagues, we do so clearly and concisely in a timely manner. Our communications are respectful, accurate, constructive, candid, and relevant, offering well-considered solutions.

To accomplish its mission, DJJ provides an integrated approach to juvenile justice. It brings together current research and best practices to better understand and modify delinquent behavior; to meet the needs of offenders, victims, and communities; and to manage activities and resources in a responsible and proactive manner.

DJJ responds to court-involved juveniles using a balanced approach that provides (i) protection of public safety by control of juveniles’ liberty through community supervision and secure confinement, (ii) a structured system of incentives and graduated sanctions in both community and direct care settings to ensure accountability for juveniles’ actions, and (iii) a variety of services and programs that build skills and competencies (e.g., substance abuse and aggression management treatment, support for academic and vocational education) to enable juveniles to become law-abiding members of the community upon release from DJJ’s supervision.

DJJ is committed to the principle that the greatest impact on juvenile offending may be realized by focusing resources on those juveniles with the highest risk of reoffending and by addressing the individual criminogenic risk factors that contribute to the initiation and continuation of delinquent behavior. Using a set of research and consensus-based instruments at different decision points within the juvenile justice system, DJJ classifies juveniles into different risk levels. These points include the initial decision to detain, the assignment to various levels of community probation or parole supervision, and the classification of committed juveniles to guide appropriate placement within the direct care setting.

In addition to matching the most intensive resources to those juveniles with the highest risk, DJJ recognizes that successful outcomes require services that are individualized to the needs of juveniles, families, and communities. Case-specific risk factors are assessed and addressed to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes. Issues implicated in juvenile offending include gang involvement, substance abuse, aggression, and school-related problems. The application of appropriate social control and sanctioning strategies such as electronic monitoring, drug screening, and various levels of supervision are also matched to the juvenile’s individualized circumstances. Incentives such as early release from supervision, extended curfew, and recreational outings with volunteers are used to reward success and improve the chances of long-term behavior change.

Over the past several years, DJJ has greatly enhanced its ability to effectively plan for and manage juveniles, programs, services, and other resources. DJJ designed an electronic data management system and uses the data generated and reported to better understand the juvenile population, activities in relation to those juveniles, and methods to become more effective and efficient. DJJ’s electronic data management system is comprised of modules covering the full range of direct care and community-based activities. DJJ’s philosophy is that sound management of public resources and adherence to its core mission are enhanced through data-based decision making.

While DJJ has the primary responsibility for many aspects of Virginia’s juvenile justice system, collaborative partnerships with state and local agencies and programs as well as private sector service providers are the cornerstone of DJJ’s integrated approach. Local governments and commissions operate secure JDCs and an array of services addressing each aspect of the balanced approach. Within each community, DJJ works with law enforcement, behavioral health providers, schools, social services, and other agencies. Securing services from private providers assists DJJ in meeting the needs of juveniles, their families, and communities. At the state level, DJJ works with other executive, legislative, and judicial branch agencies in a similar manner.

One such collaboration between DJJ and other state agencies is the Virginia Public Safety Training Center (VPSTC), which officially opened September 19, 2013. The VPSTC, located at the site of the repurposed Hanover JCC, is a full-service training facility that offers newly renovated classrooms, a gymnasium, conference space, and outdoor training areas. DJJ’s Director of Training and Development serves as the chief administrator of the VPSTC; the DJJ Training Academy is located on the grounds, providing training to all DJJ employees. The VPSTC also provides training and work space to other state agencies with a public safety or emergency preparedness mission. Partner agencies include the Virginia State Police and the Departments of Corrections, Emergency Management, Fire Programs, Forensic Science, Health, and Military Affairs.

Through the application of the integrated approach to juvenile justice, DJJ continues to make a difference in the lives of citizens and communities across the Commonwealth. DJJ strives to improve and meet the changing demands of juvenile justice through responsible resource management, performance accountability, and sound intervention strategies.