Former Casey Youth Council Member Appointed to Virginia’s Juvenile Justice Board

Posted October 6, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Jjblog formercaseyyouthcouncil 2017

Vir­ginia Gov­er­nor Ter­ry McAu­li­ffe has appoint­ed a for­mer Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion youth part­ner­ship con­sul­tant, Quwan­isha Hines Roman, to the state’s nine-mem­ber Board of Juve­nile Justice.

Roman — who, as a teenag­er, expe­ri­enced juve­nile deten­tion — will serve a four-year term on the board, which over­sees the Vir­ginia Depart­ment of Juve­nile Jus­tice and, among oth­er respon­si­bil­i­ties, issues reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing the department’s operations.

I want to be part of the pos­i­tive path that Vir­ginia is fol­low­ing now,” says Roman, an ardent cham­pi­on of pre­ven­tion, diver­sion and com­mu­ni­ty-based alter­na­tives to deten­tion. The sys­tem can be com­pas­sion­ate and cre­ative and, as impor­tant­ly, treat its young peo­ple like reg­u­lar ado­les­cents, not criminals.”

Roman con­sult­ed with the Casey Foun­da­tion while she was attend­ing law school. She passed the bar exam in 2016 and now works for a legal ser­vices firm in Rich­mond, Virginia.

Quwan­isha will strength­en the Board with her thought­ful­ness about juve­nile jus­tice reform, bright young legal mind and lived expe­ri­ence,” said Nate Balis, the direc­tor of the Foundation’s Juve­nile Jus­tice Strat­e­gy Group. He worked with Roman dur­ing her tenure on Casey’s Youth Advi­so­ry Coun­cil.

As a Casey Youth Advi­so­ry Coun­cil mem­ber, Roman worked to launch a stu­dent gov­ern­ment in Virginia’s two juve­nile cor­rec­tion cen­ters: Bön Air and the now-closed Beau­mont. In this role, she lis­tened to young people’s ideas and con­cerns and helped shape their rec­om­men­da­tions to the department.

Quwan­isha, through the expe­ri­ences of her youth — as well as the work she has done with Casey — brings a crit­i­cal­ly valu­able per­spec­tive to the work,” says Andy Block, direc­tor of Virginia’s Depart­ment of Juve­nile Jus­tice. We are so lucky to have her on our board.”

Roman’s work with Casey also exposed her to reform-ori­ent­ed juve­nile jus­tice ini­tia­tives across the coun­try and con­nect­ed her to orga­ni­za­tions like the Youth Tran­si­tion Fun­ders Group, a nation­al net­work of fun­ders that sup­ports the well-being and eco­nom­ic suc­cess of vul­ner­a­ble youth. With the Youth Tran­si­tion Fun­ders Group, Roman vis­it­ed the Los Ange­les-based Home­boy Indus­tries, which pro­vides job train­ing and free social ser­vices to men and women who were pre­vi­ous­ly incar­cer­at­ed or involved with a gang.

Direct­ly wit­ness­ing the nonprofit’s suc­cess was inspir­ing, she says. My goal is to advo­cate for inter­ven­tions that work and to be open to learn­ing more about what oth­er juris­dic­tions are doing.”

Read about Virginia’s juve­nile jus­tice transformation

Read Nate Balis’ opin­ion piece in the Virginian-Pilot

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