The Foundation Taps Two for its JDAI Distinguished System Leadership Award

Posted November 16, 2015, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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Steven David, a jus­tice on the Indi­ana Supreme Court, and Deb­o­rah Hodges, court admin­is­tra­tor for the Lucas Coun­ty, Ohio Juve­nile Court, are long-time cham­pi­ons of the Juve­nile Deten­tion Alter­na­tives Ini­tia­tive (JDAI) and have embed­ded reform in their juris­dic­tions and made last­ing change. For these efforts, both received the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s JDAI Dis­tin­guished Sys­tem Lead­er­ship Award.

The JDAI Dis­tin­guished Sys­tem Lead­er­ship Award was estab­lished in 2014 as the high­est hon­or the Foun­da­tion bestows on a sys­tem stake­hold­er (indi­vid­ual or team) cur­rent­ly work­ing in a JDAI site. Its recip­i­ents are dis­tin­guished in their careers and serve as ambas­sadors for JDAI in their sites and states as well as with­in the JDAI net­work. The award rec­og­nizes stake­hold­ers who make excel­lent use of data to dri­ve deci­sions and who inno­vate and engage tra­di­tion­al and non-tra­di­tion­al part­ners in the reform agenda.

Jus­tice David is one of Indiana’s staunchest sup­port­ers of JDAI. As a result of Jus­tice David’s lead­er­ship, JDAI in Indi­ana enjoys back­ing from all three branch­es of gov­ern­ment and is con­sid­ered Indiana’s plat­form for con­tin­u­ous juve­nile jus­tice improve­ment. Nine­teen coun­ties in the state par­tic­i­pate in JDAI, a num­ber expect­ed to grow much fur­ther in the next few years. In pre­sent­ing the award to him, Gail D. Mum­ford, a senior asso­ciate at the Foun­da­tion, attrib­uted this to Jus­tice David’s com­mit­ment to enhanc­ing the lives of chil­dren and fam­i­lies that come into con­tact with the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem, improv­ing pub­lic safe­ty, sav­ing tax­pay­er dol­lars and pur­su­ing eth­nic, racial and gen­der equi­ty. Mum­ford said to Jus­tice David, It’s easy to rave about the ways you’ve tak­en up lead­er­ship to advance deten­tion reform in Indi­ana, but none of those things trump the absolute­ly kind heart you pos­sess, your love of the law and jus­tice and your dignity.”

Deb­o­rah Hodges (pic­tured above with Bart Lubow and Nate Balis), the sec­ond awardee, leads JDAI in Lucas Coun­ty as well as the county’s expand­ed focus of JDAI to safe­ly reduc­ing state com­mit­ments and oth­er out-of-home place­ments. She is renowned for her pas­sion, com­mit­ment to doing the right thing for youth and fideli­ty to the initiative’s core strate­gies. As a result of her lead­er­ship, Lucas Coun­ty has reduced its aver­age dai­ly pop­u­la­tion of youth in deten­tion, increased its use of com­mu­ni­ty sup­ports and improved case pro­cess­ing in juve­nile court. Its JDAI sys­tem stake­hold­ers are devel­op­ing objec­tive pro­ba­tion deci­sion mak­ing tools and col­lab­o­rat­ing with com­mu­ni­ty-based reform advo­cates and ser­vice providers. She is lead­ing efforts to insti­tu­tion­al­ize a com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment steer­ing com­mit­tee to sus­tain data-dri­ven pol­i­cy and prac­tice change in Lucas Coun­ty. In pre­sent­ing the award to Hodges, Beth A. Oprisch, JDAI nation­al train­ing man­ag­er with the Pre­tri­al Jus­tice Insti­tute and for­mer Ohio JDAI State Coor­di­na­tor, said, We learn day one in JDAI that com­mit­ted, ded­i­cat­ed and inten­tion­al lead­er­ship mat­ters. You lead with intel­li­gence, integri­ty, and com­pas­sion. Your ener­gy is con­ta­gious and your work is tireless.”

The Casey Foun­da­tion bestowed four awards to results-dri­ven and strate­gic reform­ers — David and Hodges includ­ed — whose stead­fast ded­i­ca­tion to deten­tion reform has improved the lives of youth. The awardees’ work exem­pli­fies some of JDAI’s best attrib­ut­es: con­tin­u­ous improve­ment, cross-fer­til­iza­tion of ideas and a per­son­al com­mit­ment to improv­ing the lives of court-involved young people.

David and Hodges each received their award in front of an enthu­si­as­tic and appre­cia­tive audi­ence of peers at the JDAI Inter-Site Con­fer­ence in Phoenix.

Read about the win­ners of the Jenk­ins and Bimel awards

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