|Mr. Weisz brought greetings on behalf of
Governor Hull and relayed her support for the conference and the work of the Commission on
Minorities. He spoke of the importance of prevention and front-end services for youth,
reminding participants of the Governor's words on previous occasions, that "sick kids
can't learn; hungry kids can't learn; abused kids can't learn; scared kids can't learn;
and discriminated kids can't learn."
Mr. Weisz stated that there has never been a more opportune time to address minority over-representation, as every branch of state government is currently looking at juvenile justice issues. All are crying out for prevention, including the police and sheriffs who are calling for more support for such prevention efforts as after school programs and boys and girls clubs
The administration is looking at diversity in state agency staffing and programs and reforming Arizona's juvenile detention centers.
|Mr. Weisz went on to describe many of Arizona's
ongoing initiatives, including the Department of Correction's mentoring program, the
Neighborhood Investment Initiative which is building infrastructure in at-risk communities
to prevent urban decay, and the Phoenix Violence Prevention Initiative which has produced
13 strategies to prevent violence.
Mr. Weisz applauded the participants for their
efforts and stated that the Governor is looking forward to the conference producing a
"blueprint" for addressing DMC in Arizona.
In the morning plenary session following opening remarks, Dr. James C. "Buddy" Howell, noted author and former Division Director for the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, discussed the history of the juvenile court and the history of minority youths' involvement with the court.
Dr. Howell's remarks were based in part on the Janiculum Project of the National Council
|of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).
The word Janiculum is from the Greek, meaning to look backward and forward at the
same time. The Janiculum project likewise examined the past and the future of the juvenile
court, and produced a set of 33 recommendations for improvement of the juvenile court as
an integral part of this country's justice system. The recommendations cover jurisdiction
and structure, juvenile court procedures and programming, and system accountability issues
(the full report, The Janiculum Project Recommendations, is available from the
One of the Janiculum report's programmatic recommendations states, "Services should address adequately the unmet needs of children of color. Minority offenders and non-offenders are over represented and under served in most juvenile justice systems. In general, over representation increases in each sequential stage of juvenile justice system processing. Therefore, all jurisdictions should assess whether or not this situation exists using an established methodology.