The Coalition for Juvenile Justice hired from within and made Marie Williams’ its executive director. Williams has led the 30-year-old, D.C.-based coalition of state advisory groups on juvenile justice since August, when its longtime executive director Nancy Gannon-Hornberger left to run Social Advocates for Youth San Diego.
Williams was CJJ’s deputy director before taking over on an interim basis, and led state strategies and status offender projects. CJJ members are groups appointed by governors in each state to monitor and help support state activities related to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).
Before joining CJJ, Williams served as director of policy and programs at Global Policy Solutions, which is focused on helping non-profits achieve social justice outcomes. She began working with young people more than fifteen years ago when she volunteered with the Poughkeepsie, (N.Y.) Police Department Juvenile Diversion Unit.
CJJ’s role in the field shifted in 2003, when the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ended its relationship with the organization. Up to that time, OJJDP had historically funded CJJ to convene the SAGs and produce annual reports on juvenile justice to the president and Congress, an action required by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.
CJJ continues to represent dues-paying SAG members, but the required reporting of the SAGs Washington is done internally through the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ), which was established in 2004 by then-OJJDP Administrator J. Robert Flores.
FACJJ used to include one delegate from each of the SAGs, but has recently been streamlined to include delegates that represent a region of states along with some experts not affiliated with the SAGs.
Wiliams take the helm amid some rumblings that legislation could move this year to reauthorize the JJDPA. CJJ and other groups have pushed for a version that would eliminate the ability of judges to use detention as a punishment for any status offense.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of the Chronicle of Social Change