CHARLESTON, W.Va. (July 17, 2014) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the formation of the West Virginia Intergovernmental Task Force on Juvenile Justice, the first step of landmark, comprehensive review of West Virginia's juvenile justice system. The task force was formed through Executive Order No. 6-14. "Through our justice reinvestment efforts, we've learned data-driven and research-based programs can be successful," Gov. Tomblin said. "By bringing together those in the community and working with experts like Pew, we can work together to identify ways to best serve our young people and prepare them to become contributing members of our communities." Members of the task force will work with Pew Charitable Trusts to review West Virginia's juvenile justice system and data and develop system-level recommendations to improve outcomes for youth, families and communities, enhance accountability for juvenile offenders and the system and contain taxpayer costs by focusing resources on serious juvenile offenders. The task force is charged with developing and offering new policies in a cooperative effort of members from all branches of government as well as community leaders, representatives from local education systems, and parent advocates to review current date trends, evaluate the use of evidence-based programs in West Virginia, develop specific, tailored recommendations for improvements, and implement a common-sense approach to juvenile justice. The taskforce is chaired by the Governor or his designee and is comprised of 26 members, including the following:o Chief Justice Robin Davis,o Steve Canterbury, administrator of the West Virginia Supreme Court,o Stephanie Bond, director of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services, o Victoria Jones, commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Behavior Health and Health Facilities,o Nancy Exline, commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families,o Chuck Heinlein, superintendent of the West Virginia State Board of Education,o Dr. Carolyn Stuart, executive director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs,o John Bord, prosecuting attorney of Taylor County,o Vanessa Welch, juvenile public defender of Harrison County,o Chief Brent Webster of the Charleston Police Department,o Elaine Harris, Communications Workers of America representative of Kanawha County,o Rev. Matthew Watts, CEO of HOPE Community Development Corporation,o Kathy Smith, parent advocate of Barbour County,o Rick Jones, principal of John Marshall High Schoolo Judge Gary Johnson of Nicholas County,o Judge Omar Aboulhosn of Mercer County,o Judge Michael Lorensen of Berkeley County,o Cindy Largent Hill, director of the West Virginia Juvenile Justice Commission of Morgan Countyo Nikita Jackson, school-based juvenile probation officer of Cabell County.
Six members of the West Virginia Legislature also will serve on the taskforce. # # #