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Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy Nominates Jennifer LeBaron as Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Dr. Jennifer LeBaron to serve as Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC). Dr. LeBaron has served as the Acting Executive Director of the JJC since 2019. Her nomination will be sent to the Senate for confirmation.

“I am proud to nominate Dr. Jennifer Lebaron to serve as Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission,” said Governor Murphy. “She has demonstrated a staunch commitment to improving outcomes for young people involved with the juvenile justice system throughout her tenure. She is a true trailblazer of juvenile justice reform and has dedicated over 20 years of her life to public service. I am confident that Jennifer will continue to be a steadfast advocate for justice-involved youth, their families, and their communities.”

"Dr. LeBaron has dedicated over two decades of public service to the youth of our state, and has offered tremendous leadership throughout her tenure as Acting Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission,” said Attorney General Platkin. “I thank Governor Murphy for recognizing her outstanding work by nominating Dr. LeBaron for confirmation.  She is precisely the person needed to continue New Jersey’s trailblazing work as a national leader on juvenile justice reform. I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of Dr. LeBaron’s nomination.” 

“I am deeply honored to be nominated by Governor Murphy to serve in this leadership position. Youth justice reform and working on behalf of young people is my life’s work, and as a career Juvenile Justice Commission employee and public servant, I am eager to continue the vital work of developing opportunities and policies that improve outcomes for justice-impacted youth,” said Dr. LeBaron.  “Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done, as we strive to open doors for youth, eliminate racial disparities, and strengthen our partnerships with families and communities.”

Dr. LeBaron has been with the JJC since 1998, serving in numerous leadership roles, focusing on program and policy development, research and evaluation, launching new initiatives, and collaborating with various reform experts and entities throughout the state to effect informed change within juvenile justice. As Deputy Executive Director of Policy, Research, and Planning, Dr. LeBaron served as an advisor to the Executive Director on all matters pertaining to the agency’s policy agenda, spanning all operational offices, divisions, and units. She formulates positions and recommendations regarding legislation, regulations, and rules and oversees the completion of research and data analysis required to support the Commission’s stance on matters affecting the agency. She also directs new initiatives designed to enhance the Commission’s capacity to effectively care for the youth in its custody and to improve the overall functioning of the juvenile justice system statewide. She also serves as Co-Chair of the New Jersey Council on Juvenile Justice System Improvement.

Dr. LeBaron previously served as the Commission’s Director of Local Programs & Services, overseeing the development, enhancement, and funding of local continuums of juvenile justice services. Dr. LeBaron has been responsible for leading the implementation of JDAI since its launch in 2004. In this critical role, managing the day-to-day operations of JDAI, Dr. LeBaron has achieved many advancements, proving to be a trailblazer in juvenile justice reform. During her tenure, New Jersey was named the only state Model Site for JDAI by the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Dr. LeBaron then worked to develop and implement a two-day training curriculum for delegations from visiting states to assist in their efforts to bring detention reform to scale statewide. Over the course of her career, Dr. LeBaron has prepared training curricula, written user’s guides and manuals, conducted comprehensive staff training, carried out quality assurance reviews, developed assessment tools and case planning processes, and conducted the empirical and qualitative evaluation of various programs.

Dr. LeBaron received a B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University. Dr. LeBaron is the recipient of two NJ Attorney General Awards for Excellence in Innovation, the W. Haywood Burns Institute’s Courageous Leadership Award, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Juvenile Detention Reform. 

For a picture of Dr. LeBaron, click here.