|SEA GIRT - The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) today graduated its 28th class of law enforcement officers. Felix Mickens, JJC’s Deputy Executive Director of Operations, and Michael Cleary, Director of the JJC’s Training Academy, presented each of the 17 graduates with badges and certificates. JJC Executive Director Kevin M. Brown presented the keynote graduation address, honoring Director Cleary for his service to the Academy, which Cleary has directed since its inception in 1999.
Each JJC corrections graduate completed a 17-week training course that included firearms training, first aid/CPR, use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED), physical training, the history of the family court and juvenile justice system in New Jersey, and defensive tactics.
“I wish to congratulate those individuals who have completed the vigorous preparation to be Juvenile Justice Commission Correction Officers,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “Each correction officer graduate has made a commitment to play a critical role in the rehabilitation of young lives. This challenging profession requires dedication and perseverance. I thank them for their commitment to the young people whose lives they impact every day and for the service they provide to the residents of this state whose safety we are charged to protect.”
In 1999, the JJC was authorized by the Police Training Commission to take over the training of juvenile correctional officers. It was previously handled by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC). The change allowed the JJC to design and implement a unique training curriculum specific to the needs of law enforcement officers who work with juveniles.
“As the single state agency charged with reforming the juvenile justice system, it makes sense that the JJC provides training specifically tailored to help officers meet the challenges and the very different needs of juvenile residents,” said Executive Director Brown. ”The JJC is proud of its academy and the state-of-the-art curriculum that teaches officers how to maintain a safe environment for themselves, the juvenile residents and their colleagues. Our long time director, Michael Cleary, who is retiring next month, has been instrumental in ensuring that JJC staff, county juvenile correctional staff, and our many law enforcement colleagues in the region have the knowledge and tools to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. His significant contributions to the field of corrections -- and particularly in the area of juvenile justice -- will have a lasting impact on our system of rehabilitation.”
Cleary has served the JJC for 19 years, with 16 of those years spent as Director of the JJC Training Academy. In addition, Cleary worked in various roles for New York City’s correctional system for 23 years. He will be retiring next month after a career dedicated to public service and improving the system of correctional system.
In addition, to providing the curriculum for the JJC’s juvenile correction officers, the JJC’s Training Academy instructs juvenile parole officers and youth workers, as well as conducting semi-annual firearms requalifications, active shooter presentations and First Aid/CPR/AED and PREA trainings. The Academy also has lent its expertise to many partners throughout the state for specialized trainings, including instructional programs for county juvenile detention officers and local bike patrol officers.
Recently, JJC Academy staff and adjunct instructors from JJC facilities traveled to Jersey City and New York to provide an on-site bicycle safety course for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. They also lent assistance to the Ann Klein Forensic Unit (AKFU) at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, a 200-bed psychiatric hospital that provides care and treatment to individuals suffering from mental illness who are also within the legal system. Self-protection and safety programs, as well as gang awareness and observation skills trainings provided by the JJC Training Academy allowed AKFU to meet the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.
The JJC is the single state agency responsible for providing juvenile correctional rehabilitation and parole services. The JJC cares for New Jersey’s high risk and increasingly vulnerable youth. The agency has a unique and pivotal opportunity to redirect the lives of the youth in its custody. The JJC operates three secure care facilities and 16 residential community homes and day treatment facilities. In addition, the JJC is responsible for parole and transitional services for youth when they return home from the JJC’s custody.