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|November 6, 2012
Director of Communications
Probation Commissioner Ron Corbett Is Recognized With First-Time Award
For Helping Troubled Children
Acting Probation Commissioner Ronald P. Corbett Jr. is the first recipient of the newly-created Jane E. Tewksbury Leadership Award for his commitment and pledged support of the Massachusetts Probation Service to the Commonwealth's Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI).
The JDAI is a national program of the Baltimore, Maryland-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged children.
The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) manages the Commonwealth's JDAI chapter, which presented Corbett with the award. The Massachusetts JDAI works to provide suitable and appropriate alternatives to detaining young people by utilizing criminal justice as well as human services and community resources. The Tewksbury Award is named in honor of former DYS Commissioner Tewksbury who presented this first-time award at a recent DYS meeting.
During the awards presentation, Tewksbury told the audience, “Ron understood that pre-trial detention for youth was not a means to connect youth to services and had long lasting negative effects. In his 26 years with the Probation Department, he recognized that children needed to be connected with the correct services and that youth need clearly set and enforceble boundaries.”
She added, “He understood and appreciated the principles of disproportionate minority contact. Ron Corbett understood the dangers of detention for juveniles. He also understood what types of probation works for youth. Ron Corbett believes that it is more effective to help an individual succeed than to catch them as they fail.”
Tewksbury further stated, “Because of his (Corbett's) strong leadership and commitment to JDAI, he has provided resources and support for our initiatives and has contributed to its success in Massachusetts.”
Corbett said of the award, “It is my honor to be associated with an initiative that has such a noble goal - saving youth from the negative impact of institutionalization. I hope we reach a day where locking up children is a rare event, reserved for only the dangerous. We have more work to do".
Newburyport Chief Probation Officer Richard Kelley was also recognized at the ceremony. Kelley, a former Essex County Juvenile Assistant Chief Probation Officer based in Lawrence, is the recipient of the “Innovation Award” presented to him for his implementation of a program called “The 10 O'clock Meeting” which brings criminal justice and human services professionals together on Mondays to discuss juvenile defendants.
During these sessions, participants brainstorm on how to meet the needs of young people who are eligible to be released on bail. Through these sessions, the group devises alternatives to detention. The Probation Officer then presents these ideas to the judge as a sentencing alternative.