The safety of the young people placed in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) by the courts is one of the JJC's highest priorities. In order to ensure that the rights of each youth committed to the custody of the JJC are protected and individual concerns raised by youth are addressed, the JJC employs an Ombudsman who reports to the JJC’s Executive Director.
The Ombudsman acts as a liaison between JJC residents and the offices of the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Directors. Regular visits to each secure facility and residential community home allow the Ombudsman to talk with youth directly about their concerns, grievances, and other issues. The Ombudsman also acts as a source of information for youth and their families.
The Ombudsman attempts to forestall problems by facilitating early recognition of complaints and providing an avenue for prompt redress. The majority of the issues brought to the attention of the Ombudsman are addressed internally and can be resolved by staff at a particular secure facility or residential community home via direct action, negotiation, or appropriate referral. It is also the responsibility of the Ombudsman to identify larger and more complex problems that may require broader agency action or referral to another agency or external authority.