FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMISSIONER HERNANDEZ TO LEAVE CITY GOVERNMENT
Departure Caps 10 Years of Service to New York and Stewardship of Historic Youth Agency Reforms
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today accepted the resignation of Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Neil Hernandez. Commissioner Hernandez began his career at DJJ in 1998 and was appointed Commissioner in January 2002. Commissioner Hernandez leaves City government to move into academia where he will teach and continue his pursuit of a doctorate in political science, with a concentration in public policy, which he began a decade ago when he was managing one of the Department's detention facilities.
"Neil Hernandez has spent his career working tirelessly to develop and implement programs and policies that have led to important improvements in our juvenile justice system," said Mayor Bloomberg. "His success and the great work from all the employees at DJJ have enabled us to deliver on our promise to keep public safety our number one priority while also improving the custody and care of detained youth. I join all New Yorkers in thanking him for his dedication and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
"It has been an honor to be a member of the Bloomberg Administration, and a privilege to work alongside the professionals in the City's juvenile detention system for over ten years," said Commissioner Hernandez.
Under Commissioner Hernandez's tenure, DJJ has successfully developed a more comprehensive and coordinated juvenile justice system, resulting in a 56 percent reduction in youth placements in state juvenile institutions and a shift from using detention in a community setting when deemed safe to do so. Other highlights include: DJJ's Collaborative Family Initiative, which closes the gap for community-based mental health services for kids leaving detention and made it to the Second Round of the Harvard Innovations in Government awards process in 2009 and the Life Transitions Program, which has helped prepare juvenile residents and their families for a young person's return from detention.
Mayor Bloomberg also announced that effective today the City's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Commissioner John B. Mattingly is also the Commissioner of DJJ. Under the supervision of Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, for the next six months ACS will work to assess all functions and programs of ACS and DJJ, seeking efficiencies and cost savings wherever possible and an analysis will then be made about how to best move forward.
"Our strategy over the past four years has focused on reducing crime and recidivism while also improving outcomes for youth and their families," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. "By merging the two agencies we will take this critical work to the next level and leverage and expand on our best practices."
Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
Sharman Stein (ACS) (212) 341-2972
Scott Trent (DJJ) (212) 442-7534