DPS Dispatch

According to the 18th century English poet Alfred Austin, “To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” With that in mind, Juvenile Justice Health Services has initiated a unique partnership with N.C. State University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences to design and install sensory gardens within the recreation yards on two juvenile facilities in North Carolina.

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Secretary Hooks and some of his executive team continue gathering feedback from employees about safety in prisons through listening sessions and other venues. They are hearing from employees across the state at all ranks and levels of experience. From brand new correctional officers with just months on the job to those with ten to twenty years, as well as sergeants, lieutenants and above, a wide variety of employees have been voicing concerns and making suggestions on how to improve operations and make prisons safer.

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Twenty-one high school-aged juveniles at Alexander Juvenile Detention Center recently competed in the center's annual gingerbread house competition. Nutrition Supervisor Beverly Cash coordinated the efforts by baking homemade gingerbread. Each student was given an unassembled gingerbread house, white frosting,assorted candies and 2.5 hours to create their masterpieces. Teacher John Hendrix primed the students' creativity by showing them a video of this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition held annually at the Omni-Grove Park Inn in Asheville. 

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The students and staff of two juvenile detention centers in North Carolina put their creative muscles to work to construct a sports-themed creation for the 2017 Made by Milk contest. The project encourages students to use their creativity, while learning to recycle by repurposing milk cartons. Instead of just throwing out trash, create something cool with it! Both facilities are past contest participants.

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Winter Weather Preparedness Week is Dec. 3-9 While most of us have yet to see any snow, sleet, or freezing rain this year, winter is approaching fast and emergency officials are urging residents to prepare.

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Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks and several senior staff are continuing to travel across the state to meet with correctional officers, medical personnel, maintenance staff and other employees who work in some of North Carolina’s 55 prisons. While the Secretary has visited prisons in Wake, Franklin, Nash and Granville counties in the last few months, he and some of his executive team are stepping up these tours with face to face meetings with employees primarily designed for them to share what’s on their mind.

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1. You live in hurricane, tornado, wildfire or blizzard hot spots (no pun intended), but have no emergency plan in place. Discuss with your family how to stay safe in your home and where to go if you need to evacuate. Be sure to include pets in your plan. 2. You've not updated - or worse, not made -an emergency kit. Include enough food & water for 3 - 7 days for each person and pet, changes of clothes, medicines, important papers, etc. 3. No battery-operated weather radios in your home. Have multiple ways to stay informed - especially when the power goes out! Be safe, not scared! 

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We wrap up our recognition of Juvenile Justice week this afternoon with a spotlight on our Central Office staff. Central Office is the tie that binds it all together, housing budget, purchasing, IT, human resources, training, policy and management/oversight of Juvenile Justice. A central figure in Central Office is Bonnie Clark, whose working knowledge of administrative processes and procedures – a critical part of day-to-day operations – is second to none.

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It's TGIF -- and we are certainly thankful for the staff of Treatment Services during Juvenile Justice week and beyond. Mental health is a complex and pivotal segment of juvenile healthcare. Juveniles committed to North Carolina's juvenile justice system present with multiple and complex behavioral health needs. Psychological program managers within Juvenile Justice -- such as regional Psychological Program Manager Dr.

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Education Services is charged with fulfilling all state and federal mandates of a traditional school system for youths committed to state juvenile facilities. Janet Dalton, a teacher at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center, tries to reach even the most resistant learners by providing games and activities for her students to make the classroom enjoyable while the students learn. An avid math enthusiast, Dalton has volunteered on several occasions to assist other teachers.

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