The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Division of Youth Services (DCCA-DYS), the CNMI Public School System (PSS) and the Department of Corrections (DOC) recently completed an interagency protocol meeting to address PSS’ final form of the Standard Operational Procedures (SOP).
DYS Administrator Vivian Sablan shares that the SOP is intended to provide guidance for the delivery of general education programs and special education programs to the juvenile offenders incarcerated at the Department of Corrections.
“In the first week of January, a full time PSS Teacher was assigned to the facility to deliver the mandated educational services. The Juvenile Offender Educational Program SOP was led by the PSS Office of Student and Support Services and the principal of the Da’ok Academy, which will be officiated once the Memorandum of Understanding between the DYS Juvenile Probation Unit, DOC and the PSS is signed,” Sablan said.
Secretary of Community and Cultural Affairs Robert Hunter added that the scope of the SOP’s offered procedures so that youth up to the age of 18 for General Education and youth up to the age of 22 for Special Education receive instructional services within the Correctional Facility.
“Although the juveniles are detained at DOC, under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2008, DYS is designated as the agency responsible for the services and programs for the incarcerated youth. Through the DYS Family & Youth Enhancement Program, the youth are receiving other rehabilitative programs to include the Canteen Program as a behavioral incentive, the Community Guidance Center (CGC) Systems of Care Wrap Around Services and Substance Abuse Counseling from Marianas Behavioral Health International,” Hunter said.
Sablan further added that currently DYS is providing these services to six youth.
“The cases of the incarcerated juveniles are managed by the DYS Juvenile Probation Unit and we are very relieved that a full time teacher has been committed to the delivery of instructional services at the detention facility. Securing a full time teacher has always been a challenge, but our staff continued to work closely with the Public School System to fill the void and work with the client home school administrators and teachers to bring in the educational piece for the youth,” she said.
Governor Ralph DLG. Torres expressed that providing rehabilitation services and support to the youth in all ways is one of many priorities.
“When we look at the number of incarcerated youth, we really want to improve upon the ways we can help our kids become productive members of the community. At the same time, we need to strengthen our response to juvenile issues with as much resources we can to curb delinquency and harmful behaviors. I thank DYS, PSS and Corrections for collaborating on this effort. From the family level to the school level, we need everyone’s participation to improve the success and opportunities of our youth and the future of our community,” Governor Torres said.