Walter Hopson, Superintendent
P.O. Box 2191
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Toms River, NJ 08754
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Juvenile Services | Community Events Archives
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Annual NJ Juvenile Detention Association / Juvenile Justice ConferenceOn September 17, 18 and 19, 2014. The New Jersey Juvenile Detention Association and the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission held its 16th annual conference in Atlantic City.. The only conference in the State dedicated to juvenile issues, this training conference is designed for front line workers in the juvenile justice system.
Grand Opening for New Education BuildingOn September 13, 2007, the Ocean County Department of Juvenile Services held a Grand Opening ceremony for its new educational wing in the Detention Center. Freeholders John P. Kelly and Gerry P. Little officially opened the wing for use by the residents of the Center.
Ocean County Observer : New wing opens at Juvenile CenterSuperior Court Judge Barbara Ann Villano said yesterday that a new education wing, which replaces the 24-year-old trailers at the county's Juvenile Detention Center, represents the continuing commitment of the county to help troubled young people.
Annual NJ Juvenile Detention Association / Juvenile Justice Conference
Grand Opening for New Education Building
On September 13, 2007, the Ocean County Department of Juvenile Services held a Grand Opening ceremony for its new educational wing in the Detention Center. Freeholders John P. Kelly and Gerry P. Little officially opened the wing for use by the residents of the Center.
The new wing has four new state-of-the-art classrooms, as well as a library/multipurpose room. Each classroom is equipped with computers linked to the NJ State Department of Education system and its education programs. The Superintendent of the Ocean County Vocational School, along with many Detention Administrators from around the State and representatives from the NJ State Juvenile Justice Commission, attended the opening. A volunteer choir of residents currently in the Center presented a choral number entitled ”American Tears” to an audience that rose to their feet with applause.
Robert Coughlin, Administrator of the Department of Juvenile Services, led guests on a guided tour of the new facility, followed by a luncheon buffet for all in attendance.
The Grand Opening ceremony also appeared in the Ocean County Observer on Sept. 14, 2007 and is reprinted here with the permission of the Observer staff.
Ocean County Observer : New wing opens at Juvenile Center
New wing opens at Juvenile Center
Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 09/14/07
BY DON BENNETT
TOMS RIVER — Superior Court Judge Barbara Ann Villano said yesterday that a new education wing, which replaces the 24-year-old trailers at the county's Juvenile Detention Center, represents the continuing commitment of the county to help troubled young people.
"This is a remarkable opportunity for Ocean County to continue to positively influence children," said Villano, who used to have the center as one of her sentencing options during years dealing with juvenile offenders in the Family Court.
"There's been an understanding and commitment to the program," agreed Robert Coughlin, director of the Juvenile Services Department, who said Freeholder John P. Kelly has been on a crusade since he was elected to that office to improve facilities for juveniles.
Freeholder Gerry P. Little said Kelly shut down the facility once run in a dilapidated converted house on Chestnut Street, and helped engineer an agreement with the county's Vocational-Technical Schools to provide teachers for those in the detention center.
Kelly said he and Villano discussed getting rid of the trailers used as classrooms, focusing on the programs that could best serve those in detention.
Coughlin said the state mandates a full educational program, which is difficult to deliver because the juveniles can only be in the center for a maximum of 60 days.
"We have to use an individualized approached," he said, because of the wide disparity in skills the juveniles bring with them.
The average detainee is 16 years old, with fifth-grade reading and math skills, he said.
"We'll be able to do a better job in the new facilities," Coughlin said.
A room full of adults who work to turn troubled juveniles around got a sample of what goes on at the Detention Center when a choral ensemble sang "American Tears" to a standing ovation.
Coughlin recalled a telephone call he got recently from a center alumnus, who was known as "The Evil One" when he was in detention. He had just finished law school after deciding to pursue that career because of mock trials held during social studies classes at the detention center.
Another called to say he just graduated from Brookdale Community College. A third had a good job with a computer company after becoming interested in that career as a detainee.
"Ninety-five percent of these kids go on to lead successful lives," Coughlin said.
Kelly, nearly overcome with emotion, said adults can opt to lock the juveniles up or "say we have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives."
"Generally there is a failing to them, not by them," he said.
At the detention center he said they can learn another way and get motivated to finish high school and go on to college.
That motivation comes from professionals at the center.
"We have a small, dedicated staff," said Vocational-Technical Schools Superintendent William Hoey.
He described the new classroom wing as "state of the art," and said it will help the effort to get detainees prepared to go back to their high schools and middle schools.
"Our vision is not who these kids are, it's who they can be," said Gerald Bowden, program director at the Detention Center.
He recalled Winston Churchill's challenge early in World War II when he said "give us the tools and we will finish the job."
The tools here included a $2.4 million, 8,900-square-foot addition to the Detention Center that includes four classrooms, a library, multi-purpose room, and other amenities.
"This is great," said a beaming Villano as she toured the new facilities.
They were designed by local architect Massimo Yezzi, built by Patterson Mechanical Contracting of Ocean Township, with the McCloud Group of Hoboken serving as the construction manager.