Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, Chief Judge of the DC Superior Court Lee Satterfield, Director of the DC Superior Court’s Family Court Social Services Division Terri Odom, and Family Court Deputy Presiding Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo participate in the formal ribbon-cutting.

The DC Superior Court’s Family Court Social Services Division recently opened its new Balanced and Restorative Justice Drop-In Center (BARJ) in the 1200 block of South Capitol Street. The BARJ Drop-In Center will serve as a multi-faceted facility including a probation office, after school alternative to detention for some, and includes a learning lab and a vocation training center.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony and official opening of the Center was attended by a number of dignitaries, including Councilmember Tommy Wells, Deputy Mayor Paul Quander, Deputy DC Attorney General for Public Safety Andrew Fois, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Ron McBee and 1st District Metropolitan Police Commander Daniel Hickson. Terri Odom, Director of the DC Superior Court’s Family Court Social Services Division and Lee Satterfield, Chief Judge of the DC Superior Court, kicked off the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“At this center, we have juvenile probation officers who really care about our youth,” said Satterfield. “And we have a community that wants to see these kids succeed and exceed people’s expectations. What we have here today is a coming together of positive forces, all working for the good of the community.”

The Center is an alternative to detention for youth living in the Southwest who are awaiting trial and need a higher level of supervision, and also youth on probation who are at risk of having their probation revoked because they are not complying with court-ordered conditions.  The Center will also serve as a satellite probation office, so youth from Southwest can see their probation officers and also access services in their own community.

The program is designed to provide more structure than a weekly or bi-weekly check in with probation officers. Participating youth will take part in a number of pro-social activities including: tutoring, learning labs, mentoring, education and prevention groups, life-skills, vocational training, community service, restorative justice, indoor recreation and field trips.

Refreshments, as well as family-style dinners, will be provided and youth will take part in the ‘Real Men and Women Cook’ program, which focuses on meal preparation skills.

The new facility is the third BARJ Drop-In Center in the city, serving as a national model for the restorative justice approach, encompassing education, rehabilitation and community service, with a focus on the youth, community and victim.

The Southwest BARJ Drop-In Center will be open Monday through Saturday and will serve court-involved youth and their families. It will also be accessible to the community when it is not operating services and programs for the youth it serves.

Courtesy of the DC Superior Court.

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