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Pensacola Juvenile Justice Facilities Receive a Visitor from New Zealand

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Pensacola, FL -- The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) today welcomed Gabrielle Stembridge, executive director of the Kauri Trust, a juvenile justice residential services provider in Auckland, New Zealand. Stembridge toured the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center and the Pensacola Boys Base, a DJJ contract provider for juvenile residential services. The purpose of Stembridge's visit was to learn about DJJ's use of restorative justice principles.

"The Detention facility is amazing," said Stembridge. "The computer room, basketball court, the outside recreational area – I'm blown away by how they [the youths] are holistically being cared for." Stembridge described New Zealand's facilities for detaining youth awaiting court or residential placement as being "more of a lock-down"-type of environment.

"We are delighted to have Ms. Stembridge with us today," said DJJ Detention Superintendent Paul Napier. "We welcome any opportunity to share and learn information that can help troubled youths, whether they are in Florida or New Zealand."

The Kauri Trust is a restorative justice-based juvenile residential program. Stembridge is interested in DJJ’s use of restorative justice principles to find ways to improve services among the Trust's New Zealand programs. Both Florida’s DJJ and the Kauri Trust are based on a rehabilitative model for addressing juvenile delinquency.

Restorative justice helps the victims of crime in their recovery by making the offender aware of the full consequences of his or her actions and the impact on victims. Offenders are encouraged to apologize, pay restitution and/or take additional action to atone for and alleviate the effects of their crimes.

DJJ's restorative justice-based Impact of Crime (IOC) curriculum has been recognized as a model delinquency intervention strategy for juvenile offenders. Stembridge was presented with a copy of the DJJ IOC curriculum to share with her colleagues at the Kauri Trust.

University of West Florida faculty member Cheryl Swanson, Ph.D., who teaches about alternatives to incarceration, is hosting Stembridge during her visit to Florida.

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Detention Superintendent Paul Napier and Gabrielle Stembridge, executive director of the Kauri Trust