Resolved, That a special commission be established to investigate and study methods of instituting gender-responsive programming for juvenile justice system involved girls and to improve the effectiveness of services therefor. The commission shall consist of 2 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the senate president, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 2 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; the secretary of health and human services or a designee thereof; the commissioner of elementary and secondary education or a designee thereof; the commissioner of probation or a designee thereof; the commissioner of youth services or a designee thereof; the commissioner of children and families or a designee thereof; the commissioner of mental health or a designee thereof; the commissioner of public health or a designee thereof; the chief counsel for the committee for public counsel services or a designee thereof; the chief justice of the juvenile court department or a designee thereof; and 8 persons to be appointed by the governor who are current state vendors that provide direct services to high-risk girls and who, collectively, serve or reside in each major geographic area of the commonwealth or representatives thereof. The governor shall designate a chairperson or 2 co-chairpersons from the aforementioned members.
The commission shall: (i) conduct a review of gender-responsive programming implementation successes and challenges in the commonwealth and in other states’ juvenile justice systems; (ii) conduct a review of the published reports, curricula and best practices for gender-specific programming by government, foundations and non-profit organizations; (iii) conduct a review of leading indicators that statistically result in girls becoming involved in juvenile justice systems; (iv) review relevant state training curricula; (v) review relevant state agencies’ methods of data collection and aggregation by gender and race; (vi) analyze and evaluate relevant state contracts with private or community-based vendors for the purpose of determining whether these vendors utilize a comprehensive approach when providing programming for girls involved in juvenile justice systems; (vii) analyze and report the rates of recidivism amongst juvenile justice system involved girls; (viii) analyze and report the rates of non-juvenile justice system executive agency service utilization by juvenile justice system involved girls; (ix) track and analyze educational attainment of juvenile justice system involved girls; (x) hold at least 3 regional meetings across the commonwealth to solicit the input of community members and agencies serving high-risk girls; and (xi) establish a mechanism for incorporating the opinions of juvenile justice system involved girls into the commission’s findings.
The commission shall meet at least 6 times per year at the call of the chair or chairpersons or at the call of a majority of the commission’s members. The commission may seek assistance from other organizations or individuals on a pro bono basis. The commission shall file periodic reports that shall include recommendations relative to gender-responsive programming, both community-based and state-wide, for serving high-risk and juvenile justice system involved girls with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities. The initial report of the commission shall be filed on or before January 31, 2014 and biennially thereafter.
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