Positive Youth Justice Initiative Implementation Launch — Jan. 28, 2014

News Release

PYJI in the News

Keynote Speaker

Photo of Tom AmmianoAssemblymember Tom Ammiano

Tom Ammiano currently is Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee and Co-Chair of the Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment. He is a San Francisco leader who has served the city four decades as a teacher, civil rights leader, educator, supervisor and assemblymember. In 1975, he became the first public school teacher in San Francisco to make his sexual orientation public knowledge. Mr. Ammiano was elected to the San Francisco School Board in 1990 and to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1994. He remained on the Board until his election as Assemblymember in 2008.

Mr. Ammiano’s accomplishments as a supervisor include institution of district elections, a city Health Care Security Ordinance, a domestic partners ordinance, and a municipal ID system to benefit those who can’t get conventional identification. In the Assembly, he authored bills that became laws to encourage seeking help for overdose cases, reduce bullying (Seth’s Law), reduce unfair deportations, give labor rights to domestic workers, protect transgender students, aid LGBT foster youth and protect tenants from unfair evictions.

Creating Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile Justice Systems

Photo of Suzy LoftusSuzy Loftus

Suzy Loftus serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Center for Youth Wellness, an organization located in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood that is improving the health of children and adolescents exposed to toxic stress. She also serves as a San Francisco Police Commissioner and has prioritized improving the police department’s response to violence against women and children and accessing new technologies to solve crime. Prior to joining the CYW, Ms. Loftus served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the California Department of Justice, and as a prosecutor in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

For nearly a decade, Ms. Loftus worked to support progressive candidates for office and causes throughout the U.S., with a focus on women’s leadership, social and economic justice and public education. As a prosecutor, she served on the office’s Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse and Gun Specialist teams. As Special Assistant Attorney General for California's Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Loftus coordinated statewide law enforcement and public safety policy for the California Department of Justice, which supervises and supports California’s 58 county prosecutors and sheriffs.

Photo of Scott BudnickScott Budnick

In addition to a successful career as a film producer, Scott Budnick is a fierce champion for children in need. He currently is launching The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, an organization of very high-achieving formerly incarcerated young adults who work to support one another, while stopping the flow of men and woman into the criminal justice system. For his work with youth in the criminal justice system, Governor Jerry Brown named Mr. Budnick California’s Volunteer of the Year for 2012. He also received the Volunteer of the Year award from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

Mr. Budnick is a teacher and is on the Advisory Board for InsideOUT Writers, is a board member of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and on the Advisory Board for the Loyola Law School, Center for Juvenile Law and Policy. He works closely with the Los Angeles Probation Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in giving incarcerated youth a path to education, success and rehabilitation before their release. In August 2013, Mr. Budnick was appointed to the Board of State and Community Assembly by the Speaker of the Assembly, John Perez.

Photo of Sheila E. MitchellSheila E. Mitchell

Principal of SEM Consulting, Sheila E. Mitchell has 15 years of experience in the juvenile justice field, including nine years as the Chief Probation Officer for Santa Clara County. She also served as the Assistant Chief Probation Officer for Alameda County and Deputy Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. Ms. Mitchell is a community advocate and previously served for more than 10 years as board chair of a national community-based organization dedicated to building sustainable leadership for social justice.

Ms. Mitchell is a national expert on developing evidence-based alternatives to detention diversion programs and secure care rehabilitation programs. She led the development and implementation of the Santa Clara County Enhanced Ranch Program, a cognitive behavioral treatment model that has been recognized throughout the United States. Her team also successfully implemented a Crossover Children’s Initiative for Santa Clara County, which resulted in transformative systems integration with Child Welfare and Probation and other key stakeholders.