Criminal Justice Advisory Board
In October 2016, the Criminal Justice Advisory Board held a 400 person Summit at Widener University on Mental Health and the Heroin Epidemic in the Criminal Justice System. Pictured are (right to left) Honorable Nathaniel C. Nichols, Chair, Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee; Honorable Chad F. Kenney, President Judge; Honorable John McBlain, County Council; Honorable James F. Nilon, Jr., Chair, Criminal Justice Advisory Board; Honorable Jack Whelan, District Attorney and Michael W. Raith, Esquire, Delaware County's representative to the state wide Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.
Through best principles of strategic management and coordinated planning, the Delaware County Criminal Justice Advisory Board is committed to improving the effectiveness, efficiency, evenhandedness, accountability, and public and professional perception of Criminal Justice in Delaware County.
The DCCJAB is a joint venture between leaders of criminal justice and related county government agencies. Through its bi-monthly meetings and ongoing activities of its various subcommittees, the DCCJAC essentially functions as a strategic management and planning group in criminal justice matters. DCCJAB's primary role is to examine problems and opportunities for change in the system, by continuously improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of law enforcement, court, and correctional services in Delaware County.
Delaware County boasts the first Criminal Justice Advisory Board formed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our journey began in 1993 when a handful of Court/County officials were invited to attend and participate in a Criminal Justice Advisory Board Conference in Tampa, Florida. That group saw the potential for such a committee and upon return laid the foundation which resulted in its first official meeting in October 1994. At that time, the board established By Laws which set forth such criteria as: members, mission, agenda, committees, communication, schedule, meeting documentation, etc.
Delaware County has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary as a Criminal Justice Advisory Board. As such, we have taken this opportunity to reflect on our many accomplishments. However, we realize that there are many issues to address in a county with constantly changing issues which greatly affect our criminal justice system. In March 2016, under the direction of the Honorable James F. Nilon Jr., Chairman, DCCJAB a new five (5) year Strategic Plan was developed, which lists this board's priorities, goals and objectives. CJAB Strategic Plan 2015-2019.
Due to the above self-analysis, the DCCJAB determined that our mental health population and the heroin epidemic were the most significant problems facing our criminal justice system. Therefore, on October 21, 2016, the DCCJAB held a 400 person Summit at Widener University addressing these areas. CJAB Summit Agenda. By all accounts this event was very well received by all attendees who represented various disciplines throughout several systems and we believe it will be an impetus to our future success.
In Addition, as part of the Court's continued concern regarding the scourge of heroin possession and related offenses in our criminal justice system, the Criminal Justice Advisory Board sought and secured a two (2) year grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to develop a Pre Trial Heroin Recovery Program. The board is very excited of the promise that program will properly treat, supervise and divert offenders from incarceration who are heroin addicted.
Delaware County is also very fortunate that long time board member Michael W. Raith, Esquire was appointed to the statewide Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. Many counties are not represented on this prestigious committee, so it's a testament to the Delaware County Criminal Justice Advisory Board's hard work and reputation to have one of its members chosen in this capacity.
Over our twenty plus year history, the Delaware County Criminal Justice Advisory Board has been acknowledged and credited with assisting/collaborating with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) for improvements across Pennsylvania. Below are some of these initiatives:
- Recognized as a state and national leader in innovative criminal justice programming
- The first county to have the Judicial and Executive Branches of government actively meeting at the Criminal Justice Advisory Board
- Assisted the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in mentoring other counties in helping to implement programs
- The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency recommended Philadelphia meet with Delaware County to help with establishing their Criminal Justice Advisory Board
- Delaware County was the first County on JNET
- Delaware County helped the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency develop and implement state wide Standards to apply to all Criminal Justice Advisory Board's in the state of Pennsylvania
- Recognized by the PCCD and PA. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs for our aggressive campaign to reverse the growing trend of heroin use and in the training of first responders to administer Naloxone to reverse heroin overdose.
The following are some of the accomplishments of this board of the past twenty (20) years:
- Advanced technology to improve efficiency
- Use of video conferencing is perhaps the most extensive of any county in PA
- Live scan digital fingerprinting and photo imaging is available to all police departments in Delaware County
- Electronic Monitoring
- Use of Court Smart Technology
- Development of Re-entry Counselors
- Expansion of RIP and IP Programs
- Development of Forensic Liaisons
- Evolution of Drug, Veterans and Mental Health Courts
- Delaware County Cares
- Multiple grant funding through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
- Cross-System Mapping
- Treatment Court
- Veterans Court
- Mental Health Court
- Delaware County Cares
- Strategic Planning
- Grant Management
- Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee