“Scuttlebutt” points to two widely-known candidates and one wild card to head the U.S. Justice Deartment’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Obama administration, reports Youth Today. The publication views the leading candidates as Vincent Schiraldi, director of the Washington, D.C., Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, David Onek of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice and a member of the San Francisco Police Commission; and Illinois State Rep. Annazette Collins (D). The latter two names carry significant credentials, but Youth Today says “many in the field believe Schiraldi to be the strongest candidate.”
“I think Vinny Schiraldi and David Onek are both committed juvenile justice reformers who will lead OJJDP in a new and better direction,” says Dan Macallair, who co-founded the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) with Schiraldi in 1985 (Onek briefly consulted with CJCJ). “However, I think that Vinny’s experience clearly renders him the stronger candidate.” Schiraldi has drawn a powerful enemy in Washington Post columnist Colbert King. Over the past year, King has used his op-ed space to hammer Schiraldi’s agency on what he sees as a failure to supervise youth not in custody – some of whom committed more crimes, some of whom were killed – and an inability to prevent violence at the juvenile detention facility.