Juvenile Justice Commission

JJC Leadership Team

JJC Leadership Team

Jennifer LeBaron, Ph.D.

Jennifer LeBaron, Ph.D.
Acting Executive Director
Deputy Director of Research, Policy and Planning

Acting Executive Director
Deputy Director of Research, Policy and Planning

Dr. Jennifer LeBaron currently serves as the Acting Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC). She has been with the JJC since 1998, serving in numerous leadership roles, focusing on program and policy development, research and evaluation, launching new initiatives, and collaborating with various reform experts and entities throughout the state to effect informed change within juvenile justice. Most recently as Deputy Executive Director of Policy, Research and Planning, Dr. LeBaron served as advisor to the Executive Director on all matters pertaining to the agency’s policy agenda, spanning all operational offices, divisions, and units. She formulates positions and recommendations regarding legislation, regulations, and rules, and oversees the completion of research and data analysis required to support the Commission’s stance on matters affecting the agency. She also directs new initiatives designed to enhance the Commission’s capacity to effectively care for the youth in its custody and to improve the overall functioning of the juvenile justice system statewide. She also serves as Co-Chair of the New Jersey Council on Juvenile Justice System Improvement.

Dr. LeBaron previously served as the Commission’s Director of Local Programs & Services, overseeing the development, enhancement, and funding of local continuums of juvenile justice services. Importantly, Dr. LeBaron has been responsible for leading the implementation of JDAI since its launch in 2004. It is in this critical role, managing the day to day operations of JDAI, that Dr. LeBaron has achieved many advancements, proving to be a trailblazer in juvenile justice reform. During her tenure, New Jersey was named the only state Model Site for JDAI by the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Dr. LeBaron then worked to develop and implement a two-day training curriculum for delegations from visiting states to assist in their efforts to bring detention reform to scale statewide. Over the course of her career, Dr. LeBaron has prepared training curricula, written user’s guides and manuals, conducted comprehensive staff trainings, carried out quality assurance reviews, developed assessment tools and case planning processes, and conducted the empirical and qualitative evaluation of various programs.

Dr. LeBaron received a B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University. Her dissertation focused on risk prediction and risk assessment, examining the role of community context in juvenile recidivism. While in graduate school, Dr. LeBaron was the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships, most notably the Rutgers University Doctoral Excellence Fellowship. She also taught college courses in criminology and juvenile justice. Dr. LeBaron is the recipient of two NJ Attorney General Awards for Excellence in Innovation, the W. Haywood Burns Institute’s Courageous Leadership Award, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Juvenile Detention Reform.

Edwin Lee

Edwin Lee
Deputy Executive Director, Operations and Director, Office of Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services

Deputy Executive Director, Operations

Edwin Lee, Jr. was appointed to serve as the Deputy Executive Director of Operations for the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) in August 2021. In this position, he supervises a large-scale workforce responsible for diverse aspects of JJC operations, including secure care, parole and transitional services, classification, and gang management. He has also served as the Director of the Office of Juvenile Parole & Transitional Services, a position he assumed in April 2013. In this position, he oversaw the JJC’s mandate to provide supervision and supports to youth on parole, working to ensure each young person has a successful transition to the community upon their release from a JJC facility.

Mr. Lee came to the JJC from the New Jersey Judiciary where he served as the Burlington Vicinage Chief Probation Officer. In that position, he directed Burlington County’s Juvenile and Adult Probation Services as well as the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Prior to that, he served as the Assistant Chief Probation Officer of the Juvenile Supervision Unit in the Mercer Vicinage, after serving in other positions within the Judiciary in that county.  In these capacities, Mr. Lee established and implemented operational policies, developed various programs, monitored and evaluated program performance, and maintained a close working relationship with various community partners.

Mr. Lee has served as a member of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Committee and as the chair of JJDP Committee’s Career Paths subcommittee. Mr. Lee served as the Burlington County representative to the New Jersey Council on Juvenile Justice System Improvement (CJJSI) and as the chair of the Probation subcommittee of the Burlington County CJJSI, the state and local bodies charged with implementing the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). Mr. Lee played a significant role in the success JDAI in both Burlington and Mercer counties, working to establish detention alternatives and to ensure youth on probation were provided with the tools and resources necessary to support their success in the community. He also served as co-chair of the Burlington County Drug Court Executive Council.

A wealth of professional and community experience, across agencies and communities, provide Mr. Lee with a unique ability to design and direct new programs and initiatives in line with the JJC’s vision and mission to improve outcomes for youth, families, and the community.

Guy White

Guy White
Deputy Executive Director, Programs

Deputy Executive Director, Programs

Guy White was appointed to serve as the Juvenile Justice Commission’s (JJC) Deputy Executive Director of Programs in January of 2022.  In this position, he oversees the JJC’s Offices of Community Programs and Education, as well as the Rehabilitative and Treatment Services Unit and the Chaplaincy Services Unit.  Prior to this appointment, he served as the Director of Community Programs, a position he held since 2015, supervising the JJC’s residential community homes and the Community Service and Outreach Unit.

Mr. White’s career in youth justice began in 1989 when he was hired by the New Jersey Department of Corrections as a youth worker at the Southern Residential Community Home.  In 1997, he was named as the Superintendent of Pinelands Residential Community Home, a treatment program for juveniles with sex offenses, and in 2002, he became the Superintendent of JJC’s Manor Woods Residential Community Home.

Continuing to increase his supervisory responsibilities, in 2005, Mr. White accepted a position as a Regional Administrator for the JJC’s Office of Community Programs, where he was responsible for the administration and operation of several juvenile residential programs. He has also worked in the secure care environment as the Superintendent of the Juvenile Female Secure Care and Intake Facility, where he oversaw the delivery of gender specific programming at the state’s only secure youth facility for females.

In his various positions with the JJC, Mr. White has played an integral leadership role in the JJC’s ongoing reform efforts designed to improve outcomes for youth. He has been directly involved in various initiatives including the establishment of the state’s first Independent Living Home for young people leaving the JJC, and a Youth Worker Apprentice Program that provides former JJC residents  with meaningful paid employment in the youth-serving sector.      

Guy White resides in Williamstown, NJ with his wife and two children.

Roy Hambrecht

Roy Hambrecht
Director, Office of Administration

Chief Administrative Officer

Roy Hambrecht was appointed to serve as the Juvenile Justice Commission’s (JJC) Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in May 2021. As the CAO, he oversees the JJC’s Office of Administration which includes the following areas of responsibility: fiscal resources and contracts, human resources, facilities and capital planning, healthcare and safety services, information technology and support services, among others.
Most recently, Mr. Hambrecht served as the JJC’s Special Projects and Support Services Manager performing critical functions pertaining to all aspects of the agency’s administrative and operational needs, as well as the JJC’s responsibilities related to supporting the development of local programs and services for youth in the community.

Prior to joining the JJC in 2015, Mr. Hambrecht held positions within the New Jersey Departments of Education and Treasury, and served as adjunct professor at Farleigh Dickinson University teaching classes in leadership, strategic planning, and business and organizational management.

Mr. Hambrecht is a graduate of Rutgers University, and has a master’s degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is also a Certified Public Manager (CPA).

 

Sheila Schmidt

Sheila Schmidt
Director, Office of Classification, Intake and Release

Director, Office of Classification, Intake and Release

Sheila Schmidt was appointed as the Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission’s (JJC) Office of Classification, Intake and Release in May 2021. In this position, she ensures that the JJC relies on data and objectively-based systems to make informed and deliberate placement and release decisions pertaining to youth in the care and custody of the JJC.

Director Schmidt joined the JJC in 2012 as the Manager of the Classification Services Unit where she oversaw the administration and daily operations of the JJC’s intake functions, as well as the classification units situated within the JJC’s secure care facilities. In 2021, with the implementation of P.L. 2019, c. 363, she assumed additional responsibility for the oversight of the JJC’s new, objectively-based parole release system and was selected to lead the new Office of Classification, Intake and Release.

Ms. Schmidt began her career in state government in April 1990 with the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC). She served at various institutions and in multiple capacities throughout her 22 years of service with DOC, last functioning as the departmental liaison to the US Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement, prior to joining the JJC.

Over the course of her career, Ms. Schmidt has participated in multiple initiatives related to implementing new policies and practices in correctional settings. She co-chairs a JJC committee tasked with designing and implementing the agency’s Independent Living Home Initiative and is a member of the Prison Rape Elimination Act’s (PREA) Executive Committee. In addition, Ms. Schmidt is the recipient of two Attorney General Awards for her contributions to special projects, is certified by the Police Training Commission (PTC), and is an adjunct instructor at the JJC’s Training Academy.

Ms. Schmidt is the proud mother of three grown sons.

Brian Blisard

Brian Blisard
Director, Office of Community Programs

Director, Office of Community Programs

Brian Blisard was appointed to serve as the Director of the Office of Community Programs at the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) in January 2022. In this position, he oversees the operation, programming, and staff of the JJC’s ten residential community homes.

Mr. Blisard has worked with at-risk youth since 1993. He began his career in an alternative education setting for youth at Burlington County Special Services School District. From southern New Jersey, he relocated to Oregon where he gained a wealth of experience serving youth in out of home placements, holding various positions with the Oregon Youth Authority, including Youth Corrections Unit Coordinator, Program/Unit Manager, and Superintendent. He returned to New Jersey and joined the JJC as a Regional Administrator with the Office of Community Programs, a position he held for eight years, where he oversaw the operation of several residential community homes, and supported superintendents, program staff, and residents. In this capacity, he was instrumental in advancing reform initiatives including the establishment of an Independent Living Home for JJC youth transitioning from out-of-home place and a policy that prioritizes placing young people in programs nearest to their homes.

Mr. Blisard is a hands-on leader, who is often found at one of the JJC’s residential community homes interacting with staff and youth. He enjoys participating in activities that help young people build independence and self-confidence and has actively participated in cook-offs, served as the host of games of ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘Name That Tune,” and encourages and organizes sports competitions with residents and staff members.

Mr. Blisard has coached baseball, basketball, and soccer and has volunteered in various community-based events. In addition to a degree in Psychology and Organizational Leadership, he has studied sociology and public safety leadership and administration.

Astrid Christiansen

Astrid Christiansen
Director, Office of Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services

Director, Office of Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services

Astrid Christiansen was appointed to serve as the Acting Director of the Office of Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services (JP&TS) for the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) in January 2022. In this position, she develops and implements programming, activities, and services to help young people grow and thrive as they return to their homes after a period of out-of-home placement, and oversees a workforce of supervisors, parole officers, community program specialists, and counselors. In order to strengthen young people’s transition back home, she maintains cooperative working relationships with local community agencies to ensure ongoing service provision and support for JJC youth transitioning into the community. Ms. Christiansen has been an active advocate for young people, especially those who are facing homelessness and aging out of New Jersey child-serving systems.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Christiansen served as Regional Program Supervisor with JP&TS since 2017. In this capacity she supervised the daily operations of parole staff assigned to the ten southern New Jersey counties and coordinated various responsibilities including parole intake, compliance with the interstate compact, and the deployment of the parole response unit. She has played an integral role in several of the JJC’s reform initiatives, including the development of higher education programs and partnerships for youth, and the establishment of the JJC’s first Independent Living Home for JJC parolees transitioning to independence.

Ms. Christiansen began her career in youth justice as a licensed clinical social worker providing mental health services at a JJC residential community home. She later accepted a supervisory position at the JJC’s New Jersey Training School (NJTS) where she served for nearly seven years working directly with social workers, substance abuse counselors, and youth workers to develop therapeutic and behavior incentive programs for young people

Ms. Christiansen has also worked for the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program and Womanspace, Inc., a non-profit agency that provides domestic violence crisis intervention. She obtained her master’s degree in social work from Monmouth University with a concentration in international and community development and received her undergraduate degree from Slippery Rock University.

Doris Darling

 

Doris Darling
Director, Office of Local Programs and Services

Director, Office of Local Programs and Services

Doris S. Darling was appointed as the Director of the JJC’s Office of Local Programs and Services in November 2016. As Director, Ms. Darling oversees four operational units that support the development and enhancement of local continuums of juvenile justice services. These units administer foundation, state, and federal grant funds, monitor compliance with the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, monitor county-operated juvenile detention centers, and serve as liaison to and collaborate with the courts and county government.

During her 15 years with the JJC, Ms. Darling has served in various positions that have allowed her to play a role in the implementation and ongoing support of statewide initiatives and projects. In her previous role as the Manager of the JJC’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention / Grants Unit, Ms. Darling was responsible for the overall administration of foundation, state, and federal grants and, as required by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, served as New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Specialist. Additional responsibilities included contributing to the development of the State three-year juvenile justice plan; acquiring, distributing, and monitoring grant funds and related programs; and ensuring New Jersey’s compliance with the state and federal standards for the handling of juveniles in secure custody throughout the State of New Jersey.

Ms. Darling has over 25 years of experience working with youth serving organizations and programs in both direct-service and administrative capacities. Beyond the JJC, this experience includes working for Girl Scouts of the USA, college Upward Bound Programs in Ohio and North Carolina, Ohio’s juvenile boot camp program, and the Middlesex County Division of Mental Health and Children Services. She also worked as a Program Development Speciaist at both the county and state level where she managed, supervised, and monitored multiple youth serving programs and initiatives.

Ms. Darling earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Shaw University in Raleigh NC. She has also completed one year toward her Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Ms. Darling and her husband, Mike, live in Middlesex County and have two sons.

Wimson Crespo

Wimson Crespo
Deputy Executive Director, Programs

Chief, Office of Investigations

Wimson Crespo was appointed to the position of Chief of the Juvenile Justice Commission’s Office of Investigations in March, 2003 following more than a decade in the correctional field.

In 1990, Mr. Crespo joined the New Jersey Department of Corrections and was assigned to the East Jersey State Prison in Rahway. After two years, he was promoted and reassigned to the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. Mr. Crespo joined the JJC’s secure facility for female juveniles in 1997. In 1999, Mr. Crespo moved to the JJC’s Office of Investigations and served as the Office’s Deputy Chief before being appointed to lead the Office of Investigations.

The Office of Investigations conducts prompt and thorough investigations of all allegations of misconduct. This office has both law enforcement authority and administrative authority to conduct investigations concerning any allegation of criminal action, misconduct, compliance with State, Departmental or Commission rules and regulations, standard operating procedures, and orders of the Juvenile Justice Commission.

Mr. Crespo was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico and grew up in Trenton, graduating from Trenton Central High in 1984 and attending Mercer County Community College. He is an active member of his community participating in various programs that assist juveniles and young adults. For more than fifteen years, he has coached baseball, basketball and soccer and held numerous league positions in various communities. As a Martial Arts Instructor, he has found yet another method to lead youngsters in a positive direction and now does so with the help of his son, Wimson Jr. who recently received his Black Belt.

Mr. Crespo speaks at numerous schools about law enforcement and is always encouraging youth, particularly Hispanic males and females, to consider careers in law enforcement. Throughout his career as a law enforcement officer and as a citizen, Mr. Crespo has been a role model for Hispanic youth and all young men and women in the communities in which he has lived.

Wimson Crespo is the proud father of a son and daughter.

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