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.