Judge Vernon Daniels Guides Supreme Court Summer Tour of Juvenile Justice Center, Youth Facility, and New Probation Offices

Judge Vernon Daniels Guides Supreme Court Summer Tour of Juvenile Justice Center, Youth Facility, and New Probation Offices

Monday, August 28, 2023

Presiding Judge of the Separate Juvenile Court Vernon Daniels led the Chief Justice’s Supreme Court Summer Tour group on a walkthrough of the newly inaugurated Juvenile Justice Center and Omaha State Probation offices. The tour provided an in-depth look at the new facilities designed for Omaha’s juvenile justice system.

The event began with Daniels welcoming guests with breakfast in a conference room on the main floor before heading to the courtrooms.

Following the courtroom and building tour, the group was granted early access to the Douglas County Youth Center, a facility designed to offer a supportive and rehabilitative environment for young offenders. Daniels arranged for Youth Center leaders to guide the group while providing insightful commentary on the facility's various aspects, from its education and counseling programs to its recreational spaces. Supreme Court justices and staff had the opportunity to interact with the center's staff, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the efforts being undertaken to provide rehabilitation for young individuals.

The tour ended with presentations focusing on the probation initiatives established to support emerging adults, juveniles on probation, and participants in the Young Adult Court. Problem-Solving Court Employment Coordinator Michelle Pfortmiller introduced a pioneering approach that aims to equip young adults with the resources and connections needed to secure meaningful employment within the Omaha community. The probation presentation highlighted the collaboration between local businesses, community organizations, and the justice system to ensure that young adults leaving the justice system have a fair chance at building a successful future.

In a written testimonial, Young Adult Court graduate Marisela Morales-Padilla noted, “Before working with the employment specialist, it was hard because I wasn’t able to find a career that I was interested in and I kept working at jobs I didn’t like.  You helped me figure out what path to take and how to get there. …I think its absolutely amazing that you have a system that gives young people like myself the chance to do something better.  My new goal is to one day become a registered nurse.”

As the tour concluded, the Supreme Court justices and staff expressed their appreciation for the insights gained during the visit. The event underscored the importance of collaboration between the judiciary, local authorities, and the community to create an effective and compassionate justice system that serves the needs of young individuals while fostering safer communities.