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Director of Juvenile Justice for Calcasieu Parish Receives State Award

Post Date:05/22/2009
Bolin Award 0509Dane Bolin, Director of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services in Lake Charles, has been named the 11th recipient of the prestigious Don E. Wydra Memorial Award for Extraordinary Contribution to Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

A plaque symbolic of the award was presented to Bolin at the luncheon of the 29th Governor’s Conference on Juvenile Justice in Baton Rouge on Thursday (May 21) by Ronnie Rossitto and Bernardine Adams, both long-time members of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Board. A perpetual plaque given in Wydra’s memory by two of his many friends will be prominently displayed in a place of Bolin’s choosing throughout the coming year.

Bolin has been active in juvenile justice for 18 years and was named to his current position in early 2007.

“(He) has changed the way our agency does business,” wrote Bill Sommers, director of probation/intake services. “He has instituted policies for field cases, streamlined FINS [Families In Need of Services] cases, enhanced Drug Court and Mental Health Court and started the Governor’s Initiative for Under-Age Drinking, which has become the ‘Model Site’ for the initiative.”

Bolin is heavily involved in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and the MacArthur Foundation’s Louisiana Models for Change in Juvenile Justice. He enhanced sex-offender management, for which Calcasieu Parish is the pilot site, and agreed to be the pilot site for data to bring SAVRY (Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth) to the parish at no cost to the taxpayers. The state adopted SAVRY after Calcasieu and Caddo parishes pioneered it.

Coming from “the trenches,” Bolin began his career as a home detention officer, Sommers wrote, then added, “(He) used to come to my house at 3 a.m. (and) wake me up to go with him to check on juveniles.” His professional experience also includes probation officer, senior program officer, detention director, assistant to the director and assistant director.

As Director, Bolin continues to be directly involved in every aspect of the operation. “(He’s) always checking on officers, secretaries, detention workers, counselors, parents and, most importantly, the juveniles in detention,” Sommers wrote. “It is not uncommon to see (him) in the parking lot with a family in crisis assisting a case officer and the family.”

“He doesn’t stand for the status quo,” Sommers concluded his nomination of Bolin. “He will swim upstream and against the norm when it is the right thing to do and it will help the juveniles. He wants what is best for the children, parents, workers and citizens of Calcasieu Parish.”

The Don E. Wydra Memorial Award was created by members of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Board in memory of the long-time public servant whose name was virtually synonymous with juvenile justice in Louisiana. Wydra, who served three governors – Edwin Edwards, Dave Treen and Buddy Roemer – as chief of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ juvenile services section, died of a heart attack in February 1998 while on a business trip to Florida. He was 56.
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