Barbara Allen-Hagen Winner and Finalist Announcement

Excitement is building as we prepare to celebrate the incredible achievements in youth justice with the 2024 Center for Improving Youth Justice (CIYJ) Barbara Allen-Hagen Award finalists and winners. This year our finalists have excelled in fostering family connections, enhancing community support, addressing isolation and focusing on trauma-informed care and treating children like children. Their stories serve as models for the field with tangible ways to be resilient in facing challenges.

Transforming the youth justice system is challenging – especially now as agencies continue to struggle with staffing shortages and some states are considering policy and law changes that roll back progress made to implement reforms. This year’s finalists and winners show us that remarkable improvement is possible with persistence and data-driven strategies. Their dedication continues to pave the way for a brighter future for young people in correction and detention facilities.

Thank you to all our applicants from across the country! The competition was intense and the Selection Committee faced tough decisions. We are excited to announce the winners and finalists for 2024:


McLaughlin Youth Center, Anchorage, AK, Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice, Director Shannon Dilley

Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center, Covington, LA, Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice District, Executive Director Joey Dominick


Johnson County Juvenile Services Center, Olathe, KS, Johnson County Juvenile Services, Director Ellen Hawks

Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center, Tecumseh, OK, Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, Executive Director Jeffrey Cartmell

Join us for an unforgettable evening as we honor the winners at the 2024 CIYJ Awards Night Gala on August 16 in Nashville. This year’s gala promises to be our most exhilarating yet, filled with inspiring stories of transformation, heartfelt acknowledgments, a performance by our Kids Got Talent winner and a celebration of the unwavering commitment to improving the lives of young people. Don’t miss this exceptional evening in Nashville, where we come together to honor progress and inspire future advancements in youth justice!

The CIYJ Barbara Allen-Hagen Award, established in 2007, honors the legacy of Barbara Allen-Hagen, a dedicated advocate from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) who led the development of the performance-based standards project, now CIYJ’s signature program. This prestigious award recognizes facilities and programs that embody Barbara’s guiding principle: Treat all young people coming into facilities as one of our own. The awardees demonstrate the positive impact of adhering to research-based standards and the continuous improvement process championed by CIYJ.

Kapiolani Kassal is the Communications Director for the Center for Improving Youth Justice. She has over 10 years of experience in various aspects of the Communication & non-profit industries. Kapiolani has her Bachelor's in Communications, Management, and Design from Ithaca College and her Master's in Television Producing from Boston University. Prior to working at CIYJ, Kapiolani worked as the Communications Administrator for MIT's Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science. She's had a passion and enthusiasm for the justice industry for as long as she can remember and is excited to be able to dive in as CIYJ celebrates the 20th Anniversary. In her free time, she loves playing social sports, attending weekly trivia, going to the theatre, and hanging out with her dog, Gatsby.

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