- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Six weeks after an inspector general’s report chastised officials for failing for more than a year to form a committee to review serious crimes committed by juvenile offenders on the run from custody, the District appears to be moving forward to establishing it.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has nominated Mishaela Duran, who previously worked at the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services, to serve as the public member on the Juvenile Abscondence Review Committee, according to Ward 1 D.C. Council member Jim Graham.

“I am reviewing her resume now and considering [a] possible public roundtable on the nomination,” said Mr. Graham, who leads the council committee that has oversight of DYRS.

The appointment of a public member on the five-person committee, as well identifying the agency that would provide oversight, were two recommendations made by the inspector general in a report issued in April. The report raised concern over the fact that while the law requiring the formation of the committee had been passed in March 2011, there had been little progress made to establish it.

A mayor’s order issued on June 6 established that the DYRS would provide administrative support for the committee.

The Juvenile Abscondence Review Committee is tasked with reviewing the cases of serious crimes committed by juveniles who have fled from DYRS custody and determining ways to prevent youth from running away.

A report by The Washington Times, which was cited in the inspector general’s report, found that between 2007 and 2011 there were 53 DYRS wards who were either victims of homicides or found guilty of involvement in a homicide. It was not known how many of those youth had fled DYRS custody at the time of the homicides.

A spokesman for the mayor could not be reached Tuesday to comment about Ms. Duran’s nomination.

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, an independent accrediting body for schools, lists Ms. Duran as chief of staff. Ms. Duran could not be reached at her office Tuesday afternoon.

A biography on the organization’s website states that Ms. Duran previously served as the interim executive director of the National PTA. Mr. Graham said that Ms. Duran’s resume also states that she was employed as the special assistant to the director of DYRS.

The public member spot on the committee is the only position that required appointment by the mayor. The other four positions will be filled by the director of DYRS, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, chief judge of the D.C. Superior Court and the District’s U.S. Attorney, or their designees.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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