Deal appoints Clayton judge to council for justice reform

Steven Teske

Steven Teske

JONESBORO — Clayton County’s chief Juvenile Court judge has been appointed by the governor to help reform the state’s criminal justice system, the Clayton News Daily has learned.

Steven Teske and 20 others have been appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to make recommendations on areas of improvement in the criminal justice system, according to an executive order issued by Deal.

A longtime advocate for juvenile justice reform, Teske has written on the subject in peer publications and testified before state and federal lawmakers. He said he looks forward to a more hands-on approach to effecting change.

“I am honored by this appointment to work with a select group of experts and practitioners in criminal justice,” said Teske.

Teske said the Criminal Justice Reform Council was first created last year to study the adult system and make recommendations to Deal.

“They did and the result was the sweeping reform legislation to reduce the incarceration of nonviolent offenders,” he said. “Now, he has re-established it to look at reforming the juvenile justice system. Thus, he appointed me to add to the council with this eye to assessing our juvenile justice system.”

Teske has served as the president of Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges. He has also been appointed by the Deal to serve on the Children and Youth Coordinating Council, Commission on Family Violence, Judicial Advisory Council for the Department of Juvenile Justice, Governor’s Office for Children and Families and the Federal Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice.

Teske said he has written articles calling for reform in juvenile justice and child welfare that have been published in Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Journal and Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, Juvenile and Family Justice Today and the Georgia Bar Journal. He has also testified on detention reform before several state legislatures and U.S. Congress.

As an advocate for children, Teske said he is impressed by Deal’s interest in understanding their needs.

“I have been extremely impressed by our governor’s leadership to reform our criminal justice system,” said Teske. “He is a former Juvenile Court judge and understands the needs of children and families.”

Deal’s wife, Sandra Deal, shares her husband’s concerns, said Teske.

“I work with the first lady on the Governor’s Office for Children and Families,” he said. “I can positively state that she is an asset for all children and families in this state.”

Teske was appointed associate judge in Clayton Juvenile Court in July 1999 and named judge in July 2003. When Chief Judge K. Van Banke retired last year, Teske was appointed to that position.