March | April 2013

Robert L. Listenbee Assumes Leadership of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Photo of Robert L. Listenbee, OJJDP Administrator.
Robert L. Listenbee, OJJDP Administrator.
On March 26, 2013, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary announced that Robert L. Listenbee, a highly respected public defender and juvenile justice system reformer, has assumed the role of Administrator at OJJDP.

Melodee Hanes, who served as Acting Administrator since January 2012, is now OJJDP's Principal Deputy Administrator.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Bob Listenbee as OJJDP's new Administrator. Bob has been a champion for juvenile justice issues for many years, and did a tremendous job as a co-chair of my Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I'm also deeply grateful to Melodee for her leadership and renewed focus on ensuring that children are treated fairly by the juvenile justice system. I look forward to continuing to work with both these dedicated public servants as we carry on these critical efforts.

“Bob Listenbee will bring tremendous leadership and experience to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in its efforts to support positive youth development and keep our children safe from violence,” said Ms. Leary.

Before joining OJJDP as Administrator, Listenbee served as a member of OJJDP’s Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, which advises the President, Congress, and the OJJDP Administrator on juvenile justice policy. Previously, Listenbee was chief of the Defender Association of Philadelphia's Juvenile Unit for 16 years and a trial lawyer with the association for 27 years.

As a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Listenbee helped advise Pennsylvania’s Governor on juvenile justice policy. He also was a member of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, which examined the “kids for cash” scandal in the juvenile courts of Luzerne County, PA, and recommended major reforms to the statewide system.

Listenbee has contributed his expertise on policy committees of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and of the National Juvenile Defender Center, as well as on the advisory board of the National Center for Juvenile Justice.

During her tenure as Acting Administrator, Ms. Hanes successfully championed initiatives to reduce both children’s exposure to violence and the high volume of students entering the juvenile justice system following school suspensions. In addition, she has led an ongoing effort to reorganize the Office to more accurately reflect OJJDP's primary work of youth development, prevention, and safety; juvenile justice improvement; state and community development; and innovation and research. The restructuring will also assist the Office in better supporting the field at a time of declining resources.