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North Carolina Representative and Advocate Win National Recognition

June 14, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    

Contact:
Josh Gordon, 202-878-6610
gordon@njjn.org

@NJJNetwork

North Carolina Representative and Advocate Win National Recognition
for their Work on Behalf of Young People in Trouble with the Law

WASHINGTON -- Two North Carolinians –State Representative Marcia Morey and Brandy Bynum Dawson – are being recognized as leaders in youth justice reform by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN), based in Washington, D.C. The leadership awards honor advocates working at the state level who have championed the cause of youth justice reform. These individuals have shown themselves to be true friends of and advocates for youth in trouble with the law, and the awards recognize their commitment to creating a smaller, fairer, and more equitable juvenile justice system.

“We wanted to honor these leaders because they understand that North Carolina’s youth justice system is like a maze, with too many entrances and lots of dead ends,” said Sarah Bryer, the executive director of the National Juvenile Justice Network. “They’ve each done crucial work to redesign the maze with fewer entrances and clearer pathways out, so that our justice system makes sense and kids can be rehabilitated and contribute to their communities.”

We are recognizing State Representative Marcia Morey for her long-standing work and significant successful efforts to create diversion programs and to change the age of jurisdiction in North Carolina. Her efforts have created positive momentum for further reform throughout the state and across the country. “We nominated Representative Morey because of her courageous and compassionate work to help create sensible and sustainable justice policies for all North Carolinians,” said Peggy Nicholson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project, a North Carolina youth justice reform organization which nominated her for the honor. “During her time in the General Assembly, and as a judge before that, Representative Morey has distinguished herself by working with a variety of community partners, fellow legislators, and the Governor’s office to keep our communities safe and support better outcomes for youth and their families.”

We recognize Brandy Bynum Dawson, Rural Forward NC Associate Director, because of her decade plus commitment to raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction in North Carolina, which laid the groundwork and inspired the final passage of the legislation. “Brandy has engaged in exceptional advocacy and serves as a visionary leader for youth justice system reform in North Carolina,” said Ricky Watson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project. “Her deep and passionate support of young people has positively impacted the trajectory of so many.”

The awards will be given July 17, 2018, at an annual gathering of youth justice advocates from across the country. This year, the conference is hosted in Durham, NC.

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The National Juvenile Justice Network is composed of coalitions, organizations and alumni of the Youth Justice Leadership Institute across 41 states and the District of Columbia, all of whom advocate for a fairer justice system for children and teens.

 

More About Representative Marcia Morey

Marcia Morey is a Democratic member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 30 in Durham County. She was appointed on April 5, 2017.

During the 2017 legislative session, Morey was a honorary co-sponsor of House Bill 280, which raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18.  She has been a key player in a bipartisan effort to make this happen. She currently serves on the Finance, Environment, Judiciary III, State & Local Government, and Pensions Committees.

She served the 14th Judicial District Court as a district court judge for 18 years, five of which were as the Chief District Court Judge. Morey worked with law enforcement, defense attorneys, and prosecutors to develop new ways to deal with 16 and 17-year-olds who had been charged with a crime. She spearheaded a program, called the "Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP)," that diverts these youths to education and community service programs that allows the teens to avoid a criminal record which enables them to find jobs and receive financial aid for college. MDP has helped over 300 youth and is now a model that has been copied across North Carolina. 

In 1998, Governor Jim Hunt appointed Morey as the executive director of the Governor’s Commission on Juvenile Crime and Justice to reform North Carolina's juvenile justice system. During her tenure juvenile crime rates were reduced by approximately 40%. She previously served as an assistant district attorney in Durham and created the first diversionary program in the state (and second in the nation) for first-time youthful offenders charged with misdemeanors.

Morey earned her undergraduate degree from Millikin University in Illinois, her master's degree in education from Reed College, and her J.D. from Northwestern University Law School. 

Morey grew up in Decatur, IL, the soybean capital of the world.  Both parents were active in their community and taught her the importance of giving back. Morey is committed to carrying out that mission and has called Durham her home for the last 25 years.


More About Brandy Bynum Dawson

Brandy Bynum Dawson joined Rural Forward NC, a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, as the Associate Director in September 2014. In her role, Brandy works with the Director and program staff to manage, plan, organize, and direct daily capacity building services. Specifically, she provides technical assistance, coaching, facilitation, resource management and support of community initiatives in rural central and eastern North Carolina.

Brandy has been active in the nonprofit community for more than a decade as a professional, volunteer, and board member to improve outcomes for children and families. Prior to joining Rural Forward NC in 2014, Brandy served as the director of policy and outreach at NC Child for over twelve years.  Brandy has extensive experience conducting research and analysis of public policy issues and developing summary reports on a variety of topics; as well as providing community development services to agencies, communities, and coalitions in the areas of civic engagement, action planning, results-based facilitation, program implementation and organizational collaboration. Brandy has facilitated several long-term initiatives across a wide array of subject areas such as education, health, behavioral health and substance abuse services, and juvenile and criminal justice.

Brandy graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. Brandy also holds a master’s degree in public administration from NC State University, with a concentration in mental health policy.

About the Award

The Award for Leadership in Juvenile Justice Reform is presented jointly by NJJN and one of our member organizations to honor advocates who have championed the cause of youth justice reform in their state. These advocates have shown themselves to be true friends to and advocates for youth in trouble with the law, and the award recognizes their commitment to creating a fairer, more equitable juvenile justice system.

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The National Juvenile Justice Network is composed of coalitions, organizations and alumni of the Youth Justice Leadership Institute across 41 states and the District of Columbia, all of whom advocate for a fairer justice system for children and teens. For more information, visit www.njjn.org.

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