The A. L. Carlisle Child Advocacy Award: 2012: Richard J. Gardell (MN)
CJJ’s 2012 A.L. Carlisle Child Advocacy Award was presented to Richard J. Gardell of Minnesota on June 23, 2012, for championing the good for children and youth with courage, compassion and commitment.
Mr. Gardell has been a leader and a shaper of juvenile justice policy both in Minnesota and nationally since the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was passed in 1974. In 1979, Mr. Gardell was appointed by the governor to serve as an inaugural member of the newly formed Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC, the Minnesota SAG). Mr. Gardell proudly represented law enforcement as a member of JJAC until 1992. He was re-appointed in 2002 and has served as the JJAC chair since 2007.
During his tenure with JJAC, Mr. Gardell has worked collaboratively to bring Minnesota into compliance with the JJDPA. Most notably, in 2008, he and his JJAC colleagues recommended that Minnesota adopt a statewide policy on disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system, and worked with a broad coalition to get such policy adopted and passed into law in 2009.
Mr. Gardell’s leadership, however, has not been limited to the state level. In the early 1980s, he was part of the great team of advocates that established the National Coalition of State Juvenile Justice Advisory Groups – now CJJ – and served as CJJ’s National Chair in 1988. Mr. Gardell was also the gubernatorial appointee to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice for four years, serving his last year as chair, Mr. Gardell also served the people of St. Paul, Minnesota, as a law enforcement officer for 31 years, beginning as a police officer and rising through the ranks to Assistant Chief. In this capacity, Mr. Gardell witnessed the challenges young people face and worked to provide them with many opportunities to succeed.
For 30 years, he has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America, St. Paul Police Explorer Post 454 and mentored many high-school-aged youth. He also volunteered for 10 years as a baseball coach for gradeschool youth at two inner-city schools. In 2001, he convinced the St. Paul Police Department to donate
bicycles that were recovered and unclaimed to the nonprofit Youth Express so that they could establish a youth-run business repairing and selling bicycles to neighborhood youth. He also volunteered with the capital campaign to help Youth Express to buy and remodel a building as their permanent home.
Mr. Gardell is the CEO of 180 Degrees, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides human and correctional services to juveniles and adults involved with the justice system. As CEO, he oversaw the development of an evening learning center in Ramsey County, a detention alternative that allows court-involved youth to stay in their homes and schools, and learn critical life skills. “Turning lives around to provide safer communities” is not just the mission statement for 180 Degrees, Inc. -- it also defines Mr. Gardell’s life’s work.
Mr. Gardell lives in St. Paul, MN, where he was born and raised. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of Minnesota. He is also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute (KY) and the Harvard University Leadership Series. He and his wife Jackie are very involved in their grandchildren’s lives: 8-year-old TJ, 6-year-old Caitlyn, 2-year-old Evan, 1-year-old Keira and 5-month-old Giselle.
Richard J. Gardell and family on June 23, 2012, Bethesda, Md.
See all winners of The A. L. Carlisle Child Advocacy Award.