This teaching note accompanies the Elizabeth Best case (# 675123), which is available online from the Harvard Business School.
This "Innovations in State and Local Government" case begins in January 1983, when Ellen Schall is appointed commissioner of New York City's Department of Juvenile Justice, an agency in upheaval. DJJ was established to detain seven- to fifteen-year-old children between arrest and adjudication. Most of DJJ's charges are held in a 25 year old secure detention facility called "Spofford," a notoriously violent and dilapidated facility in the South Bronx. The case describes the situation as Schall walks into it.