Mr. Pennington came to PCCD in October 2000 as the Program Manager of the Office of Victims' Services until transferring as Program Manager to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in February 2003. He was appointed as OJJDP Director in June 2005 and served in this capacity for eight years. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Pennington served as a staff counselor in an out-of-state residential program, a Treatment Supervisor with the Abraxas Foundation, an Assistant Director of the South Mountain Secure Treatment Unit for Cornell Abraxas, Inc., and Program Director for the Danville Center for Adolescent Females for Cornell Abraxas.
While OJJDP Director, he oversaw the development of policy recommendations and administration of federal and state funds to support programs designed to improve the Commonwealth's juvenile justice system. Such improvements included oversight to increase program opportunities for youth to demonstrate accountability, reduce and prevent drug dependency, and learn pro-social skills to succeed in their communities, as well as programs to support families and prevent violence, delinquency, substance abuse, and other related problem behaviors among children and youth.
From January 2013 until March 2016, Mr. Pennington served as Director of the Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services (BJJS) in the Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. In this capacity, he planned, organized, directed, and coordinated statewide services for adjudicated youth. During his tenure as Director of BJJS, Mr. Pennington oversaw the closure of the State-operated Youth Development Center in New Castle, Pennsylvania and the Cresson Secure Treatment Unit. Not only did he organize the transfer of the juveniles held there to more appropriate dispositional alternatives, he organized the transfer of the facility's employees into other related positions.
He returned as Director of PCCD's OJJDP in March 2016, eventually adding to his responsibilities as Director of PCCD's Office of Criminal Justice System Improvements.
Highlights of his tenure included his work as an agency lead partner in the MacArthur Foundation Models for Change (MFC) Initiative, which focused on developing long-term reform models in critical areas of juvenile justice for replication throughout Pennsylvania and in other states; participation on the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy Leadership Team, which resulted in the development of the Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES); and the development of the Pennsylvania Resource Center for Evidence-based Prevention and Intervention Programs and Practices (EPISCenter), which provides active, strategic technical assistance and training to awarded grantees. During this time frame, he also served as Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice Specialist to the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention under the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice.
His honors include the following:
- Marilyn Mennis Award, presented by the Pennsylvania Community Providers Association, in recognition of his dedication, leadership, and advocacy on behalf of Pennsylvania's children and their families, 2011.
- Tony Gobar Award, presented by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 2019. This award is given each year to an individual that has served as a State Juvenile Justice Specialist and exemplifies excellence in service to others, is dedicated to improving the juvenile justice system, and demonstrates compassion and concern.
Mr. Pennington holds a Master of Science in Administration of Justice from Shippensburg University which he earned in June 2002. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Allegheny College in May 1993.