MYVEGAS Magazine has always devoted itself to be a publication which shines a light on the truly exceptional people who live and work in our community every day. Once each year we take time out to focus particularly on the Top Women of Influence, that fantastic sisterhood of powerful women who utilize their reach and expertise to do the most good. Dr. Susan Feneck is one such woman, and her efforts for positive change are nothing less than herculean. You may recognize her name from our previous Top Doctors of Las Vegas issue from just this past May, and in an impressive turn of events, she has once again been nominated, this time as a Top Woman of Influence.
For many years now, Dr. Feneck has dedicated her life to bringing awareness to changing the juvenile justice system in the United States and our community. If you know anything at all about the present state of our juvenile justice system, then you know it is a badly broken “system” at best. The accused are often minimally and incompetently represented, sentences rarely fit the crime, and during incarceration, families are also unfairly victimized with exorbitant unnecessary fees. There are also incredibly high court fees for just about every stage of the legal process. One bit of progress in the right direction is that Nevada is the second state in the country to eliminate these fees in the juvenile courts, and while that is progress, Dr. Feneck isn’t satisfied.
We still live in a country where the prison system is something which is profitable to corporations and a multimillion dollar industry. More and more states have privatized their prisons. This means they pay corporations to operate, staff and maintain prisons for less money than they would have to spend if the state was running it themselves. Private prison corporations are paid for each inmate they house, incentivizing them to ensure as many people are incarcerated as possible, that living conditions are maintained as cheaply as possible, and that they stay that way. The same policies which are affecting the adult criminal justice system also apply to the juvenile justice system, and in the case of children, the exploitation of the families affected is mind boggling. Their court fees may have been eliminated in two states one being Nevada, but those aren’t the only fees associated with having a child incarcerated. This is one part of a larger, systemic injustice that Dr. Feneck is working so hard to combat.
In order to realize her vision of a truly just and fair juvenile justice system, Dr. Feneck is partnering with those who are passionate about this cause and who are willing to help. She has reached out to some of our most prominent community leaders and influential private citizens and has rallied them to her cause. In November of 2019, she will be presenting an event called Juvenile Justice Impact: Turning Chains Into Change. The event will be hosted by Jeff Hoffman, serial entrepreneur partially responsible for revolutionary companies such as Priceline.com and uBid.com. The event will included many notable public speakers from our community and celebrities. Dr. Feneck will have all donations and all proceed to benefit The Harbor, an organization which provides compassionate assessments and services to youth and families to address their immediate and ongoing needs. “The event will be for the leaders in the field and the community businesses to share triumphs, challenges and come together to make positive changes in the juvenile justice system and hopefully a complete movement.” Dr. Feneck hopes that the change created by this event will be life altering for the youth and their families that she is so passionate about. The opulent location and services of the event will be generously sponsored by and co-hosted by Angelo J. Giordano of Giordano Productions, Art of Culinary, and Bar Smart.Systems at the Giordano Productions Space in Tivilo Village. During our interview, Dr. Feneck said, “there are no words to describe my gratitude for everyone’s dedication and passion to be a part of this event to make further positive changes.”
Dr. Feneck certainly has a talent for bringing the right people together for the right cause, and I for one am looking forward to seeing where her battle takes her next. I asked her what one thing she would like people to take away from this story, and she explained that these issues in the justice system affect us all even if their affect doesn’t seem obvious. Members of our community are being exploited and abused, and often our tax dollars are being used to fund it. We are collectively responsible for this situation existing in the first place, and we are collectively responsible for ending it. For these reasons and so many more, Dr. Feneck has our support and we are proud to present her to you as one of our Top Women of Influence.
Aldo Mencatto, Fashion Designer
Chris Harman, Photograph; Harman House Productions
Jessica Angelina, Hair and Make Up
Angelo J. Giordano, Sponsor of Event, Angelo Giordano Productions, BarSmart.Systems, Art of Culinary