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Secretary's Message

November 2, 2012

Wansley Walters


Dear DJJ team members:



Welcome to my weekly letter. Please allow me to share some recent news and announcements.


ROADMAP UPDATE: I was recently interviewed for my views on juvenile delinquency, reform and the agency’s Roadmap to System Excellence. You can watch the first in a series of these interviews by clicking here. Regarding the Roadmap, I am pleased to announce that DJJ has received additional letters of support for the Roadmap from the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, Guardian ad Litem and others. The letters are posted on the Roadmap webpage. Town Hall meetings have been scheduled in eight cities across Florida. Stakeholders, employees, civic leaders, parents, youth and the public at large are encouraged to attend and contribute ideas to shape the path to juvenile justice reform. The first Town Hall meeting, open to the public and local DJJ staff, is in Tallahassee on Nov. 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education, 1528 Surgeons Drive. Please visit the Roadmap Calendar of Town Hall Meetings for the latest information.   


LEGISLATIVE BUDGET REQUEST: This week DJJ presented its Legislative Budget Request to the Governor's Office of Policy and Budget and members of the media. Here are some highlights (for the complete presentation, click here; for a summary of the LBR, click here).


Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-2014 funding request:


$374.4 million – General Revenue


$165.6 million – Trust Fund


Total Request – $540.0 million; 3,503.5 Full-Time Employees




Historical funding:


2007-08 Appropriation: $709.3 million - 5,011 FTE


2012-13 Appropriation: $522.5 million – 3,500.5 FTE


Net Reduction – $186.8 million – 1,510.5 FTE (30 percent)




Other noteworthy trends we pointed out to the Governor’s Office: Delinquency arrests have dropped from 145,536 in FY 2007-08 to approximately 96,448 last year, a decline of almost 34 percent. During that time, the number of youth committed to residential programs declined from 6,668 to 3,690, a 48 percent decrease. These numbers are definitely moving in the right direction.


TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE DAY: On Thursday, DJJ hosted Trauma-Informed Care Day in Ocala. Keynote speaker Tonier Cain, a national advocate for trauma-informed care and the subject of the movie “Healing Neen,” discussed trauma, incarceration and recovery with representatives from DJJ, USF, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Heartland for Children and citizens. Tonier’s compelling life story detailing her brutal and abusive childhood reveals the impact of an individual’s trauma on the community, and highlights the need for trauma-informed care. Prior history of a traumatic experience is often found among youth in the juvenile justice system, and frequently co-exists with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Addressing trauma enhances the effectiveness of youth treatment services. Many thanks to Acting North Region Detention Services Director Dixie Fosler and Christi Stua, acting superintendent at Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) for coordinating this event. For more information on trauma-informed care, click here.


Tonier Cain and Robert Yonts   Tonier Cain and Dixie Fosler
In photo at left, Tonier Cain presents Senior Juvenile Justice Detention Officer Robert Yonts (Marion RJDC) with the Award of Excellence for Creating Trauma-Informed Environments for Children. In photo at right, Tonier presents Acting North Region Detention Services Director Dixie Fosler with the Best Practices Award for Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care Practices.


CIVIL CITATION TO EXPAND: On Wednesday, the Florida Smart Justice Alliance (FSJA) announced that Leon County will serve as the site for an adult civil citation pilot program. Adults who commit first-time non-violent misdemeanors will be issued civil citations as a way to divert people into community service and treatment rather than arresting them. The initiative is expected to impact adults the same way juvenile civil citations which led to a decrease in recidivism among youths. Civil citation has proven its value and effectiveness beyond doubt in Florida’s juvenile system. It has protected the futures of thousands of children and allowed us to use our resources more effectively. I am confident it will prove just as beneficial for adults and commend FSJA for advocating this forward-thinking approach. Click here to learn more about this proposal.


WELCOME ABOARD: I am pleased to announce that Michael Bowen has joined DJJ as chief of investigations in the Office of Inspector General. Michael is a Certified Inspector General Investigator and Certified Fraud Examiner. His prior experience includes more than 23 years of service with the U.S. Air Force Office, where he was superintendent of Special Investigations. He has held numerous investigative positions with several Florida agencies, including the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Please join me in welcoming Michael to the DJJ team.


DETENTION KUDOS: The following is from Charles Parkins, superintendent at Palm Beach RJDC: “The Criminal Justice Council contacted me a couple of weeks ago to talk about the re-entry summit that they were hosting. They wanted to get some insight into the barriers and hurdles youth face as they are released from our detention and residential settings. I told Brenda Oakes, the coordinator, that she should just ask the kids if she really wants to know. If we had all of the answers then we wouldn’t need the meeting. So I invited the entire summit to be held here at Palm Beach Detention. We had 30+ members from the community, DJJ, DOC, Education, and various disciplines in attendance. The meeting was structured to have the group meet with a ‘panel of experts’ consisting of youth held in juvenile detention. The kids did fantastic! They were articulate and presented the hurdles they faced in a way that no adult would have been able to deliver. Afterwards, the event was catered and the six youth who participated joined the members for lunch. Each youth sat at a table by themselves and had rational, academic discussions with members of the court, judges, attorneys, and many others.”


CONGRATULATIONS: The following new team members graduated Oct. 19 from basic officer training at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Tallahassee. To become certified juvenile justice probation officers (JPOs), they successfully completed 196 hours of training.


Manuel Arrieta, Circuit 15, Unit 102
Meredith Baker, Circuit 17, Unit 108
Kathleen A. Bautz, Circuit 16, Unit 102
Jalynsey Brown, Circuit 15, Unit 102
Janine M. Bruno, Circuit 15, Unit 101
Dennis M. Chandler, Circuit 12, Unit 201
Tashia Daley, Circuit 17, Unit 105
Blaise Debreus, Circuit 20, Unit 201
Tranquilla Golden-Taylor, Circuit 15, Unit 102
John A. Hancock, Circuit 3, Unit 101
Wilkens Hyppolite, Circuit 19, Unit 401
Paula G. Johnson, Circuit 4, Unit 205
Jeffrey E. Langevin, Circuit 20, Unit 202
Glenda K. Lewis, Circuit 12, Unit 301
Nicole M. Migut, Circuit 20, Unit 202
Shakela Minns, Circuit 17, Unit 106
Nekeisha R. Pelham, Circuit 18, Unit 201
Madeline X. Rodriguez, Circuit 18, Unit 201
Tuwana O. Rossin, Circuit 8, Unit 201
Jamal R. Sanders, Circuit 12, Unit 202
Jeff Swartek, Circuit 7, Unit 101
Tarneisha R. Thomas, Circuit 19, Unit 401
Makeba Walker, Circuit 17, Unit 112
Adam R. Wiegand, Circuit 12, Unit 202
Urhonda L. Williams-Gadson, Circuit 4, Unit 201
Tamika Wright, Circuit 7, Unit 303


PROBATION KUDOS: Circuit 6 JPO Loretta Harvey received the following letter from the parent of a youth assigned to her caseload.


Ms. Harvey,


I can hardly express how truly grateful to you that I am for everything you have done for not only (my daughter), but also for me and my family. You helped us to see past our troubles and to see the greatness in ourselves. I’ve learned to forgive, learn from our mistakes and use that knowledge to grow from not only these issues, but to also how to apply it to anything that may occur in the future. It has been a blessing to have you as (my daughter’s) JPO. Without your love and support, we wouldn’t be where we are today and knowing that things will continue to grow.  Letting go of the past and looking to the future is the greatest gift that you gave us. Thank you so much.


(Parent’s name redacted)


DETENTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: Please join me in congratulating the following team members on their recent appointments.


Forrest Hallam was appointed superintendent at Alachua RJDC on Oct. 26. Forrest has been with DJJ since 2000, starting as an OPS worker before being hired as a juvenile detention officer. He served as assistant superintendent at Alachua RJDC from 2006 until his promotion to superintendent. Forrest has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Florida State University.


Daryl Wolf was appointed superintendent of Miami-Dade RJDC today (Nov. 2). Previously, she served as superintendent at Broward RJDC, where she has worked since joining DJJ in 2006. Daryl has helped troubled kids and their families for more than three decades. She served as director of detention services for the Leadership Training Institute on Long Island, based at the Nassau County Juvenile Detention Center in Westbury, NY, for 18 years. While there, she coordinated and directed numerous community-based programs including HIV/AIDS education and prevention, adoption disruption, mentoring, after-school tutoring programs and an alternative school. Daryl has master’s degree from Adelphi University in New York. Since joining DJJ she has received the Assistant Secretary’s Award for Teamwork in 2011 and a Davis Productivity Award in 2010.


Please join me in offering congratulations and best wishes to Forrest and Darryl on their new responsibilities.  


SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK: Daylight Saving Time ends this Sunday at 2:00 am. Please remember to turn your clocks back one hour.




Thank you for your hard work and ongoing commitment to juvenile justice reform. Enjoy the weekend.








Wansley Walters






PS: Please send any noteworthy or newsworthy items for consideration in my weekly letter to Communications Director C. J. Drake at cj.drake@djj.state.fl.us or call 850.921.5905. Submissions are considered on a space-available basis and may be edited for clarity and length. Thank you for your cooperation.