Welcome to the new DJJ Website!
Find out how to use the new site.

Secretary's Message

July 30, 2019

Department of Juvenile Justice’s Weekly Letter

Welcome to our weekly letter, with the latest on what’s going on and what the team is doing across the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. I hope you will take a moment to read about the ways our DJJ staff, providers, and partners are working to improve the lives of Florida’s youth and families and how we are working to make our communities even better.

Please keep sharing your great work, successes, and accomplishments both on and off the clock in serving the youth, families, and communities touched by DJJ. Your stories inspire us all to do more. So, send your good news to news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon.


Secretary Simone Marstiller


Staff Announcements and Kudos

2019 CPM graduates from djjTeam DJJ added another 20 staff members who have now graduated from the Florida State University’s Certified Public Managers (CPM) program. This graduating class was part of the largest group to graduate from the CPM program, with a record 214 graduating in Tallahassee and a combined total of 380 with two other graduations to be held in Largo and Orlando. CPM is a rigorous nationally -recognized program that focuses on a variety of topics with emphasis on leadership, systems thinking, motivation, and ethics.

CPM graduates for this cohort include the following:  Lisa Alexander, Jennifer Bailey, Omar Bohler, Princilla Brown-Jefferson, Shannon Grant, Monica Gray, Forrest Hallam, Maureen Honan, Katina Horner, Kevin Housel, Patrick McKinstry, Brent Musgrove, Steve Owens, Liz Phillips, Julie Pla, Holly Queen, Christi Stua, Latesha Thomas, Jackie Vickery, and Marcus WilsonKelley Hammersley, who is a member of this cohort, will be graduating in Largo in August.

Liz Phillips with gift basketCongratulations also go to Liz Phillips, director of the Office of Youth and Family Advocacy (pictured to the right) who was the winner of a free membership to the CPM Alumni Group. Liz also received a gift basket which included a $100 gift card.

During the three-day session, Staff Development and Training (SD&T) Director Cina Wilson Johnson and SD&T Deputy Director Sonia Taylor were asked to present two sessions on DJJ’s innovative CPM Continuous Systems Improvement Training (CSIT). CSIT has been underway for the past nine months and was established to fully implement what CPM participants have learned back in the agency.  DJJ is the only agency to implement such an endeavor and is proud to be recognized by CPM for this innovative project. Congratulations to all of this year’s CPM graduates!



Congratulations to Jackie Suttle and Roosevelt Morris for being recognized as the Information Technology (IT) Employees of the Month for June 2019. Each month, IT recognizes one employee from Headquarters and one from the field using a peer nomination process. Being nominated by their peers speaks volumes to their work ethic and dedication to this agency. Congratulations to you both for this deserving award! Also, we would like to send a special congratulations to Roosevelt on his retirement after 18 years with DJJ!

Jackie Suttle

Roosevelt Morris















Refinald Allen of Pinellas RJDCThe Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) would like to send best wishes and appreciation to the newly promoted Major Reginald Allen of the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Major Allen exemplifies everything that is “Orange Tough” and served the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center with distinction for the last two and a half years. Major Allen started as a corporal, worked his way up to a sergeant position, and has served for the last year as a captain and assistant superintendent here at Orange RJDC. Major Allen will be sorely missed at Orange RJDC, but we wish him all the best!







Sherrod Anderson of Broward RJDCCongratulations to Corporal Sherrod Anderson from the Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center for being selected Employee of the Month! Corporal Anderson was chosen for his exemplary service and excellent leadership qualities. Corporal Anderson has grown to be a very dependable and integral part of the detention center’s daily operations.











Elvia Lopez of Palm Beach RJDCCongratulations to Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center Juvenile Detention Officer (JDO) Elvia Lopez for being chosen as the detention center’s Employee of the Month. JDO Lopez has demonstrated an exemplary attitude and behavior, while also being eager and willing to learn new skills.










Instagram logoThe Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has an official Instagram page! Follow us on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/fladjj!




AMIkids Youth Attend Presidential Dive Challenge

diving boat from AMIKids dive challengeMore than 100 youth, AMIkids staff and volunteers recently engaged in the three day AMIkids Annual Presidential Dive Challenge at John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo. As a bridge to their maritime beginnings 50 years ago, AMIkids youth from nine programs across the state worked on their National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) Certified Open Water SCUBA and Skin Diving certifications, while experiencing the beauty of our state’s coral reefs and underwater marine life.

amikids youth diving


Circuit 6 staff wearing red shoesProbation staff in Circuit 6, Unit 201 showed their support in recognizing silent diseases on Red Shoe Day.  Red Shoe Day, which is observed annually on July 25th, remembers and celebrates those who have passed away from Lyme disease and other "invisible and silent diseases" such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It was founded in memory of Theda Myint of Australia, who passed away from Lyme disease on July 25, 2013.




Project bridge youth brushing ponyYouth with Eckerd Connects Project Bridge in Circuit 12 weren’t horsing around during their visit to Beaumont Ranch this week. They had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of how a ranch operates, as well as to glean a variety of skills about how to handle and care for ranch animals. The youth then took the skills they learned and volunteered to help bathe and care for their new ranch friends in an effort to give back to a community partner invested in giving to them—the very essence of restorative justice in action. The team, youth, and their new animal friends are excited about this new partnership, as the teams will be visiting the ranch on a monthly basis to learn additional skills and to volunteer their time for community service projects.






AmiKids youth touring marine centerAMIkids Greater Ft. Lauderdale recently had the opportunity to tour the Luu Marine and the Lauderdale Marine Center. The Lauderdale Marine Center is a yacht repair and refit facility located in Fort Lauderdale. The youth were given the opportunity to see for themselves the numerous career paths in the marine industry, as well as the scope of the projects needed for these massive vessels.






Circuit 8 staff at Independence day lunchCircuit 8 and the Northeast Regional Probation staff gathered to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day with quite an elaborate spread! This was a wonderful time to gather in fellowship and teamwork and to reflect upon how perseverance, diligence and teamwork can create such good things, as our country was created by our forefathers! These are the traits that our juvenile probation officers and all DJJ staff use every day, with each youth under our care, to help them succeed!

The team also used their culinary talents to dish up wonderful treats and goodies to share with each other. Another great team effort for Circuit 8 and regional staff! 

Residential Program Recognizes Nelson Mandela International Day

ST. Johns Youth Academy youth in drum circleSt. Johns Youth Academy, a secure program for boys operated by Sequel, recognized Nelson Mandela International Day in honor of the former statesman’s legacy and contributions during his personal journey from prisoner to president. Dr. Makenzie Mandela, the eldest daughter of Nelson Mandela, was present at TIAA EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville to celebrate the first Nelson Mandela International Day in the state of Florida. The St. Johns Eagles had the great honor of providing entertainment for the event. The boys were also able to experience socializing with a diverse crowd and to dialogue with Dr. Mandela. Through these off-campus activities, the treatment teams receive a clearer picture of the youth’s needs and can address them prior to their release from the program.

Center for Success and Indepence youth and DVM Alberto RullanCenter for Success and Independence Ocala, a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, had students who participate in the equine program travel to Performance Equine Veterinary Hospital in northwest Marion County. The youth received professional instruction by Alberto J. Rullan, DVM on the inner and outer anatomy of the horses’ hoof structure, lower leg bones, joint ligaments and tendons. The interactive lecture was conducted with the use of a necropsied and bisected horses’ hoof and skeletal leg bones. The youth could handle and examine the individual bones of a horse’s hoof, while our veterinarian host explained their location and function.

The students gained invaluable insight on the importance of how horses use their legs and why giving proper care to a horse’s hooves is so vital to the overall health of any horse. Because of having this portion of equine anatomy taught by DVM Alberto Rullan, the students were able to free hand draw hoof and leg anatomy, name the parts and correctly answer questions about their function posed by DVM Rullan. The students were all very well behaved and engaged on this trip and have been invited to schedule another visit to his clinic to further explore the equine anatomy.

Thank you to DVM Rullan and his staff for having the youth stop by for a visit. This partnership with the program adds a superior level of enrichment to Youth Opportunity Investment’s equine program.


Broward Youth Treatment Center youth at Dunkin Donuts

At Broward Youth Treatment Center (BYTC), a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, staff work diligently to assist the youth in developing all the skills necessary before they transition back into the community. Eligible youth (those who have graduated high school) are permitted to look for employment for the remainder of their time at the facility. Recently, three youth were hired at a local Dunkin Donuts. This makes for a great opportunity to exercise all the knowledge and interpersonal skills that they’ve learned in the program. We applaud these youth for their hard work and for making the improvements that have allowed them to grasp this amazing opportunity.




 CCJOCC Youth enjoying recreation activitiesYouth at Cypress Creek Juvenile Offender Correctional Center (JOCC), a secure program for boys operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, worked on positive interactions and sportsmanship for their wellness plans. Youth participated in dodgeball, chess, and card games with requirements to practice skills that included handshakes and positive verbal interactions. All youth involved displayed positive behaviors with Recreational Therapist Terrence Clark and Willie Watts. The dorms that exhibited the most consistent sportsmanship were rewarded with participation in a football tournament.


Speaker Shares Story During Visit to Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center

Minister Demetrice Brinson speaking to youthMinister Demetrice Brinson recently came to the Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center to share his story with the youth. He started out as a troubled young man in Miami and later served prison time in Georgia. Minister Brinson shared that he was able to turn his life around and is now an entrepreneur. Minister Brinson travels around the state sharing his testimony at various detention and residential facilities making a positive impact on our youth. The kids at Pinellas RJDC were engaged and attentively listened to his story.









Also at Pinellas RJDC, the Knights of Columbus and Project Angels came out to the facility and had a “paint party” on Mod B-2. Their volunteer service is greatly appreciated by the Pinellas JDC staff and youth. The mod is in the middle of reconstruction and with their helpful hands, it will be remodeled and renovated in no time!  

Knights of Columbus at Pinellas RJDC
Pictured above (from left to right): Aaron and JoEllen Treherne, Bill Donovan, Michelle Victorine, Antje and Dennis Anderson, Gene Leatham, Patrick Boyle, Steve Beyers, Tricia Colin, Sgt. Gena Clark and Captain Jason Grice



PBRJDC Staff serving foodOn Independence Day, at Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center, the youth and staff enjoyed a festive day outside. The youth participated in an obstacle course, which ended in a water balloon toss and slip and slide. A big thank you to Captains Anthony Butler and Sanders and to Sergeants Eddie Fletcher, Dennis Brown and Cletis Williams for all their help with the event. All of the floor staff ensured the youth and guests had a good time and memorable experience.




Prevention Staff Help Organize CORE Forum in Quincy


Prevention staff at CORE forum

DJJ recently hosted a Community, Outreach, Resources, Education (C.O.R.E.) Forum Resource Fair at the Ferolito Recreation Center in Quincy.  

Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims welcomed attendees and greetings were provided by the Honorable Judge Kathy Garner and the Honorable Judge David Frank.

The DJJ Office of Prevention Services recognized eight families for overcoming challenges to achieve positive outcomes and providers were also recognized for their work with local youth. Among the groups recognized were Gadsden County United and Executive Director Joseph Davis with the Boys & Girls Clubs Florida Alliance. Entertainment was provided by Kenshon Isaac, Devonte Allen and the Restoring Families Program.

Additional remarks were provided by Chair of the Circuit 2 Advisory Board Donnie Read and Supervisor LaKisha Bush with the Office of Probation & Community Intervention. Prevention Deputy Manager Marcus Smith delivered the closing remarks.

Statewide Community Outreach Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady and Executive Director Debra Rackley with Gadsden County AMIKids acknowledged all exhibitors which included AMIKids, Department of Health, Boys and Girls Clubs and Gadsden County law enforcement officers. More than 25 vendors and 150 attendees took part in the event.


The purpose of the C.O.R.E. Forum is to strengthen relationships among families, communities and providers by utilizing support systems beneficial and valuable to the youth and families. C.O.R.E. Forums convene quarterly in various parts of the state to enhance reform efforts, strengthen families, reinforce communities and connect community partners and stakeholders with youth and families.




 Audrey “Pat” McGhee, delinquency prevention specialist in Circuits 6, 10, & 13 recently attended the 5th Annual Community Health Fair in St. Petersburg. The event was hosted at the Empath Health South County Center and Pat set up and manned a DJJ information booth at the event.

The National Council of Negro Women hosted the health fair partnered with Empath Health and The Well to bring awareness on health issues in the community and to promote healthy living. Event vendors provided a small presentation on available community resources and included DJJ, the local Juvenile Welfare Board, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  

The morning started with wellness activities which consisted of massage, spiritual healing through counseling, meditation, mindful movement, and line dancing to burn the calories. The highlight of the event was when the group was introduced to Chef D, a local chef, who provided a delicious but healthy meal that left the group wanting more!

This event is dedicated to health and learning ways to care for ourselves, others, and the community.


Audrey “Pat” McGhee, Chef D; and Dr. LaDonna Butler, chief executive officer for the Well for Life, St. Petersburg
Pictured above (from left to right): Audrey “Pat” McGhee, Chef D; and Dr. LaDonna Butler, chief executive officer for the Well for Life, St. Petersburg                     



PACE Center for Girls Hillsborough

PACE Center for Girls Hillsborough recently enjoyed a visit with Dr. Paulette Walker as part of the PACE-Women in Leadership Lunch & Learn series. Dr. Paulette Walker, the 25th national president and CEO of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through programs in local communities throughout the world is known as a visionary and a dedicated leader and has shown an uncompromising commitment to service.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” is Dr. Walker’s motto. She believes every person has a special gift that should be shared with the world. As a result, Dr. Walker strives to inspire everyone to find their inner gift by uplifting and empowering each life she touches. The girls at PACE were truly inspired by Dr. Walker’s visit, and the amazing way she shared her years of wisdom and experience with them.



Shanteria Randall at town hall meetingShanteria Randall, delinquency prevention specialist for Circuits 9, 18, and 19, recently attended a post legislative session town hall meeting at the Pine Hills Community Center in Orlando.

Shanteria was among more than 50 Orlando residents and community members who joined Florida State Representative Kamia Brown and Florida State Senator Randolph Bracy, III. Not only did community members learn about what transpired during the 2019 Legislative Session, but they were able to voice their concerns and thoughts about the bills in a friendly environment.

This town hall meeting was a great opportunity for officials to hear the community’s views on public issues, to educate the public, and implement solutions to existing problems.