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Secretary's Message

August 27, 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

FL taxwatch logo

Several DJJ members were recently honored during the 2019 Florida TaxWatch Productivity Awards. The Florida TaxWatch Productivity Awards are presented annually to recognize state employees and work units whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity. Team DJJ 2019 Florida TaxWatch Award recipients were:

The DJJ Emergency Management SharePoint System Team which included Naomi Screen, Brett Ross, Randy Agerton, Natosha Faul and the Human Resources Employment System (HRES) Team T. Dodie Garye, Jackie Suttle, Selena Boles, Lee Hartsfield, and Donna Gulley.

Congratulations to everyone who not only participated in the 2019 Florida Taxwatch Productivity Awards but who also made efforts towards improving practices at DJJ.

Kelly Hammersly, CPM graduateCircuit 13 would like to congratulate Assistant Chief Kelly Hammersley on her graduation from Florida State University’s Certified Public Managers (CPM) program. Kelly’s graduation ceremony was held in Largo, Florida on August 8th with 81 other CPM graduates. CPM is a nationally recognized program that focuses on a variety of topics with an emphasis on leadership, systems thinking, organizational structures and ethics.







Collier staff at baby showerCollier Regional Juvenile Detention Center honored two staff members with a surprise baby shower at the facility, Sergeant Drita Bajram and Officer Angela Williams.  This celebration was facilitated by Major Rodney Goss with the assistance of Lissa Regnier, our mental health staff and several other staff members.  This was a great opportunity to recognize the mothers to be with a celebration that brought happiness to the staff and their family members. 







jdo service awardsSergeant Wayne Towns and Sergeant Mildred Porter recently presented Juvenile Detention Officer (JDO) Timasha Jackson and Juvenile Detention Officer Joseph Kidwell with service awards.

JDO Jackson received a 10-year band and JDO Kidwell received a 5-year band, both received certificates from Assistant Secretary   for their tenure with DJJ. Congratulations to both and thank you for your service!








Pictured above (Top Row): Officer Debbie Cronk, Cpl. Andrew Orcutt.Collier Regional Juvenile Detention Center presented several staff members, including supervisors, with perfect attendance awards for the month of July.  The members were recognized for their outstanding dedication, timeliness and performing their duties in an exceptional manner.  The following officers were recognized for their achievements:  Sgt. Michael Mohr, Sgt. Vikingson Dalien, Sgt. William Devault, Cpl. Michael Noonan, Cpl. Aiden William, Cpl. Bonia Baptiste, Cpl. Gabriela Albu, Cpl. Andrew Orcutt, Officer Regina Jean Francois, Officer Pauleen Arrera, and Officer Debbie Cronk.





Detention Center Throws Surprise Birthday Celebration For Youth

broward rjdcBroward Regional Juvenile Detention Center held a surprise birthday party for one of the female youth. The evening was filled with music, games, and food. The youth was surprised and very appreciative of the lengths the staff went to in order to set this up. Her guardian was not available to come due to health concerns, so this event made her feel great on her special day.








Pasco school supply collectionPasco Regional Youth Detention Center held its 2nd Annual Back-to-School Luncheon, which was sponsored by church group L.T.A.G. (Let's Talk About God). This group of dedicated individuals came out to provide lunch for the youth and staff. They also provided school supplies for the youth to have to start their school year off right. This group visits every Saturday and has been a regular at Pasco. Not only do they spend time with the youth but they have also provided clothing, shoes, inspiration, and sponsors for our youth/family holiday luncheons.



YWAM basketball with youthSeveral volunteers from “Youth with a Mission” (YWAM) went to Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center and spent time playing basketball with the B5 Honor’s Mod youth. YWAM Orlando is a mission’s movement that trains and empowers young people to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. 






Every year a new set of Junior League of Greater Orlando Mentoring Adolescent Girls to Inspire Change (MAGIC) volunteers register to provide services to the youth at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center.  They perform a variety of services for the youth at Orange including mentoring, dinner events, and presentations. Thank you Junior League for your dedication and commitment to our youth!

MAGIC volunteers

Pictured above (from left to right): Annette Gubert, Britani Hall, Laura Loshin, Ashley Cohen, Keira Sullivan, Shelby Hudspeth, Meghann Morris, Staci Wilkenson, Kristen Ackley, Vanessa Nikki, Earlene Spence, Ashton Bligh, Charla Gilmore, Maria Zuckerman, Allison MacCumbee, Claire Gagarin



Pictured staff: Officer Kiara Rivera, Sgt. Lesley Roberson and Capt. Jason GriceHillsborough Juvenile Detention Center recently celebrated  level 3 youth by having a celebration that included corn dogs, chips, fries, and a cold drink. The youth loved the food and everyone had a great time.







Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) held an all- hands meeting on August 15, 2019, and received mandatory mental health and medical training. The meeting was well attended and was concluded with the Pinellas Proud awards and the announcement of the winner of the Volcano Bay drawing. The drawing was for staff appreciation and included a pack of four tickets and a fifty-dollar Visa gift card for food and refreshments. The winner of the drawing was Facility Training Coordinator Freda Isom. The event ended with food donated by Publix and Johnny’s Italian Restaurant. The recipients all received a certificate and a beautiful “Pinellas Proud” lapel pin. The Lapel pin has a Lion on it with the word Proud in green letters to be worn on the officer’s collar.



Palm beach staff hosting chicken and waffles lunchPalm Beach Regional Detention Center hosted a chicken and waffles day for all level 3 youth. During lunch, the youth were able to enjoy waffles and chicken since they have been on their best behavior. There was a total of 16 youth who were able to  enjoy this delicious treat before heading back to class. 











Center For Success And Independence Youth Interviews at Florida Horse Park

CFSI ocala youth after interviewCenter for Success and Independence – Ocala youth J. G. was granted a job interview at Florida Horse Park through the Equine Program. The job the youth applied for was a show grounds maintenance position. With assistance from Vocational Instructor - Mr. Karr and Administrative Assistant Ms. M. Williams, a job-specific resume was created for his interview. In preparation for the interview, the Equine Assistant - Mr. Sproat formulated job interview questions and conducted a mock interview with the youth until he was comfortable with his responses. Youth J.G. was well prepared by the team and did well in his first professional interview. The equine program volunteers to assist at the Florida Horse Park and this has created a partnership that will provide opportunities for the youth to become employed.






ocala youth cleanupAlso at the Center for Success and Independence – Ocala, staff and several youths went on a community service outing to Liberty Park located in Marion County, FL. This was an opportunity for the youth to build relationships with community partners and give back to their community.  The youths were able to clean up debris, mulch and pick up trash within the area.  One of the youth stated, “This was a great experience” knowing that they positively impacted Marion County.









Rep. Eskamani and Facility Administrator (FA) Carlos Harris Representative Anna Eskamani visited Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Youth Academy, both of which are non-secure programs for boys, operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions. Rep. Eskamani, a member of Florida’s House of Representatives, visited the facility with the sincere intention of becoming more familiar with the commitment of the juvenile population across the state. Rep. Eskamani voiced that she visited numerous adult correctional facilities and was looking to becoming more versed with the juvenile system. Rep Eskamani was accompanied by Legislative Aide Alex Weeden, both representing District 47.

Rep. Eskamani and Facility Administrator (FA)Carlos Harris toured the facility while engaging in conversation pertaining to the facility youths and their well-being. Some topics discussed included youth’s clothing, hygiene, the process of admission, length of stay, census, gender, dormitory/ living units, and education. Rep. Eskamani and FA Harris then met with Lead Teacher Charnetta Starr of Orange County Public Schools to discuss post-program educational opportunities for youth that complete the program. Rep. Eskamani and Ms. Starr were able to immediately identify educational avenues that could possibly lead to a reduction of recidivism once youth are discharged. Rep. Eskamani and FA Harris concluded the visit by discussing pertinent needs of the program as well as the industry, including staff pay and turnover. Rep. Eskamani expressed that she would utilize her platform to advocate for the necessities required to maintain a safe and positive operation.



crestview awards ceremonyEvery month the staff and youth at Crestview Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, which is operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, take the time to recognize each other and their accomplishments throughout the month through an Awards Ceremony. The awards vary from “best groomed” to “most improved” in the group, each award is designed to encourage the youth to achieve success in their treatment. The Director's Award, which is called MR, is the highest achievement a youth can receive. A youth who receives this award has shown excellent behavior, consistent improvement and is a leader other youth can follow towards success.







Secretary Marstiller Serves On Panel At Human Trafficking Council

Human trafficking council meeting

On August 22nd DJJ Secretary Simone Marstiller and Circuit Advisory Board Coordinator, Tina Levene served on a panel with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody at a Human Trafficking council meeting to combat trafficking in advance of upcoming Florida Super Bowls. The human trafficking council meeting was held at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa and was hosted by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Council members discussed ways to combat sex trafficking centered on major events like the Super Bowl in addition to working on a plan to collect data on trafficking, which may include an interagency surveillance plan.




The florida network staff and Senator Jeff BrandesFamily Resources, an agency for the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services that provides CINS/FINS services, recently hosted Florida Senator Jeff Brandes on a site visit in Pinellas County. Senator Brandes met with the children and staff at the Family Resources Safe Place 2 Be Shelter.

Dr. Lisa Davis, Family Resources CEO, and Stacy Gromatski, Florida Network CEO, emphasized the importance of prevention services in the juvenile justice continuum.

Senator Brandes expressed interest in the Florida Network’s vision over the next 3 to 5 years and how the Florida Legislature can support that vision. Senator Brandes has represented the Pinellas County area since 2012.

Thank you, Senator Brandes, for taking the time to visit your local shelter - you are welcome back any time!



Prevention specialist shirley moon speaking in PalatkaDelinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 4, 5, and 7, Shirley Moon, recently spoke to youth ranging in age from age 13 to 16 years old at CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services, Inc. in Palatka, FL.

Shirley spoke with the youth about preparing for jobs and her position as a Delinquency Prevention Specialist with DJJ.

CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services, Inc., a DJJ CINS/FINS provider, is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit social services agency that has provided services in North Central Florida for over 40 years.

While CDS’ many individual programs serve a wide variety of community needs, they all fall under the umbrella of the organization’s mission statement, “Strengthening Communities by Building Strong Families.” They target familial strength through prevention, counseling, and youth shelters.

CDS has offices in Gainesville, Lake City, and Palatka and its services now cover an 11-county area, including Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Lafayette, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Suwannee, Levy, Putnam and Union. CDS is the sole provider of many of its services, such as runaway shelters, in North Central Florida.



Prevention Specialist Shateria Randall at PACE OrangeDelinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 9, 18, and 19, Shanteria Randall, recently conducted a site visit at PACE Orange, a DJJ Prevention provider.

Shanteria conducted a site visit at PACE Center for Girls in Orange County to introduce herself as the new Delinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 9, 18, and 19.

PACE Community Coordinator, Kayla Brown, gave a tour of the facility, spending more time in the Spirited Girls classroom because of the cozy, at-home environment. The Spirited Girls room is where academic meets real life, with comfortable chairs, wall art, and decorative pillows. In that room, the girls discuss their career goals and dreams in an inspiring environment tackling topics such as self-esteem, conflict resolution, personal grooming, relationship building and more.

PACE Orange currently serves 45 girls providing them with wrap-around services to prepare for a bright future and leave the past behind them. Wrap-around services include everything the girls need to be successful whether it’s educational or other services that promote healthier living, such as counseling and mentoring.

The ultimate goal of the program is to provide the girls with the necessary tools to afford a high school diploma or GED, long-term employability skills and successful transitions to the workforce, vocational trade or higher education.



AMIKids Youth Visit Humane Society

AMIKids youth at humane societyYouth from AMIkids Jacksonville spent a day at the Jacksonville Humane Society, where they learned about animal rescue and care. The kids had a blast playing with the animals and learning more about the mission of the Humane Society









AMIKids youth learning culinary skillsAMIkids Jacksonville students recently spent a day learning and improving on some very important life skills: how to set a table, how to iron clothes, how to cook a meal, and how to properly do laundry. These skills are often taken for granted because they are considered “basic” but the youth often lack these skills, so AMI is ensuring the students receive a well-rounded education.




Back 2 School Bash collageCircuit 19 Okeechobee Probation Office, Unit 201B,  held its’ 6th Annual Back 2 School Bash Event. The event was held at the Indian River State College Dixon-Hendry Campus.  Each youth in attendance was given a backpack with school supplies. There were also community vendors in attendance that supplied the youth and their families with information about the services available to them.

Special thanks to DJJ staff including Assistant Chief Dorothy Malik, Probation Supervisor Ann-Marie Campbell, Senior Juvenile Probation Officer Jenny Hickox, Juvenile Probation Officer Yakira Davis, and Juvenile Probation Officer Robert Pass III. Also thanks to guest speaker Mr. A. Hasan Malik for his words of encouragement. Contributions from  Indian River State College, Children’s Home Society, Sun Coast Mental Health, New Horizons of the Treasure Coast, Gold Carrol, Thirsty Cow Drive-Thru, Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Life Builders, Juvenile Justice Foundation, and Okeechobee County Parks and Recreation helped make this event a great success.



Class rings for AMIKids Spacecoast youthRusty's Seafood in Port Canaveral recently donated to the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth operated by AMIkids Spacecoast in support of their Class Ring Program for students. Last fiscal year AMIKids Space Coast had 20 youth that received their GEDs and earned a Class Ring! This fiscal year two young men have already earn their GEDs and recently got fitted for their Class Rings. This incentive program is greatly appreciated by the youth and it helps support the significance of this achievement.