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Secretary's Message

September 20, 2013

Secretary Walters’ Weekly Letter

I am so proud to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice, and I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our colleagues and the youth in our care. I am always looking for opportunities to showcase DJJ employees and the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich your communities. I know there is even more going on than what I report here, so I would like to encourage each of you to keep the weekly letter in mind and remember to share your good news. It’s easy – email news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon (submissions after that time will be considered for the next week’s letter).


Wansley Walters

***Reminder: The Human Trafficking Summit is October 3; the “Our Children, Our Future, Restoring Hope” National Faith Symposium is November 6-7, and registration information is available at http://faithsymposium.dcf.state.fl.us/.***

 Juvenile Justice Leadership Network Meeting


I was honored to attend the Juvenile Justice Leadership Network (JJLN) meeting in Washington, D.C this past week on the campus of Georgetown University. The JJLN, hosted by the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform,  is a network of juvenile justice leaders from around the country that come together to discuss work being done in juvenile justice reform.  This particular meeting covered a wide-variety of topics including school based offenses and education related issues, mental health treatment for youth in our care and mixed populations in treatment and implications for program safety.

Procurement Update

Again, we would like to inform you about our efforts around our contracts reform initiatives. Over the last few weeks, we have achieved significant collaboration improvements between our four major program areas and the Bureau of Contracts (or “Contracts”) as a centralized support service. Contracts, under the new leadership of Bob Roller, continues to work in partnership with program areas to enable their procurement efforts and coordinates contract administration across the Department. This is articulated in a new mission statement for procurement as ‘Procuring innovative and effective delinquency programing through a transparent, logical and timely process, using a proactive approach that delivers high quality outcomes.’

Contracts is constantly looking for ways to better serve our program areas and increase efficiency and transparency. Specifically in the area of resource planning and allocation, we have identified an opportunity to put both our personnel and tax dollars to the best possible use by improving collaboration between the program areas and the centralized functions. To do this, we have realigned the Bureau’s organization with the needs of the program areas; as a result, Contracts created designated teams to serve particular program areas, helping the Department to live up to its mission. Laura Holden will supervise the support teams for Residential and Prevention. Jackie Colson will supervise the teams supporting Probation, Detention and Executive Direction.

With the new structure, program areas will work with designated and specialized staff to develop in-depth knowledge of each area’s unique needs, improving efficiency and allowing program areas to focus on the core elements of the department’s purpose of serving Florida’s youth.

These new changes will gradually be implemented over the next couple of months and improvements – especially in the areas of planning, governance, and flexibility - are expected to become visible soon.

If you have any questions regarding the Contract Reform, please contact Amy Johnson, Director of the Office of Program Accountability, at Amy.Johnson@djj.state.fl.us.   

Juvenile Probation Officer Graduation


Congratulations to the newest class of juvenile justice probation officers that graduated today in a ceremony at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. Thanks to the Office of Staff Development & Training’s newest learning consultant, Christina Ash, for leading her first class of officers through the certification process for this position of critical responsibility. Each graduate successfully completed 403 hours of training to become a certified officer and will serve in the city listed next to his or her name below.

Front row (L-R): Richard Lawton-Gainesville, Angelique Pratt-Ft. Pierce, Mark Vermeychuk-Punta Gorda, Khalisa’T Mollins-Tallahassee

Middle row (L-R): Marcus Chambers-Ocala, Esther Busi-Bartow, Jennifer Mefford-Panama City, Salita Algere-Mason-New Port Richey, Peacena Samuels-Ocala, Alice Griggs-Pensacola, Faye Cokeley-St. Petersburg, Linda McCray-Jacksonville, Patrick Crane-Jacksonville, Cierra Muller-Jacksonville, Deondrick Mathis-Bradenton

Back row (L-R): Kenneth Goss-Tampa, Michael Ellison-Mt. Dora, Gregory Wade-St. Petersburg, Ann Marie Campbell-Stuart, Tehphna Richardson-Clearwater, Robin Myers-Panama City, Elton Johnson-New Port Richey, Dawn Burns-Tallahassee, Gari Tookes-Tallahassee, Alvin Richards-Bartow


Prevention Update

Assistant Secretary Wanda Finnie and the staff in the Office of Prevention were busy again this week hosting Community Conversations and Bridging the G.A.A.P. discussions across the Panhandle. On Tuesday, team members were at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center in Tallahassee for a Community Conversation and took that meeting to Chipley on Thursday. They then came back to Tallahassee Thursday evening for a G.A.A.P. discussion. Community conversations provided local residents with the opportunity to discuss areas of concern involving local youth in their community in an effort to steer them away from the juvenile justice system, while the G.A.A.P. discussion brought young people and local law enforcement together to improve communication and break down barriers. The next Community Conversation is scheduled for Thursday in Monticello. For more information concerning this conversation, click here

Last Saturday, prevention staff teamed up with members from the Tallahassee Youth Coalition to volunteer at the Florida A&M University Youth game at Bragg Memorial Stadium. The volunteers acted as chaperones and served food to the 200 youth in attendance. As you can see by the picture, a good time was had by all!



From L to R: Willie Williams- DYG ,Vettye Gibbs– Pearls of Perfection ,Bryan Freeman-Omega Lamplighters, Shakira Crandol-Delta GEMS, Lacoadia Burkes- Delta GEMS, Renee Gordon- Delta GEMS, Christin “Cici” Battle- Prevention, Taklia Brooks- Delta GEMS, Ramon Alexander- DYG, Erika Hill- Delta GEMS, Jalencia Barr – Pearls of Perfection, Dorita Gavin – Pearls of Perfection

Last Friday, Delinquency Prevention Specialist Marie Boswell (seated in red top) and the Circuit 11 Juvenile Justice Board met Justice, the Department’s first therapy dog. The Board had requested to meet him and the Miami-Dade RJDC was honored to bring Justice to the board meeting. Superintendent Daryl Wolf provided the board with the background information on how they obtained Justice as well as an overview of the positive impact that Justice has had on the children within the detention center.


Probation Update

On Tuesday, JPO Tara Daltry and Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq attended training on Neurobiology of the Addicted Mind at Hodges University in Naples. This informative educational training, given by Dr. Ashish Bhatt, presented a multi-modality approach to addressing the physical and neurological aspects of addiction for adults and children. 

On Monday, Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq from Circuit 20 partnered with Lisette Rosales from Salus Care, Inc. to provide Civil Citation training to the Seminole Police Department as well as the Seminole Tribe Reservation in Clewiston. The police department seemed very open to the idea of Civil Citation as they are active in prevention efforts within the local schools. This partnership with Salus Care is working to increase Civil Citation referrals in Hendry County and get the Tribal Reservation involved in the process. 

Technical Assistant Specialist Dru Green visited Fort Myers on Wednesday to provide a Life Skills Training Action Plan Meeting to members of the Circuit 20 probation team. Circuit 20 identified five candidates who were willing to speak to area youth and help them with life skills. These candidates, pictured from left to right, are Lut Clarcq, Tara Daltry, Shana Feren, Demetria Battle and Mark Debenedictis. These candidates are proud to take their experience and training to immediately implement the life skills curriculum. 

SJPO Jay Glover from Circuit 16 went above and beyond this past week for two youth under his supervision. Both children went through the divorce of their parents and were living in a duplex that was badly in need of repair. Jay was able to partner with a local church who came to the mother’s home to help with repairs and improve their housing situation. 

Last Sunday, probation officers and youth in Lake County partnered with State Attorneys, public defenders and the Lake County Bar Association for a community service event entitled the Lake County Bar Hunger Project. This event provided more than 42,000 meals for hungry children within the community and DJJ was humbled to be a part of it. 


Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP) Update



This week’s analysis of data gathered to gauge the Department’s progress toward the goal of the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP) project—to provide the right service for the right kid, at the right time, in the right dosage—revealed that we are definitely moving in the right direction.  In August, there were 8 low-risk to re-offend youths and 15 moderate-risk to re-offend youths committed to residential programs statewide.  The majority of these commitments were “bench commitments” that were made without the recommendation of the Department. 



For the period of January to August 2013, there were 75 low-risk to re-offend youths committed statewide.  This is a 77% decrease from the same time in 2011, and a 52.8% decrease from the same period in 2012.  Also from January to August 2013, there were 170 moderate-risk to re-offend youths committed statewide.  This is a 57.8% reduction from 2011, and a 29.4% reduction from 2012.  To understand these dramatic drops, please refer to the following chart:

It has taken a collaborative effort to achieve these reductions in commitments for youth who are least likely to reoffend.  Many thanks go to the staff members from Probation and Community Intervention, Residential Services, and Research and Planning, who have worked diligently toward this goal.  Read more about JJSIP here.

I wanted to include this picture from last week’s story concerning the all sites meeting in Georgetown to discuss the Department’s implementation of the Juvenile Justice System Improvement project. Pictured left are: Deputy Secretary Christy Daly; Assistant Secretary Joni Wimmer, Probation and Community Intervention; Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, Residential Services; Mark Greenwald, Director of Research and Planning; Mike Baglivio, Senior Research Analyst and expert in evidence-based practices;  and Jackie Young, Program Administrator. To learn more about this meeting, click here.


Staff Changes

DJJ Chief of Staff J. Alex Kelly, who has served the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice over the last year, has resigned effective today. During his time with the department, he has demonstrated a commitment to helping Florida’s youth and while his leadership will be greatly missed, I am pleased that in his new position at the Foundation for Florida’s Future Alex will continue working to ensure Florida’s children have the greatest chance at success. 


In his place, I could not be happier to welcome back Jason Welty. Many of you worked with Jason during his five years in DJJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs, so you already know what a tremendous asset he will be to the department in this new role. 


Between 2005 and 2010, Jason held three different positions: legislative analyst, deputy legislative director and, finally, legislative director. In that time, he lobbied the Florida Legislature on behalf of the department on policy and budgetary issues; analyzed bill impact on department operations and made recommendations to legislative committees and served on the Governor’s Ex-offender Task Force and made recommendations to include juvenile offenders. 

Most recently, Jason has served the Executive Office of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget as a senior analyst and the policy chief where he developed and tracked the Governor's policy priorities related to corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement, justice administration and the state court system; and communicated with legislators and staff on Governor's policy issues related to public safety. 


Please join me in thanking Alex for his contributions and wishing him the best of luck in his next endeavor, as well as extending Jason a warm welcome.


PREA Training

At the Department of Juvenile Justice, we are committed to maintaining the health and safety of the youth in our care, which is why we strictly adhere to state and federal guidelines that help prevent abuse in our facilities. For example, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) establishes standards to help prevent sexual misconduct in all prisons and juvenile detention facilities in the United States and directs such facilities to have processes in place to help sexual abuse victims.



DJJ has a PREA policy and procedure, FDJJ 1919, which outlines our approach to preventing, detecting and responding to sexual abuse and harassment. To ensure that anyone who could come in contact with youth at a DJJ facility abides by our zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct, all employees, volunteers, and contracted providers are required to take the PREA on-line course every two years (FDJJ 1520).



In the spirit of enhanced safety, a new PREA course has been added to CORE, which includes a certification component that employees, volunteers and contracted providers can use to document their understanding of PREA and completion of the class. All employees, volunteers and contracted providers should take this course as soon as possible, and no later than 60 days from the date of this notice, and return the original certificate of completion to the office responsible for maintaining their official personnel file.



If you have any questions regarding this training or PREA, please do not hesitate to contact the interim PREA Coordinator Beth Davis at 850-717-2629 or beth.davis@djj.state.fl.us.


FDJJ Policy Updates


During the week of September 23, 2013, the Department will begin statewide implementation of a security feature that will automatically encrypt all Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices that are connected to DJJ computer equipment. This includes but is not limited to: flash drives, thumb drives, external hard drives, digital & video cameras, and many smart phones (pictured below). This feature is being implemented to guard against the security risks (i.e., identity theft and unauthorized disclosure of confidential information) associated with the use of USB devices.



Please Note: Only agency-owned or agency-managed devices* should be connected to the Department’s computer equipment or network. Only agency-owned or agency-managed devices should be used to store agency data. All USB devices connected to the Department’s computers must be encrypted with agency-owned and agency-managed encryption software.



Request for Immediate Action: If you currently have a department-supplied USB device, it is imperative that you immediately bring the device in and open a Work Order to have your local MIS representative properly configure the device. Please note that the device must be configured prior to connecting it to any of the Department’s computer equipment—failure to do so may result in the loss of data.



Coming Soon: Revisions to FDJJ 1230 - Mobile Devices Policy and Procedures. 


The Department’s Mobile Devices policy and procedures are being modified to reflect the aforementioned encryption requirement.  The documents are also being modified to enforce stricter security measures which will protect the Department’s data, network, and mobile computing devices such as laptops, tablets, BlackBerry devices, smart phones, and USB devices such as thumb/jump drives, external hard drives).  Additional information on the policy/procedure revisions will follow.



Questions about USB device encryption should be directed to your local MIS representative. Questions about revisions to the Mobile Device policy and procedures (FDJJ 1230) should be directed to Benita Williams at 850-717-2307.



*Agency-Owned/Agency Managed Devices are defined as devices that are owned or managed by the agency and used to conduct agency business or perform agency duties.  The agency develops standards and policies to govern the usage of the device.  These standards and policies are made available to agency employees, contractors, and providers to ensure compliance.