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Press Release Detail

DJJ Transitions Residential Programs to Private Operation

October 15, 2012 

DJJ Communications
(850) 921-5905

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced today it will transition its five remaining state-run residential facilities to private operation by October 1, 2013.

The announcement comes after five consecutive years of declining commitments to residential services and two years of legislative mandates to reduce state-operated beds before reducing privately operated ones.

“History indicates that we must be proactive in planning for the future of the programs and services provided by our remaining state-operated facilities,” said DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters. “These programs offer unique services and facilities that should be maintained. We are therefore committed to an orderly transition from public to private operation for the benefit of our employees and the youth in our care.”       


Approximately 95 percent of state-operated residential beds are already privately run. Furthermore, residential commitments are down 44 percent over the past five years, from 6,568 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007-08 to 3,679 in FY 2011-12. This trend is expected to continue as further reforms are implemented to ensure residential placement is used only for youth at high risk to reoffend and who cannot be safely served in the community.


“As we right-size residential care, resources will be transferred from the deeper end to the front end of the juvenile justice system, funding services in the community with better outcomes, supporting more youth and offering greater help to families overall,” said Walters.

Privately provided operations for the affected programs will be determined by a competitive bid process to choose the best services and the smoothest transition. One of DJJ’s key requirements in the bid request will be that current employees are offered first right of refusal for continued employment with the chosen private provider.


Below are projected time frames for program transitions:

Pensacola Boys Base (Escambia County) – Procurement process begins mid-October to mid-November 2012; transition to private operation by end of May or June 2013 (21 employees).

Duval Halfway House (Duval County) and Britt Halfway House (Pinellas County) – Procurement process begins late November 2012; transition to private operation by July 1, 2013 (Duval has 22.5* employees and Britt has 32 employees).

Les Peters Halfway House and Falkenburg Juvenile Correctional Facility (Hillsborough County) – Procurement process begins January 2013; transition to private operation on or before October 1, 2013 (Les Peters has 32.5 employees and Falkenburg has 105 employees).

Total number of DJJ employees among the five programs is 213.

For more information on DJJ’s residential programs and their locations, click here.

To learn more about how Florida is reforming its juvenile justice system, visit the Roadmap to System Excellence webpage.

*.5 denotes part-time employee.