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Secretary's Messages


  • Onazina Washington, a Prevention and Victim Services community outreach coordinator and U.S. Army reservist with the 160th Military Police Battalion, will be deployed to Afghanistan for a nine-month tour of duty starting July 19.
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  • On Monday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for youth who commit homicide. The Supreme Court’s opinion enshrines in our nation’s laws concepts on which Florida’s juvenile justice system is built and further validates the work we do with and on behalf of youth.
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  • Last week, I was joined by a team of judges, state attorneys, public defenders, sheriff’s officers, and DJJ leaders on a visit of a model Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) site in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago). Valuable insight was gained into the model site’s success. The trip included field visits and presentations on initiatives that were critical to gaining information to help reform and restructure Florida’s juvenile justice system, and better serve youth in our care.
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  • I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Seminole County Sheriff Donald F. Eslinger, who shared with me local efforts to reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency. I am delighted that he is committed to implementing civil citation.
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  • We just added a new navigational tool to our website (www.djj.state.fl.us) that makes locating programs and facilities statewide much easier. From the website homepage, click on the “Programs and Facilities” tab in the upper right-hand corner or the “Program and Facility Locator” on the right side of the screen and go from there.
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  • DJJ is excited to be opening up the Florida Statutes that govern the delivery of services to young people who are at risk or involved in the juvenile justice system. We hope proposed revisions to the law will break down barriers so that youth receive the services they need.
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  • I am pleased to announce the following appointments to ensure that our agency and the reforms we are making continue to move forward.
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  • This week I joined Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, state Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson and others for the Circuit 15/Palm Beach County School-Justice Partnership meeting.
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  • This week I was honored to meet with superintendents from our 21 juvenile detention centers. They gathered at the Florida Public Safety Institute outside Tallahassee for a series of meetings that focused on training, detention reform, best practices and management techniques.
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  • DJJ probation and detention managers, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, attended the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) National Inter-Site Conference in Houston, Texas last week. More than 500 people from across the nation participated.
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  • It’s always good to get out of Tallahassee and into the field to see and speak with employees, members of the public and other stakeholders. This week I traveled to Central Florida and Gainesville to participate in various meetings and events to advance the cause of juvenile justice reform.
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  • This week, John Mattingly with the Annie E. Casey Foundation met with DJJ staff to discuss his experiences as New York City’s commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. John stepped down as commissioner in 2011 after leading the agency for seven years.
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  • I am excited about yesterday’s launch of the first phase of the Secretary’s Forum. This process provides all state, contracted and private-provider employees a direct link to my office so they may submit suggestions to resolve problems and implement improvements without fear of punishment.
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  • In January 2012, the Bureau of Quality Improvement (QI) began a new process for conducting program reviews. QI reviews replaced quality assurance (QA) reviews.
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  • I am pleased to announce that juvenile delinquency has again declined statewide in all major categories with a 10 percent overall drop estimated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-12. We estimate the total number of referrals to the state’s juvenile justice system may fall below 100,000 this year, which would be the fewest in the agency’s history.
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  • I was honored to join Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente and state Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson at the National Judicial Leadership Summit on School-Justice Partnerships in New York City earlier this month.
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  • As I announced earlier this week, our website (www.djj.state.fl.us) now has a completely new look and feel. Many people contributed to this project over many months, but I especially want to thank DJJ Chief Information Officer Scott Morgan and his staff in Management Information Systems for the vast amount of behind-the-scenes technical work they completed to get the new site up and running.
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  • Today is the last day of the 2012 legislative session and several bills considered during the session affect DJJ. Here is an update:
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  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of Keith W. Morris as Chief of Investigations for the Office of the Inspector General. Keith fills the position vacated by Howard Greenfield, who recently accepted a similar post with the Florida Department of Transportation.
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  • The following students graduated today from basic officer training at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Tallahassee. They received a certificate for completing 120 hours of training to become either a juvenile justice detention officer or a juvenile justice residential officer.
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