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Secretary's Messages


  • ROADMAP UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who has already submitted questions and comments about the Roadmap to System Excellence. The Roadmap builds on the reforms already underway at DJJ and guides us on the path to making Florida the national model for juvenile justice administration.
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  • DETENTION KUDOS: Kudos to Dr. Gladys Negron, South Region director for Detention Services, for deciding to relocate the south regional office to recently vacated space in the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC).
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  • SUMMIT A SUCCESS: On Monday, Sept. 24, more than 250 concerned state and community leaders and advocates attended Florida’s first Human Trafficking Summit, presented by the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet and the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.
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  • HUMAN TRAFFICKING SUMMIT: On Monday, Sept. 24, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins and I will lead the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet in a Human Trafficking Summit in Tallahassee. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and is a form of modern-day slavery.
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  • I was pleased to address the Florida Association of District School Superintendents during their leadership conference in Orlando on Thursday. School referrals to DJJ continue to decline and there is opportunity for further improvement through alternatives to arrest, such as Civil Citation, mediation and teen court.
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  • Prudent planning prevented problems for youth appearing before the court when Tampa was filled with visitors for the Republican National Convention last month. The proceedings were moved smoothly to the Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center-West, and logistical and technology support to accommodate the court, state attorneys and public defenders worked flawlessly.
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  • I was honored to speak before the basic officer graduating class at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Tallahassee today. The following graduates received a certificate for completing 240 hours of training to become a juvenile justice detention officer or juvenile justice residential officer.
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  • TROPICAL STORM (TS) ISAAC UPDATE: As of this morning, the Florida Division of Emergency Management reported that the trajectory of TS Isaac is shifting northwest and is anticipated to eventually make landfall somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and southeastern Louisiana.
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  • Protective action response (PAR) indicates use of conflict de-escalation techniques in juvenile justice facilities. DJJ emphasizes a restraint-free environment through effective behavior management, including positive, respectful relationships and vigilant, proactive supervision of youth.
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  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of Delanah Gebhart as DJJ’s Chief of Contracts. She replaces Elaine Atwood, who will serve as a procurement manager for key projects. I am grateful to Elaine’s continued service at DJJ.
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  • I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Gladys Negron as Detention Services director for the South Region. Dr. Negron has more than two decades of experience in the juvenile justice field serving in direct care, management and executive leadership roles.
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  • On July 19, Gov. Scott appointed 16 members to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention State Advisory Group. This group, which is mandated by federal law, advises Florida regarding compliance, requirements and funding related to the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.
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  • DJJ Education is working to infuse more vocational training and employment opportunities into educational programs for DJJ youth to strengthen the success of their rehabilitation efforts and help them become more employable.
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  • 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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