Miami Woman Named To State Juvenile Justice Chair

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) — Miami’s own Wansley Walters has been asked to lead the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice.

Walters is credited with saving the county millions of dollars while reducing the juvenile arrest rate.

Walters, who will be the first woman to lead the department, had been in charge of Gov. Elect Rick Scott’s juvenile justice transition team. She was told of the job offer Friday.

“(Walters is) one of the country’s leading juvenile justice reformers” Scott said in a statement.

Walters is credited with saving Miami-Dade $33 million annually while also lowering arrests, detention and recidivism among youths.

During her tenure Walters’ reduced juvenile arrests by 51 percent, re-arrests by 80 percent and juvenile detention 66 percent in the last decade.

“Wansley is one of the nation’s most prominent juvenile justice experts,” Scott said, “and I am excited to bring her experience and passion for juvenile justice reform to our state government.”

She will replace Frank Peterman, who became secretary in 2008 and resigned earlier this month.

Walters told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald Friday that she intends to bring reforms that have been successful in Miami to a larger stage.

“The system has sort of developed with the best of intentions. But it in many cases is not doing these kids any good,” she said.

“What we have to do is just apply a little common sense. If we all sort of collaborate like we’ve done in Miami, we have seen incredible results.”

(© MMX CBS Television Stations. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)


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