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DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters will retire in June

From the News Service of Florida:

Gov. Rick Scott's juvenile justice secretary, Wansley Walters, will retire June 30, she confirmed Thursday.

Walters has led the department since Scott appointed her in January 2011. She is responsible for a number of innovations, including civil citations as an arrest alternative for juveniles who commit misdemeanors, and her strategies have been credited with helping to reduce the juvenile-crime rate statewide and the number of youths in detention.

"She switched its focus to investment and prevention services, and we’ve already seen the results of her vision and her work with record low crime rates for juveniles," said Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.

Walters said she does not have plans to accept another position. She and her husband, Cliff, plan to settle in Tallahassee. "I'd just like to spend a little time with my family," she said.

Walters, who formerly headed Miami-Dade's juvenile justice system, has taken the approach that detention should be used only for young people who represent a threat to public safety. At the same time, she increased prevention and treatment services to keep kids out of the system.

Between fiscal year 2010-11 and fiscal year 2012-13, juvenile arrests declined 23 percent and felony juvenile arrests declined 17 percent, while transfers to adult court declined 36 percent, according to the department. The number of beds in the deep end of the juvenile-justice system dropped 42 percent from January 2011 and January 2014.

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