George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

DJJ Sec. Wansley Wal⁠t⁠ers’ Weekly Le⁠t⁠⁠t⁠er fea⁠t⁠ures K⁠i⁠ds for Cash Even⁠t⁠

By: The James Madison Institute / 2013

On Monday, Deputy Secretary Christy Daly, Chief of Staff Jason Welty and I attended the Tallahassee screening of Kids for Cash, hosted by The James Madison Institute, at the Challenger Learning Center IMAX. Kids for Cash is a documentary centered around two Pennsylvania judges who were accused of accepting millions in return for contracting with for-profit juvenile facilities and imposing harsh sentences on juveniles brought before their courts to increase the company’s revenue.The film highlighted the irreparable damage that can occur when youth are unnecessarily placed in secure detention and residential treatment, an issue I have been committed to addressing since I accepted this position. I am proud to say that over the last two years commitment of low and moderate risk youth has decreased by 62% and we expect to see that trend continue as we move forward with the Roadmap to System Excellence, which seeks to ensure Florida has the ability to provide the right services, in the right place, in the right way, at the right time to youth in our care.Following the screening, I participated in a panel discussion with Kids for Cash director and producer, Robert May, and Deputy Director, Chief Counsel and Co-Founder of the national Juvenile Law Center, Marsha Levick, where I had the opportunity to answer questions from the audience about DJJ’s plan to reform Florida’s juvenile justice system. They were particularly interested in our Civil Citation Initiative and ways to increase its application across the state.On Tuesday, I had the honor of speaking at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids for Cash panel discussion at the Florida State University College of Law. I always enjoy speaking to students, particularly those who have an interest in making a career out of helping our state’s youth. I would like to thank the prevention staff members pictured above for coming to support this effort.