DJJ Secretary Anthony Schembri
DJJ Chief of Staff CHRIS CABALLERO is going to Washington, DC!
Chris received a special appointment by President Bush as a White House Fellow. He leaves DJJ August 18, 2006. Chris, we wish you the best and we thank you for all of your efforts to improve DJJ during the past 8 months! ~ Justice4Kids.org
President Bush Appoints 2006-2007 Class of White House
Christian Caballero, 35. Hometown: Miami, FL. Chris Caballero serves as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. He oversees the operations and policy development of an agency with approximately 5,000 employees and an estimated 6,000 contracted employees. He is also responsible for the oversight of a $650,000,000.00 budget, and the care of an estimated 55,000 juveniles taken into custody by the agency annually. Prior to joining the Department of Juvenile Justice, Caballero served as Deputy Director of Cabinet Affairs to Florida Governor, Jeb Bush. He advised Governor Bush on matters related to land acquisition, growth management, alternative energy development and environmental conservation. Caballero was the Governor's primary advisor during the acquisition of 74,000 acres by the state, the single largest land purchase in the history of Florida. Prior to joining the Bush administration, Caballero spent several years in the corporate world, where he specialized in market development for Harmon Glass, Inc. In 1994, he was named "Rookie of Year," and in 1997 he was ranked 2nd in gross sales to budget among more than 300 markets nationwide. Caballero holds a BA in Political Science, cum laude, from Greensboro College, and also holds a JD from Florida State University College of Law.
08/09/06 DJJ Announces the
Creation of the Office of Program Accountability Aimed at Improving the Quality
of Care for Youth
The Office of Program Accountability provides enhanced oversight for all of the agency’s programs. It also streamlines the agency’s quality assurance, technical assistance, incident reporting, inspector general investigations, and data and research efforts.
“DJJ is committed to continuing the unprecedented reduction in the juvenile crime rate, and is simultaneously seeking to improve the quality of care we provide to our youth,” said Secretary Schembri. “We are dedicated to making agency-wide improvements aimed at ensuring accountability across all service areas.”
Juvenile Justice officials storm out of meeting after newspaper shows up
Upset that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel was present at a Wednesday meeting convened by Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez to address concerns about the Palm Beach County Regional Detention Center, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice officials stormed out of the gathering after the agency's chief of staff butted heads with the judge.
DJJ Chief of Staff Christian Caballero pointedly asked Alvarez why the agency wasn't notified media would be present. Alvarez said he didn't think it was necessary. Caballero told DJJ employees, including the agency's chief counsel, not to respond to questions.
Another shake-up hits DJJ
Excerpt: ''This is an agency with major, major internal and external problems, and we can't continue to ignore them,'' said state Rep. Mitch Needleman, a Melbourne Republican who sat on last year's Select Committee on Juvenile Detention Centers. Said Rep. Gustavo ''Gus'' Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican who chaired the select committee: ``Until the department gets it right, I foresee further dismissals and resignations.'' Sandra Adams, an Oviedo Republican who also served on the oversight committee, called the moves ''a large shuffle in a short period of time,'' and ''If they are just resigning to better their careers,'' Adams said, she has no qualms with the changes. But, she added, ``I want people to be held accountable if there are violations within the agency.''
10/20/05 Excerpts: 10/20/05 hearing of the Florida House Justice Appropriations Committee
October 20, 2005 Lawmakers questioned Anthony Schembri, head of the state Department of Juvenile Justice, about an audit of the agency showing widespread sloppy recordkeeping and about the alleged rape of a mentally disabled teen while in DJJ custory.
Regarding the DJJ audit:
Schembri Secretary.Schembri@djj.state.fl.us : This is indicative of this agency. It's a long-term problem. I'm just as concerned as you are about the state being defrauded, and things of the sort. If we do that, I'm very, very tough on that stuff. Any fraud goes to the local prosecutor with a letter from me asking that the person be prosecuted.
Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami Beach email@example.com : I think it is a major concern. It is a major concern. And I hear what you're saying. And I always hear what you're saying. But one of the things I want to do is see the saying come into an action. Because one of the things for us that's very frustrating, when I look at the detention workers who do work out there, salary is a big issue to them. And it's constantly being brought up.
Schembri: You would help me more than you imagine by doing something about that.
Barreiro: Money always seems to be an issue to this committee. And when problems always occur, it's like the state Legislature is not funding enough. And the taxpayers aren't giving enough money for us to operate. And I requested some documentation on some recent expenditures, particularly from you. And I do believe in setting an example to everybody. And when you talk about a lack of money, and I'm looking at the expenditure on your conference room and the expenditure on your car, I think, personally, it sends a wrong message.
Schembri: It's not only money. It's also the way we manage what we have. We don't have rules that cover all of us and sometimes we have archaic rules. We have employees that are spending more time keeping their jobs rather than doing their jobs I saw that Japan had used volunteer probation officers since the 16th century. So we are piloting a program where we can use volunteer probation officers from the community, because I believe crime comes from the community and so do the solutions.
Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach firstname.lastname@example.org : It seems to me to be a pretty essential feature of any boss would be to know who they're paying for. I just can't imagine that, no matter what cuts or what attrition there's been, at the end of the day, I can't imagine there's an excuse for continuing to pay people after they left the service of your agency or continuing to give them access to what I think is critical financial information. Are you really telling us you didn't have the person to watch that?
Schembri: No, no.
Gelber: Or was it the fact we outsourced stuff from human resources, or are you just simply saying, ‘It's our fault. And we're going to try to do it better.' ''
Schembri: No. It's our fault. We have to come up with a better way of doing it. I run this shop. This is my fault. Period. I take the blame. The people who work for me say, ‘who's responsible?' I am. If there's any fault to be found, it's with me. I have to find a different management system. We are doing that. An, you know, these problems will come up, but it's how we respond to them when we find them. We're not going to hide them. We're going to tell you: Here we are -- warts and all -- this is a problem, we're not going to just respond to it. We're going to fix it.
Regarding the rape allegation:
Barreiro: Talk about deja vu. In reading your own preliminary report, it talks about some very specific things. Specifically when it comes to a guard notifying one of the lieutenants that there's a problem on their hands that this young man could be possibly being sexually abused by a sexual predator that was in charge of bathing and changing the diaper of this young man with an IQ of 32.
Schembri: We don't know that to be true and facts change.
Barreiro: The thing I'm going to get to is, you obviously have an allegation, OK? You have a young man who obviously should not have been in that detention center.
Schembri: Oh, I agree.
Barreiro: But he was placed there. The guards gave the authority -- possibly -- to a young man who is possibly a sexual predator to bathe this young boy and change his diaper. It was witnessed by two individuals, and it wasn't until a mental health counselor, who went to that facility, that it was reported by the mental health counselor. Not by the Department of Juvenile Justice. My question to you is, why are the folks who are in charge of that detention center not suspended, waiting the outcome of the investigation?
Gelber: I was a federal prosecutor. I'm a little aware of what an agency head is supposed to do when there's misconduct. And the deja vu I'm having right now is back to the Omar Paisley hearings when I remember a deputy secretary coming up, and telling us in Miami, that everything was terrific and, then when we asked questions, say, ‘Well, we really can't tell you about it because of these other investigations.' So I'm very concerned right now. I know you've inherited a tough shop but it does give a crisis of confidence right now.
Schembri: I'm glad that you brought up Omar Paisley. Because I'll bet that each and every one of you don't know this -- do I have everybody's attention here for the moment, please? -- we have saved 11 Omar Paisleys with appendicitis.
Barreiro: You know what? I'm going to take offense to that. I'm going to take offense to that, excuse me. I'm going to take offense to that. You know who saved 11 lives? Omar Paisley. Omar Paisley's life saved 11 lives -- the one thing Omar Paisley left behind. For the department to take credit, to me, I take offense on behalf of that family, because this committee, because Omar Paisley died the way he died -- dogs are treated better than Omar Paisley was treated -- that's the reason the department is a watchdog over this.
Schembri: I salute you for that.
Barreiro: Don't salute me. Don't salute me! But don't salute yourself, either.
Schembri: My management style, and what we're doing with these kids, is we have saved 11 kids from appendicitis. And quite frankly, I'm proud of me and my staff.
06/21/05 One of Secretary Schembri's goals this year
From: "Turner, Perry"
One of Secretary Schembri's goals this year is to improve the organization. He has charged Louise Mondragon, Bureau Chief of Personnel Services, with chairing a workgroup in reducing staff turnover.
Some of the issues being addressed are:
Some improvements made this past year include:
Gritty and pink
Anthony Schembri, secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, said he knows that many people will smirk at the notion that paint on the wall can change human behavior. "In New York, I had inmates who were assaulting my officers," he said. "In here, I have officers assaulting juveniles. It was just the opposite."
05/03/05 Schembri's 1st eight months in office. Tom Denham, Director of Communications Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, summarizes the accomplishments of Anthony Schembri during his first 8 months as head of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice.
Schembri needs to climb down from his ivory tower and understand the real deal. He manages to throw in a sly jab at the parents of these kids. In my daughter's case, I was her victim. Instead of helping us, the state blew us off and warehoused her for a year. I have since heard from other parents who have had similar experiences.
Florida juvenile lockups try pink cells to calm teens
It costs the state about $50 to bathe a room in pink — less than a trip to the emergency room. If it might prevent injury, Schembri said, an unconventional idea is worth a try.
Black lawmakers want Juvenile Justice chief fired
Six black lawmakers called for the removal of Juvenile Justice Secretary Anthony Schembri on Wednesday because he showed a Chris Rock video to Florida NAACP leaders during a meeting last year.
The most peculiar manager in state government . . . Schembri is one manager who's really ready to try anything
Schembri: Accountability; impact of Zero Tolerance; treatment of children
It is my sincere hope that your concerns as expressed, re accountability within the Department, a narrower application of the zero tolerance policy, a more humane environment for the children and youth detained in our juvenile facilities, restorative justice & rehabilitation, more common sense in policies relating to judicial process etc. are, with all due respect, not mere "lip service" but will translate into concrete departmental policy and legislative recommendations.
A new day at Juvenile Justice (click then scroll down to
Florida Statutes authorize juvenile justice councils/boards in all Florida counties/circuits to address needs of youth at risk of delinquency and to provide advice and direction to DJJ.
More than words, Editorial
To submit a letter to Editor of St Petersburg Times: click SPTimes letters
Youth jail chief fired over safety concerns
Troubled children need aid
Anthony Schembri heads Florida DJJ