Dept. of Deja Vu
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Anthony Schembri
The Department of Deja Vu?

DJJ Secretary Anthony Schembri
Mission of the Department of Juvenile Justice
Rights for Youth in Department Care, Custody, or Supervision


  From: Schembri, Anthony J. <>
To: All-DJJ <>
Sent: Fri Dec 29 11:40:33 2006
Subject: Good Bye

All DJJ Staff,

This is to advise you that I have resigned from this Department effective January 2, 2007.

I would like to take this time to thank all of you for the great work you have done over the past 2 1/2 years under my command. The changes have been exciting and we have accomplished much in reducing juvenile crime. The reorganization of this department has made it more effective and efficient and we should all be proud of our hard work.

So please remember, "Thank God it's Monday!"

Your Secretary,
Anthony J. Schembri
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
2737 Centerview Drive Suite 307 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3100
(850) 413-7313



08/18/06 Chris Caballero: A refreshing scent in the Department of Deja Phew!

08/18/06 Letter to Governor Bush

PO Box 15202
Clearwater, FL 33766

August 18, 2006

Governor Jeb Bush
The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Governor Jeb Bush,

On behalf of JUSTICE4KIDS.ORG, I commend Chris Caballero for his excellent public service as Chief of Staff of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

You once challenged the public servants of the State of Florida to "wear your integrity on your sleeve". Chris Caballero has done just that. In the seven months that I have worked with Chris, he has proven to be worthy of honor and praise.

Chris Caballero seems most deserving of his recent appointment to serve as a White House Fellow. I trust that Chris will continue to be a diligent public servant.


Cathy Corry
President & Founder


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! ~

President Bush Appoints 2006-2007 Class of White House Fellows
EXCERPT: WASHINGTON, June 16, 2006 - The White House today announced the appointment of 14 outstanding individuals from across the country to serve as White House Fellows. 2006-2007 Class of White House Fellows

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.


  11/04/05 DJJ's Marquita McGuire sets the tone: "We discourage public comment."
~ DJJ Supervisor of Partnerships and Community Affairs Marquita McGuire’s advice to the
Executive Committee of the
Pinellas County Juvenile Justice Council.


QUOTES BY DJJ SECRETARY ANTHONY SCHEMBRI during the 10/20/05 hearing of the Florida House Justice Appropriations Committee:

bullet"We don't have rules that cover all of us and sometimes we have archaic rules."
bullet"We have employees that are spending more time keeping their jobs rather than doing their jobs."
bullet"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."
bullet"We don't know that to be true and facts change."
bullet"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."

To read a lengthy excerpt from the Florida House Justice Appropriation Committee October 20, 2005, click here.
To see the video record of the meeting click here.

08/09/06 DJJ Announces the Creation of the Office of Program Accountability Aimed at Improving the Quality of Care for Youth
Cynthia Lorenzo 850.921.5900. Department of Juvenile Justice.


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.”


02/02/06 Juvenile Justice officials storm out of meeting after newspaper shows up
Missy Stoddard South. Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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.

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12/21/05 Another shake-up hits DJJ  
As lawmakers once again criticize juvenile justice bosses over the treatment of detained young people, a cadre of high-ranking administrators has left the agency.
By Carol Marbin Miller. Miami Herald

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.''

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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  : 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  : 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  : 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.

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06/21/05 One of Secretary Schembri's goals this year

From: "Turner, Perry" < >
To: < >
Cc: "Howell, Paulette" < >
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 07:58:42 -0400
Subject: FW: Strategies on Turnover and Officer Retention

This response is to your email of June 13, 2005.

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:

bulletDeveloping a Legislative Budget Request (LBR) to enhance salaries for direct care staff. This includes making salaries competitive to similar criminal justice agencies,ie; State and County Corrections Officers.
bulletExploring Special Risk Retirement for direct care staff.
bulletHiring a full time professional Recruitment Officer.
bulletExploring avenues to incorporate Criminal Justice Standards and Training, by revising curriculum and training to basic and advance career personnel.

Some improvements made this past year include:

bulletCreated a workgroup to revise Detention Policies and Procedures to a manual.
bulletCreated Shift Commander positions in all centers to improve communication, accountability and upward mobility.
bulletWorked with Staff Development in improving the Protective Action Response Policy.
bulletThe Training Institute provided recognition for direct care staff who excelled during the year.
bulletDeveloped the youth rights policy for those in our custody and care.
bulletProcured the amount of the CAD for the JDOS already received by SJDO and JDO in those counties that qualify.
bulletAugmented management schedules to provide coverage to after normal business hours and weekends.
bulletImplemented the Computer Statistics (COMSTAT) to address issues and corrective actions.

Perry S. Turner
Assistant Secretary Detention Services
2737 Centerview Drive Suite 309
Tallahassee Fl. 32399-3100
850-921-6292 Office
352-266-9898 Cell

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06/08/05 Gritty and pink
A juvenile detention center in Tampa is testing theories about the soothing effects of a certain shade of pink.
Curtis Krueger, St. Petersburg Times

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."

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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.

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03/31/05 Climb down from that ivory tower (scroll to opinion letter)
Re: "Young offenders should know the impact of crime" (column, March 25).
Gail Briscoe Beckham, Opinion, Tallahassee Democrat

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.

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03/05/05 Florida juvenile lockups try pink cells to calm teens
Kathleen Chapman, Palm Beach Post

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.

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02/24/05 Black lawmakers want Juvenile Justice chief fired
Chris Rock video at center of complaint
Brendan Farrington, The Tallahassee Democrat (AP)

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.

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01/31/05 This secretary is ready to try anything
Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat

The most peculiar manager in state government . . . Schembri is one manager who's really ready to try anything

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12/03/04 Schembri: Accountability; impact of Zero Tolerance; treatment of children
John Feeney, Letter to Secretary Schembri

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.

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09/15/04 A new day at Juvenile Justice (click then scroll down to letter)
Cathy Corry, OPINION, St. Petersburg Times

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.

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09/04/04 More than words, Editorial
St. Petersburg Times
Can it be that Florida finally has a juvenile-justice leader whose actions are as strong as his rhetoric? This week, he [Anthony Schembri] fired the superintendent of the Miami juvenile jail in which 17-year-old Omar Paisley died last year from medical neglect. Since taking the helm only four months ago, Schembri has cracked down on the use of improper restraints, instituted surprise inspections, created a medical services unit and implemented other important reforms.

To submit a letter to Editor of St Petersburg Times: click SPTimes letters

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08/31/04 Youth jail chief fired over safety concerns
Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald
...the detention center's superintendent was fired Monday after a blistering inspection report that showed the lockup failing to meet minimum standards. ''The well being of the youth in our care is my first priority,'' Schembri said. "If the current management cannot ensure that, they will not be part of our team.''

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08/08/04 Troubled children need aid
Steve Arthur Citrus County Chronicle Online
There are children in our schools, children who have a variety of mental illnesses that must be better understood and treated. Despite the efforts of a few dedicated professionals, instead of being thrown a lifeline, these young souls get the book thrown at them, and that should be a crime.

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Anthony Schembri heads Florida DJJ
08/31/04 Youth jail chief fired over safety concerns, Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald
05/20/04 Juvenile Justice's new chief, Editorial, St. Petersburg Times
A new leader for DJJ Our Opinion: Juvenile-Justice Agency gets infusion of energy, expertise
05/13/04 Citrus resident named DJJ head
, Steve Arthur, Citrus County Chronicle
05/13/04 DJJ job goes to ex-boss of jails in NYC, Gary Fineout, Miami Herald

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