On this week’s “Florida NewsMakers” program, Secretary Wansley Walters of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice sits down with Sachs Media Group’s Trimmel Gomes. Their discussion centers on efforts to keep children out of the criminal justice system and the group of young demonstrators holding a sit-in at the Florida Capitol.
In their fourth week of occupying the halls of Gov. Rick Scott’s office, the Dream Defenders continue their call for reforms to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and zero-tolerance discipline policies that push some students into the criminal justice system. “That’s something that’s been of concern of the governor and also our department, and for that reason we crafted a roadmap to systems excellence,” Walters says of the school-to-prison pipeline. “We’ve gone around the state of Florida really asking for input and collaboration on that as we move toward a rewrite of our juvenile justice laws.” Walters also addresses the use of civil citations, which provide alternative means of punishing first-time misdemeanor offenders without an arrest record, as well as community service programs to separate minor issues from more serious criminal behavior.
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