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Resignation of Juvenile Services Director Offers Chance for Reflection

by KDOC News — last modified Apr 28, 2017 12:38 PM
Staff of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) gathered on April 27 to bid farewell to Terri Williams, Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Services. KDOC Secretary Joe Norwood, previous secretary Ray Roberts and numerous others thanked Williams for her direction of juvenile services for the past five years.
Resignation of Juvenile Services Director Offers Chance for Reflection

Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood recognized Juvenile Services Deputy Secretary Terri Williams for her years of public service Thursday.


NEWS RELEASE

April 28, 2017                                      

Contact:
Todd Fertig
KDOC Communications Director
785-296-5695

Resignation of Juvenile Services Director Offers Chance for Reflection

Staff of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) gathered on April 27 to bid farewell to Terri Williams, Dep. Sec. of Juvenile Services. KDOC Secretary Joe Norwood, previous secretary Ray Roberts and numerous others thanked Williams for her direction of juvenile services for the past five years. 

While the occasion produced laughter and tears, Williams’ resignation also provides an opportunity for reflection upon many developments during her tenure. Late spring and early summer of 2017 mark the anniversaries of several significant developments of the last few years. 

Williams leaves the agency nearly five years to the day from her appointment as Commissioner of the Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA). One year later, on July 1, 2013, that separate corrections agency merged with KDOC. Williams became deputy secretary under Roberts’ leadership.

Changes to juvenile services have culminated in legislation, informally known as the Juvenile Justice Reform, which became law one year ago, on April 11, 2016, in Senate Bill 367.

The reform legislation shifted the system away from incarceration and toward helping youth adjust their behavior through community based programs. SB 367 was the culmination of years of research and analysis under Williams’ guidance. 

“Terri really helped spearhead these initiatives,” said Randy Bowman, Juvenile Services Director of Community Based Services, who will fill the role vacated by Williams. “She worked tirelessly to educate on the potential to better serve youth by employing the philosophies encapsulated in SB 367. She had a great grasp of the needs when she took over the JJA, and she took us in the direction to where we are enacting these types of efficiencies and innovative programs.”

Williams took the helm of JJA during a time that the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) was the focus of multiple critical legislative post audits.  Williams specifically directed praise to the staff of the KJCC, located in Topeka and directed by Superintendent Kyle Rohr and Deputy Superintendent Megan Milner. 

“That group at KJCC deserves all the credit in the world for the improvements made over the past five years,” said Williams. “Kyle and Megan and really the whole staff are the type of people that just put their shoulder into the work and don’t expect a lot of credit. But the changes in that facility are unbelievable and the public really should know that we have one of the best juvenile corrections facilities in the nation.” 

Increased use of community-based programs have improved results for youth. From March of 2012 to 2017, the number of youth in state custody for out-of-home placement declined from 1,263 to 500, including a reduction of those in Youth Residential Center II’s from 419 to 83. Use of secure confinement in juvenile correctional facilities have also decreased from 329 to 203, in large part due to the improved ability to address the needs of juvenile offenders in a community setting.  

“I know the changes that will come from the Juvenile Justice Reform will have an impact for decades moving forward,” Williams said, pointing to further developments and improvements that will result. “And I know the juvenile services staff will continue to work hard and find innovative ways to better serve Kansas juveniles and to ensure public safety. It’s going to be sad to not be here to continue on with them.” 

Williams will serve her last day with KDOC on April 28 before taking a position with the non-profit Community Solutions, Incorporated (CSI), an organization at which she was previously employed before her five-year stint with KDOC. Williams will serve as Chief Development Officer at CSI, which provides community-based services for child welfare, juvenile justice and criminal justice populations on a national scale. 

“We greatly appreciate the guidance and vision Terri has provided through a crucial period of transition in juvenile services,” Norwood said. “She has left a legacy that will last long after her departure. She laid a foundation for effective service which will improve outcomes for juvenile offenders and by doing so improve public safety.” 

“I love the staff here and I have loved every day that I’ve been privileged to work in juvenile services,” said Williams. “Even though there came a time when it was right for me to move on, I’ll always be glad I was a part of the significant changes that have taken place.” 

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