Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Secretary Wansely Walters, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan, State Attorney William “Bill” Eddins, Public Defender Bruce Miller, Pensacola Police Chief Chip W. Simmons, School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas and County Commissioner Lumon May gathered at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to announce county-wide expansion of Florida’s juvenile civil citation process.
DJJ Secretary Walters said, “This type of collaboration is precisely what we need to enact systemic change that will make Florida a national model for juvenile justice. Youth who break the law absolutely must be held accountable for their actions; civil citation is a great way to do that without establishing an arrest record, which can ruin the chances of a successful future.
Additionally, it gives us the opportunity to get to the root of what is causing the youth’s behavior and address those under lying issues, decreasing the likelihood they will reoffend while also saving taxpayer dollars.”
Civil citation is a process that allows youth who commit first-time, non-violent misdemeanors to receive intervention services at the earliest stage
of delinquency, which can help them avoid further involvement with the criminal justice system. Youth who successfully complete the required sanctions leave the program without an arrest record, a critical point considering arrest records often impede military, educational and employment
Superintendent Malcolm Thomas stated that the Escambia County School staff and its teachers had been in communication with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department and had undergone training to handle civil citations and situations that may arise now in the school system.