FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2021) - Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced the appointment of Vicki Reed as commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
“I’m excited to welcome Commissioner Reed back to Team Kentucky. I am confident she will lead DJJ with integrity and will ensure youth in Kentucky’s care have the right tools and resources to succeed and improve their lives,” said Gov. Beshear. “Commissioner Reed served DJJ well at the beginning of its existence, and the background and knowledge she brings to the table will propel this department into a strong position for many years to come.”
Commissioner Reed previously served at DJJ as an executive staff advisor and later as director of the Division of Classification and Placement Services, from 1998 to 2004. In that role, she assisted in the development and implementation of the statewide detention plan, which removed youth from adult jails and county-operated juvenile detention centers into the current model of a regional network of facilities and alternative programming, in accordance with House Bill 117 (1996 legislative session). She also assisted in developing DJJ’s drug testing protocols and substance abuse programming.
In addition to previously serving in leadership at DJJ, Commissioner Reed gained vast experience in the juvenile justice system, having served as a former juvenile court probation officer, executive director of Metro Group Homes Inc., director of the Bluegrass Area Office for Necco Foster Care Agency and most recently director of the Kentucky Juvenile Justice Initiative (KJJI). As director of KJJI, she consulted with national organizations, including the National Partnership for Juvenile Services, Coalition for Juvenile Justice and Campaign for Youth Justice, to promote achievements of Kentucky’s juvenile justice system including diversion, small treatment oriented juvenile facilities and regional juvenile detention centers. She also advocated for legislation and policies that promoted public safety and treatment of youth in a humane, age-appropriate manner.
Commissioner Reed pledged to work hand-in-hand with Kentucky’s families and community leaders to set the state’s youth on a path to a success while reducing youth crime and recidivism.
“I am honored that Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey have asked to me to serve Kentucky’s youth,” said Commissioner Reed. “I am of the belief that when our young people and their families believe they are valuable members of society they become capable of feeling hopeful in themselves, which leads to rippling positive changes creating a better Kentucky for generations to come.”
With almost 1,000 employees, DJJ serves the state’s justice-involved youth by providing the care, education and skills training they need to become successful citizens. As of today, a total of 235 youth are in the custody of DJJ at the Regional Juvenile Detention Centers, Youth Development Centers and Group Homes. Additionally, DJJ is monitoring approximately 452 youth under supervised placement in the community.
“Immediately upon being appointed Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, I began searching for a new commissioner of DJJ. I look forward to working with Commissioner Reed as we strive to transform and rehabilitate the young lives in our care,” said Secretary Harvey. “Over the years, DJJ has done great work but much remains to be done for juvenile justice reform. I pledge to foster a system that meets the unique developmental needs of adolescents that strengthens families and increases public safety.”
Commissioner Reed is a native of Lexington and a graduate of Bryan Station High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.S. in law enforcement and a master’s degree in criminal justice with specialization in juvenile justice. She will begin her appointment effective Aug. 16.
For more information, visit the Department of Juvenile Justice’s website.