COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced that Freddie B. Pough will continue serving as the director of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). First named acting director in January of 2017, Director Pough was confirmed by the South Carolina Senate in April of this year.
"Nearly two years ago, Director Pough took on a tremendous challenge when he agreed to become the next director of DJJ and he has led with one goal in mind – fulfilling the agency’s mission of rehabilitating and providing opportunities for the juveniles in its care," said Gov. Henry McMaster. "Director Pough’s vision for how to best achieve that mission is one that combines the boldness, innovation, and compassion that I believe are necessary to do the job. I couldn’t ask for a better partner at DJJ, and I’m excited for what his leadership will mean for the future of the agency and for the impact it will have on the young men and women it serves."
In the past year, Director Pough has prioritized education, job readiness, and college preparation for the approximately 3,400 juveniles the agency serves each year.
"Our goal is to see our young people return to their communities with the hard and soft skills needed to build a productive life, whether that includes going to college or immediately gaining quality employment," said Director Pough. "When many of our youth first come here, they have a low sense of self-worth. They don't believe they can graduate high school, let alone go to college or obtain their dream job. We want to empower them to believe all of those goals are within reach. I’m honored to be director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and I’m excited to continue building upon our progress toward Regionalization, enhanced workforce development, and the implementation of efficient, automated processes agency-wide."
Among Director Pough’s top priorities has been to implement what he calls the agency’s “regionalization initiative.” Regionalization will allow committed juveniles to be housed in smaller facilities closer to their home, rather than residing in a centralized, distant state facility. The initiative will allow for increased safety for the youth and staff, more effective community involvement, increased family engagement, and increased access to vocational programs and apprenticeships in the juveniles’ community.
In the last reporting cycle, over 600 DJJ youth secured jobs or unpaid internships at more than 100 businesses.
In the past two years, DJJ has certified more than 270 education credentials – either GEDs or diplomas – which represents the highest two-year graduation rate in the history of the agency.