Peter Forbes: A Big Opportunity at DYS

The Governor has named Peter Forbes the new commissioner of the Department of Youth Services.  This is a huge opportunity for everyone in Massachusetts who wants to help kids and who seeks to create  innovative solutions to youth violence.  It’s also a big opportunity for a truly deserving public servant who started in 1983 as a guy with keys jangling on his belt inside a secure DYS facility.

A good guy got a deserved reward.

In my years with the  BPD, Peter answered every call to bring his talents and resources to bear on new solutions.  He saw the need, long before the fashion, to be comprehensive in our approach to youth offenders.  He understood that most kids need a break but a dangerous few need to be in prison.  As a Boston regional official Peter was one of the most consistent contributors to every innovative idea of the 1990’s and 2000’s.

I urge everyone in the police service to get to know Peter if you have not done so already.  You probably already know him. (Though I sometimes have the childlike assumption that every great person I know knows all the many other great ones).  Every PD in every town works with kids.  As Marvin Wolfgang taught us, 5-6% of them are going to generate trouble.  Peter is there to provide good ideas as well as resources to our effort to work with kids in the smartest, most effective and most compassionate way we can.


Secretary Polanowicz Announces New Health and Human Services Leaders

New leaders to advance goals around health access, youth violence prevention and strengthening safety net services

BOSTON — Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) John Polanowicz today announced new leaders of the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the Department of Youth Services (DYS) and other key HHS positions.

“This is a strong and experienced team that will serve the people of the Commonwealth well,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “These leaders will help the Administration advance goals around health care access, youth violence prevention and strengthening our safety net services. I also thank their predecessors for their distinguished service and lasting contributions.”

DYS Commissioner – Peter Forbes

Forbes is a 30-year DYS employee, who started as a direct care worker at the Connelly Secure Treatment Unit and rose up through the ranks as a shift supervisor, caseworker, district manager, regional director, and later as assistant commissioner of operations – and most recently as deputy commissioner. Forbes has been an integral leader in the state’s efforts to reduce youth violence and help high-risk youth gain access to quality education and treatment services. Throughout his career, he has worked directly with youth both in secure facilities and in the community, helping them succeed in education, substance abuse, employment and re-entry programs. A resident of Braintree, Forbes is a former youth counselor who worked for social services agencies in the greater Boston area. He succeeds Ed Dolan as commissioner, who was recently named the state’s commissioner of probation by the Massachusetts Court System.


About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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