Joe O’Leary ’97
Director of the Oregon Youth Authority
I’m privileged to serve as director of the Oregon Youth Authority, the state juvenile justice agency. OYA’s vision is to help youth lead productive, crime-free lives. Statewide, it serves about 500 youth in secure facilities and 700 youth in community settings. I’m driven to make a difference in the lives of young people and to make our communities better. My work focuses on implementing a juvenile system where youth and families are viewed as resources to be developed, not as villains or victims. Where we provide life skills and education instead of punishment and isolation. Research shows that approach makes kids more successful and communities safer. But Oregon still incarcerates more youth than many other states, and institutional racism and bias persists through overrepresentation of youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth in justice settings. I am proud to lead an agency that works to address these inequities and improve opportunities for Oregon’s young people.