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DYS executive honored by peers in Ohio’s justice community

Kysten Palmore didn’t ‘miss a step’ during COVID-19

Members of Ohio’s justice community honored DYS Deputy Director Kysten Palmore Oct. 13 for her contributions leading the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections (OJACC) as its president during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OJACC presented Ms. Palmore with the James Wichtman Award during its 35th Annual Conference at    the Crowne Plaza Columbus North Hotel. Presenters noted Ms. Palmore’s stewardship of OJACC in the move from in-person to online meetings and trainings, as well as organizing a legislative reception and strategic planning retreat – a feat some felt couldn’t be achieved amid the pandemic’s challenges.

“She did all this with a can-do attitude. The work of OJACC continued without missing a step under her leadership,” presenters remarked.

In accepting her award, Ms. Palmore told the audience that maintaining “pragmatic optimism” and believing in transformation and second chances is key to success.

“You must believe everyone in this field has the power and the means to instill or restore the dignity, self-value, and self-worth to those who are justice involved,” said Ms. Palmore, who oversees DYS’s Division of Community Engagement and Reentry. “It requires compassion, accountability, equity, fairness, perseverance, and, most importantly, seeing the humanness in everyone we serve. We must not lose sight of the fact that community corrections is a human serving and service profession at its core.”

DYS Director Amy Ast attended the awards ceremony and remarked afterwards, “Receiving this incredible honor is evidence of Kysten’s on-going dedication to those we serve.”

Others honored at the conference included State Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), who received the Representative C.J. McLin Award. Named for the late Dayton lawmaker, the award honors an elected official who works toward the improvement of community corrections in Ohio.

“In my time in the General Assembly, collaborating with community correctional institutions to implement improvements that enhance public safety has been one of my most rewarding experiences,” said Sen. Manning, chairman of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, a joint committee of the Ohio General Assembly. “I will continue to work diligently to maintain Ohio's place as a national leader in community corrections.”

The OJACC is an alliance of justice professionals who work to bring together stakeholders to promote and support effective community corrections that enhance public safety. It works to shape public policy and promote best practices in legislation, as well as educate the public, media, judges, prosecutors, and others in the justice community about the role of community corrections in the criminal justice continuum.