Colette Peters
Director, Oregon Department of Corrections
Salem, OR.

Colette S. Peters has served as Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) since February 2012. She was named by Oregon’s Governor to lead DOC after serving as the Director of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) for several years. 

 

As DOC Director, Ms. Peters oversees a corrections agency responsible for managing approximately 14,900 incarcerated adults in 14 prisons across the state. She has ultimate responsibility for the management of an agency with 4,700 employees and a biennial budget of $1.8 billion. Ms. Peters also works closely with Oregon’s state-funded community corrections agencies to coordinate the local supervision of more than 32,000 individuals on probation and parole. 

 

With more than 20 years in public safety, Ms. Peters brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in adult and juvenile corrections, victims’ rights, and legislative and law enforcement policy and practices. She has gained a national reputation as a champion of using research and data to drive decision-making, improve outcomes for youth and adults in custody, increase agency efficiency and effective­ness, and promote staff wellness. 

 

As DOC Director, Ms. Peters continues to provide research-informed, innovative leadership. She remains firmly committed to her belief in safe and secure prisons, accountability, rehabilitation, and the obligation to help individuals prepare for successful re-entry back to Oregon communities. This means, those in custody receive appropriate interventions based on risk and need so they return home, become tax-paying citizens, and become productive members of their families and communities. 

 

During her tenure with DOC, Ms. Peters has gained considerable ground in making Oregon’s corrections system more efficient, effective, and innovative. She has been instrumental in advocating for public safety reform and justice reinvestment; increasing and enhancing inmate/family engagement; implementing a performance-based management system that is creating increased transparency and accountability; and placing a national spotlight on the issue of staff wellness. 

 

 

In 2013, Ms. Peters was appointed by Eric Holder as a member of the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, of which she chairs its Subcommittee on Wellness. She also chairs the American Correctional Association’s Supporting Healthy Culture Committee, and serves as Vice President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators. Other memberships include Association of Women Executives in Corrections, Governor’s Prison Population Forecast Advisory Committee, Governor’s Re-Entry Council, Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training Board, Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, Public Safety Memorial Fund Board and The Equitas Project.

Past memberships included:

 

Children’s Justice Alliance Board of Directors, Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) Board, Secretary, Positive Youth Outcomes Committee, Chair, Governor’s Commission on Public Safety, Juvenile Corrections Forecast Advisory Committee, Juvenile Justice Leadership Network, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University, Juvenile Justice System SymposiumSteering Committee, Legislature’s Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation Committee, National Partnership for Juvenile Services Editorial Board, National Center for Youth in Custody and Oregon Juvenile Department Directors Association Executive Committee.      

 

Ms. Peters past publications include“Lack of healthier food alternatives can compromise inmate health,” 

Firth, Caislin L., Drach, Linda, Maher, Julie E., and Peters, Colette S., American Journal of Public 

Health, June 2015.

 

“Juvenile recidivism - Measuring success or failure: Is there a difference?”

Peters, Colette S., and Myrick, Shannon, Corrections Today, February/March 2011.

“PoliceDecision Making: A Justice-Theoretical Model”

Smith, Michael R., and Peters, Colette S., American Society of Criminology, November 1996.

 

A native of the Midwest, Ms. Peters earned her master’s degree in criminal justice from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado in Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph, Minnesota.