Former CSB student named top prison official in the country

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A former College de St. Benedict student has been chosen to become director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the US Department of Justice, effective August 1, according to a post on the CSB/SJU website.

Here are excerpts from that story:

Colette S. Peters, a 1993 CSB graduate, earned a degree in psychology and received the CSB Distinguished Alumna Award in 2018.

She was named the nation’s top prisons official this month by U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

For 10 years she was director of the Oregon Department of Corrections.

The BOP is the nation’s largest correctional agency, with approximately 150,000 federal offenders housed in 122 federal prisons and 178 community facilities worldwide. Peters will lead an organization that has more than 36,000 employees.

“Director Peters is uniquely qualified to lead BOP in its efforts to ensure the rehabilitation, health and safety of inmates, a safe and secure work environment for correctional staff, and transparency and accountability in correctional facilities. federal detention,” Garland said. “The Department of Justice’s mission to uphold the rule of law, keep our country safe, and protect civil rights depends on an effective, safe, and humane correctional system.”

Peters has been involved in public safety almost from the time she left St. Ben’s. She has served as a youth counselor in Iowa, worked at a halfway house for gang members in Minneapolis, and as a victims’ advocate with the Denver Police Department. In 1997, she earned her master’s degree in criminal justice from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver.

In 2004, Peters began serving as a public administrator for the Oregon Department of Corrections and was promoted to deputy director. She later received a second title of Inspector General, serving as an advisor to the Director. In 2008, Peters and her husband, Lynn Snyder (a graduate of St. John’s University in 1992), briefly returned to Minnesota before returning to Oregon in 2009, when she was chosen to lead the Oregon Youth Authority, a state agency responsible for people who committed crimes before their 18th birthday. In February 2012, she became head of the DOC, which has a $1.8 billion budget, 4,700 staff and more than 14,700 adults in active custody and tens of thousands more on probation. on parole and on post-prison supervision.

She was the first woman to hold the position in Oregon and is only the second to do so at the federal level. BOP was born in 1930 and Kathleen Hawk Sawyer was the sixth (1992-2003) and 10th (2019-2020) director.

Peters is also Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Institute of Corrections and former Vice President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

“Colette Peters has proven herself as a visionary leader in the field of corrections and public safety,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “With her experience and judgement, she is the right leader…I look forward to working with her.”

Peters, from Milbank, South Dakota, has six siblings, including five sisters. She and her husband have three daughters.

“One of the best feminists I ever met was my father, who convinced us all that we could be whatever we wanted to be and do whatever we wanted to do,” Peters said in 2018, reflecting on her evolution. through St. Ben’s and into adulthood. . “At St. Ben’s, I was surrounded by all these incredible women who wanted to be leaders, agents of change and who wanted to support each other. The students, the teachers, the sisters – there were all these incredibly strong feminists there.

“When I look at the core values ​​I learned at St. Ben’s, many of them resonate with our mission today: justice, caring for our neighbors, cultivating a sense of community and a sense of peace – it all fits in One of my passions is teaching the world about corrections because I think movies and TV have created such a misunderstanding Research has shown us that if you treat these individuals as humans, like the Rule of Saint Benedict, they will come back to us and they will be good neighbours.

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Colette Peters

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