Re-Establishing the DYS Northeast Region/ Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

Jane E. Tewksbury was named DYS Commissioner in April 2005.  Commissioner Tewksbury’s first orders of business was to re-establish the DYS Northeast Region. Youth from Essex and Middlesex counties were being served in Dorchester and Worcester, at considerable distances from their families and communities. DYS hired a Northeast Regional Director and administrative staff to oversee operations, re-allocated existing programs and community staff and opened the Northeast Regional office in Middleton, MA. 

Tewksbury was a strong advocate of incorporating JDAI to improve the pre-trial detention system and create a multi-tiered system of detention alternatives and diversion programs with a range of security levels and program services that better serve the needs of court-involved youth. Commissioner Tewksbury’s vision and goals greatly contributed to the Department’s reform efforts and helped shape the current DYS Strategic Plan. In February 2012, Tewskbury became Executive Director of early childhood initiative, Thrive in 5.  

Deputy Commissioner Edward J. Dolan was appointed DYS Commissioner in May 2012 and after 18 years of service to the Department; Dolan was named the state’s Commissioner of Probation by the Massachusetts Court System in June 2013.

Current Leadership

Peter Forbes was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) in June 2013. Forbes was re-appointed as DYS Commissioner by Governor Charles Baker and the Secretary of Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders in February 2015.

For more than 30 years Commissioner Forbes has provided, in numerous capacities, steadfast leadership to the Department of Youth Services. Forbes’ long-standing service with the DYS began in January of 1983 when he was first hired as a direct-care worker at the Connelly Secure Treatment Unit.  Following several years with the Department, he was promoted to DYS Regional Director for Boston and served in that role for more than 10 years. As Regional Director, Forbes established a series of constructive relationships with public agency and community-based partners that improved services and strengthened positive outcomes for DYS youth.

In 2005, Commissioner Forbes was promoted to DYS Assistant Commissioner for Operations.  For seven years, Forbes supervised field-based operations, and initiated and implemented policy and practice changes including providing oversight to ensure that the residential continuum is safe for both youth and staff. Commissioner Forbes was also instrumental in the design and implementation of a structured community reentry model for youth who are returning to their home communities. Forbes was later appointed Deputy Commissioner where he managed field operations and ensured quality residential programming, community transition and supervision critical to the effective daily operations of the Department.

Commissioner Forbes remains committed to sustaining efforts that ensure low-risk youth do not penetrate the deep end of the juvenile justice system, and that youth in DYS custody receive appropriate services where and when they need them most.

Under Commissioner Forbes’ stewardship, the Department prioritizes improved data-entry and quality directed at positive youth outcomes as well as providing valuable educational, employment and training opportunities for DYS youth. These priorities are centered on the Department’s long-term goals of reducing recidivism and improving public safety.

In 2014, Commissioner Forbes was recognized for his leadership in implementing positive youth development practices, reducing the use of room confinement in residential treatment, and for fostering a forum for collaborative learning among national juvenile justice administrators by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrator’s “President’s Award.” Forbes received the 2012 “Capstone of the Year” Award from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University for his efforts in strengthening the case planning pathway for youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Forbes holds a Master of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Administration from the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.


This information is provided by the Department of Youth Services.