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Gov. McMaster names new DJJ director

freddie pough.jpg

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) – Governor Henry McMaster has announced his choice to be the next director of the embattled Department of Juvenile Justice.

On Thursday, McMaster named Freddie Pough to permanently head up the agency.

Pough has served as acting director of the agency since late January, stepping into the role after former director Sylvia Murray resigned following a scathing review of DJJ by state auditors.

DJJ has been an agency in flux since a string of gang-related riots in 2015 and 2016 involving fires and property damage at the department's facility on Broad River Road.

In its review of the agency, the Legislative Audit Council said DJJ was understaffed, its officers not properly trained, its security policies outdated, and its police department ineffective.

Gov. McMaster says Pough has been a steadying force in getting the department back on track since taking over as acting director.

"Mr. Pough has worked tirelessly during his time at DJJ to implement needed changes at the agency, demonstrating his ability to lead with the vision and determination necessary for achieving DJJ’s core mission - rehabilitating and protecting the juveniles in its care," said McMaster.

Pough, 40, has more than 15 years of law enforcement experience in law enforcement, starting his career as a front-line Juvenile Correctional Officer at DJJ and then went on to serve as Lieutenant in the Midlands Investigative Region of SLED. Starting in 2016, Pough served as DJJ’s inspector general before he was named acting director.

“I look forward to continue leading DJJ into a future of reform and the best interests of juveniles and South Carolina. Our entire DJJ team is dedicated and selfless,” said Pough. “I am humbled and thankful for Governor McMaster’s faith in me to lead DJJ.”

Since taking over as acting director, Pough has implemented 91 percent of the changes recommended by the Legislative Audit Council’s early 2017 report, including those aimed at training and retaining officers and protecting juveniles in the agency’s care.

Pough's appointment as DJJ director must be confirmed by the South Carolina Senate.

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