Colette S. Peters

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 12,400 incarcerated adults in 12 prisons across the state. She has ultimate responsibility for the management of an agency with 4,600 employees and a biennial budget of $2 billion. Ms. Peters also works closely with Oregon’s state-funded community corrections agencies to coordinate the local supervision of more than 30,000 individuals on probation and parole. 

With more than 28 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 Correctional Leaders Association formerly the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

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.