• Rebecca Shinholser

    Rebecca Shinholser
    Assistant State Attorney/Juvenile Division Chief

    Describe your role as director of Assistant State Attorney/Juvenile Division Chief.

    As the juvenile division chief at the State Attorney’s Office, I supervise the prosecution of individuals who are under 18 years old at the time they are alleged to have committed an offense. All juvenile delinquency cases at the State Attorney’s Office in Alachua County are originally assigned to me. I review each case to decide whether the case should be diverted or assigned to another attorney in the division for further investigation and possible prosecution.

    What is the most rewarding part of your job?

    It is very rewarding to see former juvenile defendants learn from their mistakes and turn into successful young adults. I especially enjoy hearing about former defendants who have gone on to graduate from high school and college and are now using their past experiences to help other young people who are struggling.

    What is the hardest part of your job? Why? And how do you tackle these challenges?

    One of the most difficult parts of my job is seeing the unfortunate circumstances that many children face on a daily basis. I was blessed with two amazing parents who love me unconditionally and provided everything I needed. Many children do not have that same love and support and unfortunately, we cannot change the circumstances of every child.

    What do you think your strengths are and how did you identify them?

    I believe one of my strongest attributes is self-discipline. I learned at a very young age that hard work, commitment and dedication are the keys to reaching goals.

    How have your setbacks and weaknesses made you stronger?

    Every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow. My dad always taught me that when life hands us lemons we should make lemonade. I try to remember that phrase and always look for a learning experience in every situation. I also believe it is important to use my experiences to help others experiencing similar situations.

    What are you passionate about and why?

    As a result of my work in the juvenile justice system, I have become very passionate about effective prevention and intervention services for juveniles. The PACE School for Girls is one example of a program that has proven to be incredibly successful. Across the state, PACE assists hundreds of girls with issues related to their educational goals while also helping the girls overcome serious physical and mental health challenges. PACE is one of the most effective delinquency prevention programs for girls in the state of Florida. In my role as an assistant state attorney, I have seen firsthand the amazing work that our local PACE Center does at turning around the lives of girls who are already involved in the delinquency system. PACE is truly changing girls’ lives!

    How do you want to make an impact through your career?

    The juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. I never want to see a juvenile offender end up in the adult system. My hope is that through my work I will lead juvenile offenders to resources that will assist them in becoming successful adults.