Turning Adversity into Advocacy: Randy Rictor’s Tale of Redemption

Randy Rictor

Randy Rictor, has spent decades shaping the lives of young people within the youth justice system, the Center for Improving Youth Justice (CIYJ) is proud to share his profile. Through his unwavering commitment and impassioned advocacy, Randy exemplifies the spirit of Second Chance Month, embodying hope, resilience and the transformative power of compassion. With an unwavering commitment to making a positive difference, Randy’s journey into this field began with personal experiences that instilled in him a profound sense of empathy and purpose. Growing up, Randy faced his own struggles, navigating a path fraught with potential pitfalls. However, guided by a family friend who steered him away from trouble and toward self-improvement through channels like meditation and boxing, Randy found his way. He emerged from his own challenges with a deep understanding of the importance of patience, compassion and guidance.

In 1999, Randy joined the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), viewing it as a chance to give back and support young people who lacked the guidance, he was fortunate to receive. Over the years, he has taken on various roles within the facility, often shouldering responsibilities that others shied away from. From data collection for CIYJ’s performance-based standards program to assisting other facilities with their own initiatives, Randy’s enthusiasm and initiative have been instrumental in driving positive change. One of the key aspects of Randy’s work has been his dedication to understanding and using the performance-based standards data. For example, he used the data to contribute to initiatives that enable youth in his facilities to maintain vital connections with their families, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

What truly sets Randy apart is his unwavering belief in the potential for change and redemption within every young people. Despite the complexities and slow progress often associated with the youth justice system, Randy remains a steadfast advocate for providing second chances. He understands that behind every label of “criminal” lies a human being with the capacity for growth and transformation.

For Randy, the driving force behind his work is simple yet profound: The desire to be a positive influence and to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. “There’s never a time where we don’t need more people who can be a role model for these guys or be there to let them know that there are people who care and want to see them do good. The guys in here need help too and overall, it’s just enjoyable to be around these guys”.

As Second Chance Month nears the end, Randy’s passion for his work only intensifies – there’s no slowing down. For him, it’s not just about statistics or data points—it’s about empowering young people to rewrite their stories and reclaim their futures. In a world where second chances are often overlooked or denied, Randy stands as a testament to the power of compassion, perseverance and belief in the potential for redemption. With every interaction and every effort, Randy Rictor continues to embody the spirit of second chances, inspiring hope and transformation in the lives of countless young people.

Kapiolani Kassal is the Communications Director for the Center for Improving Youth Justice. She has over 10 years of experience in various aspects of the Communication & non-profit industries. Kapiolani has her Bachelor's in Communications, Management, and Design from Ithaca College and her Master's in Television Producing from Boston University. Prior to working at CIYJ, Kapiolani worked as the Communications Administrator for MIT's Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science. She's had a passion and enthusiasm for the justice industry for as long as she can remember and is excited to be able to dive in as CIYJ celebrates the 20th Anniversary. In her free time, she loves playing social sports, attending weekly trivia, going to the theatre, and hanging out with her dog, Gatsby.

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