Director, Oregon Youth Authority
In February 2018, Joe O’Leary became the director of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), the state’s juvenile justice agency, after serving as acting director since September 2017, and as its deputy director before that. His professional experience ranges from working as a public defender to advising two governors on public safety and legal issues. As the OYA director, Joe is responsible for overseeing the operations of the agency, which serves approximately 1,400 youths ages 12‐24 at any given time. Immediately before joining OYA as deputy director in June 2012, O’Leary ran the Policy, Planning and Legislative Analysis Division at the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.
Prior to his state government service, O’Leary was a trial attorney in Portland. He began his legal career as a public defender, which included a stint in juvenile court. Afterward, he spent several years in private practice representing members of law enforcement, corporate officers, lawyers, and employees. Prior to attending law school, he worked in a Latino farmworker community in Central Washington as a volunteer housing program coordinator through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. He received his undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and his JD from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland.