Vicki Lopez Lukis
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame in 1978, Vicki Lopez Lukis served as the executive director of the Girls Advocacy Project (GAP), Inc., one of the only comprehensive prevention/intervention/educational projects in the State of Florida – and one of the few in the nation – serving girls while they are in detention. She currently serves as a pro bono consultant to the project.
She is recognized as a well-respected authority regarding girls in the juvenile justice system and prisoner reentry in Florida and continues to advocate on behalf of all inmates, ex-offenders and their families as well as female juvenile offenders at the local, state and national level.
In April 2008, Secretary Walter McNeil appointed Mrs. Lopez Lukis to the Florida Department of Corrections’ Reentry Advisory Council. In August 2008, the Secretary appointed her as the Council’s vice-chair. The Council assists the Department in the development and coordination of strategies to improve outcomes for released offenders.
In May 2008, Governor Charlie Crist appointed her to the Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), Inc.’s Board of Directors. PRIDE is a not-for-profit corporation created by the Florida legislature to operate the prison industries program in Florida’s prisons.
Mrs. Lopez Lukis served as chairman of Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s Ex-Offender Task Force, which was established by Governor Bush in April 2005 and whose responsibilities included identifying barriers to successful reentry and providing recommendations that would eliminate these barriers. Mrs. Lopez Lukis was invited to present the Florida reentry model developed by the Task Force at the White House National Summit on Prisoner Reentry in November 2007.
Ms. Lopez Lukis’ work with juvenile offenders has drawn the attention of international authorities in juvenile justice. In 2007, she was invited to be a member of a scientific committee for the European Union’s International Observatory of Juvenile Justice and presented at an IOJJ conference in Spain.
In May 2007, Mrs. Lopez Lukis was awarded the Faces of Courage Girls Award by the Florida Network of Youth & Family Services for her outstanding efforts on behalf of girls in the juvenile justice system. In 2004, she was the recipient of the prestigious Junior League of Florida’s Berta Blecke Award for Outstanding Efforts in Legislative Advocacy for her tireless efforts on behalf of girls in the juvenile justice system.
In December 2005, she developed a writing workshop project entitled Bridging the Gap, which involves a unique partnership between Ms. Lopez Lukis, the Girls Advocacy Project (GAP); ArtSpring, Inc.; the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ); and the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC). The objective is to develop a published anthology of the writings of the women inmates participating in ArtSpring’s Inside Out program that can be shared with the GAP girls and others who find themselves in or who are at-risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. It is her hope that the women’s stories will inspire the girls to change their lives while they still possess a second chance.
Bridging the Gap is the subject of a national documentary funded by a generous grant from The Annie E. Casey Foundation. It can be viewed in its entirety at www.reentrymediaoutreach.org/gap.htm. This website also contains more detailed information about the project.
In 1990, Mrs. Lopez Lukis was elected to the Lee County, Florida Board of County Commissioners. Unfortunately, her tenure as a commissioner led to a highly publicized criminal case regarding her personal relationship with her husband who was her boyfriend at the time and a prominent Washington D.C. lobbyist with issues before her board. She went to trial and was convicted of one count of mail fraud for depriving her constituents of her “honest” services by lying to a newspaper reporter about that relationship. She was sentenced to 27 months in a federal prison and self-surrendered on August 9, 1999 to the federal women’s camp in Coleman, Florida.
On November 21, 2000, President Clinton commuted Mrs. Lopez Lukis’ sentence. On December 9, 2004, Governor Jeb Bush and his Cabinet restored her civil rights in Florida.
Mrs. Lopez Lukis is a member of Leadership Florida (Class X), Leadership Miami and the Junior League of the Palm Beaches.
Ms. Lopez Lukis was born in Tampa, Florida on March 28, 1958. She was raised in Fort Myers, Florida and graduated from Cypress Lake High School just having turned 16 years old. In 1974, she was the youngest person to be admitted to the University of Notre Dame and graduated in 1978 with a BBA in Accounting. She began her professional career in public accounting working for Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Young. She then moved to the private accounting sector working in internal auditing and assistant controller functions. In 1987, she obtained her Series 7 and Series 54 Securities Licenses and worked for AmeriSecurities Capital Corporation, a correspondent branch of Paine Webber.
She is married to Sylvester Lukis, a lawyer/lobbyist, and has three children, Donald F. Wolfe III, Alexander and Adrian Lukis.