Florida School for Boys shut down in 2011for abuse rape and murder

Florida School for Boys shut down in 2011for abuse rape and murder

The Florida School for Boys, a reform school shut down in 2011, gained a reputation for abuse, beatings, rapes, torture, and even murder of students by staff. 50 unmarked and undocumented graves have been located on the property using radar

“The Florida School for Boys, also known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys (AGDS), was a reform school operated by the state of Florida in the panhandle town of Marianna from January 1, 1900, to June 30, 2011. For a time, it was the largest juvenile reform institution in the United States. A second campus was opened in the town of Okeechobee in 1955. Throughout its 111-year history, the school gained a reputation for abuse, beatings, rapes, torture, and even murder of students by staff. Despite periodic investigations, changes of leadership, and promises to improve, the allegations of cruelty and abuse continued. Many of the allegations were confirmed by separate investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2010 and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in 2011. State authorities closed the school permanently in June 2011 According to the 2010 abuse investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the school was first organized under an 1897 act of the Legislature and began operations on the Marianna campus on January 1, 1900, as the Florida State Reform School, under the control of five commissioners appointed by the Governor, who were to operate the school and make biennial reports to the Legislature.
At some time thereafter, the commissioners were replaced by the Governor and Cabinet of Florida, acting as the Board of Commissioners of State Institutions. In 1914, the name was changed to the Florida Industrial School for Boys, and in 1957 to the Florida School for Boys. In 1955, the Okeechobee campus opened. In 1967, the name of the Marianna campus was changed to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, in honor of a former superintendent of the school.[1]
In 1903, an inspection reported that children at the school were commonly kept in leg irons.[5] A fire in a dormitory at the school in 1914 killed six inmates and two staff members.[6]
A 13-year-old boy sent to the school in 1934 for “”trespassing”” died 38 days after arriving there.[7]
1960s [edit]
In 1968, Florida Governor Claude Kirk said, after a visit to the school where he found overcrowding and poor conditions, that “”somebody should have blown the whistle a long time ago””.[8] At this time, the school housed 564 boys, some for offences as minor as school truancy, running away from home, or “”incorrigibility””.[9] They ranged in age from ten to sixteen years old.[10] Officially, corporal punishment at the school was banned in August 1968.[11]
In 1969, as part of a governmental reorganization, the school came under the management of the Division of Youth Services of the newly-created Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS). In 1996, HRS was reorganized as the Florida Department of Children and Families.
1980s and 1990s [edit]
In 1982, an inspection revealed that boys at the school were “”hogtied and kept in isolation for weeks at a time””, and the ACLU filed a lawsuit over this and similar mistreatment. By this time, the school was described as admitting boys from age thirteen to twenty-one, and housed 105 of them.[12][13] Lawsuits concerning the school led to Federal authorities being given the power to oversee the running of Florida’s juvenile justice system from 1987 onwards.[14][15]
In 1985, it emerged that young ex-inmates of the school, sentenced to jail terms for crimes committed while there, had subsequently been the victims of torture at the Jackson County jail.[16] The method of torture was for the prison guards to handcuff the teenagers and then hang them from the bars of their cells, sometimes for over an hour.[17] The guards stated that their superiors approved the practice, and that it was routine.[18]
In 1994, the school was placed under the management of the newly-created Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, which operated the school until its closure in 2011.[1] By this time, the school had facilities to house 135 inmates, and many of the boys sent there had been convicted of rape or of committing “”lewd acts on other children””.[19]
21st century [edit]
In April 2007, the acting superintendent of the school and one other employee were fired following allegations of abuse of inmates.[20]
In late 2009, the school failed its annual inspection. Amongst other problems, the inspection found that the school failed to deal properly with the large numbers of complaints from the boys held there, including allegations of continued mistreatment by the guards. State Representative Darryl Rouson said that the system was struggling to move on from a longstanding “”culture of violence and abuse””.[12]
In a report published by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010, 11.3% of boys surveyed at the school reported that they been subject to sexual misconduct by staff using force in the last twelve months, and 10.3% reported that they had been subject to it without the use of force. 2.2% reported sexual victimization by another inmate. These percentages meant the home was deemed to have neither “”high”” nor “”low”” rates of sexual victimization compared with the other institutions assessed in the survey, which covered 195 facilities in the USA.[21]
In July 2010, the state announced its plan to merge Dozier with JJOC, creating a single new facility, the North Florida Youth Development Center, with an open campus and a closed campus. However, the following year, claiming “”budgetary limitations,”” the state decided to close both facilities on June 30, 2011; remaining students were sent to other juvenile justice facilities around the state”

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