Marianna's Two Faces
Airing Due on Beatings of Boys at Ideals School
First the series, by Jane Wood, reporter of the Miami News
Florida's Marianna Industrial School for Boys, where we send our hard-core juvenile delinquents, will be praised
today as one of the best in the country at a one-day hearing of the U.S. Senate subcommittee on juvenile
delinquency in Washington.
But there is a witness asked to testify who could tell the committee of the routine beating of boys at Marianna that
caused seven psychologists to leave in a two-year period.
The witnesses Dr. Eugene Byrd, local psychologist, who says one of the reasons he left Marianna was because he
could not condone the regular impersonal beating is part of the program.
The man who may have to digest conflicting testimony, Sen. Estes Kefauver. He has been appointed by Committee
Chairman Sen. Thomas C. Hennings Junior, to preside at the station.
Purpose of the hearing is to explore ways in which the federal government may help states improve such institutions.
The man who could say Marianna is one of the best of such schools in the US is Ernest Mitler, special committee
counsel, who has investigated institutions for juvenile delinquents in the US and in Europe during the last year.
After his survey in the state earlier this year, he called the Florida school one of the countries most relaxed and
wholesome, with a constructive work and sport program.
But Dr. Byrd, asked by the committee to testify as to his recommendations for a program for such schools, is one of
a number of ex-staff psychologists at Marianna united in condemning beating of boys there as part of the discipline.
The routine beatings at Marianna are given on Saturdays, in the White House or Ice Cream Factory, the old solitary
confinement building now used as a Boy Scout Hut.
A boy to be beaten must lie down on a narrow hospital bed, stretch his arms above his head, and hold on to the
beds bars. He could bury his face in a pillow across his arm.
A staff member then beats him with a leather strap 22 inches long, 4 inches wide and a half inch thick.
The beatings are called paddling, Dr. Byrd explains, but the beating is delivered with the full force of a grown man.
They wear the straps out on the boys.
Assistant superintendent R.W. Hatton does most of this, while superintendent Art Dozier or assistant superintendent
HB Mitchell counts the blows.
Rhythm in Blows
Patton swings his arm back all the way over his head and down with force. There's a rhythm to the blows, comments
Boys are hit on the buttocks. They must not turn lose bars or scream or move. If they do, the licks they have been
given do not count. They are allowed to cry.
15 blows are usually given for a variety of rule breaking, such as fighting, and disobedience and smoking.
Runaway's get more. The average number of white boys punished Saturday, says Dr. Byrd, is between 15 and 20.
Nobody denies this discipline goes on, but there is sharp disagreement about the severity and the necessity for it.
Bleed after Paddling
Boys who have graduated from Marianna say sometimes fellows in tight Levi's bleed after paddling
Denying this, Mr. Mitchell says, I don't think you can paddled a boy hard enough to do any good without leaving
some discoloration, but I know of no bleeding after paddling.
I see eye to eye with him Gene Byrd in his attitude on this paddling, comments Jim Morris, former staff psychologist
at Marianna, and now on the staff of the Georgia State Hospital.
I didn't want any part of it. I left because it was part of the program and I could see no way to change. I had some
good friends who quit because of paddling.
Beside the danger of creating saddest masochistic relationships in teenage boys, (so that they like being beaten)
Mr. Morris says the punishment is effective because the whipped boy can get the moral support of the group by
acting manly about taking a beating.
Marching off the merits would be a much more wholesome form of punishment. Mr. Morris commented. Depriving rule
breakers of reward can be used entirely to maintain discipline, he says
I have a lot of respect for Art Dozier, Superintendent, and I am surprised he allows this. Actually, the program is built
on reward, except for this one form of punishment. Mr. Moore's comments.
The spanking are a thing I detest, I abhor in truth, says Mr. Dozier. But we do have the responsibility for the overall
control of boys in an institution of this size, as well as doing the most possible for each youngster. After talking for
years to superintendent from other institutions all over the country, I know of nothing better.
My experience evening in the best systems is that you will still find some youngsters who won't play the game. You
come to the end of the road. There are two things you can do, Spank or lockup.
We had a lockup at one time. To me it was a disgrace, and we did away with it. A lockup boy becomes poisoned with
Now we are setting up and trying to staff a psychiatric unit, and we hope, though it, we can reach the difficult
youngsters and minimize spanking. Everybody agrees there is no promiscuous bullying at Marianna. Hitting, kicking
or slapping boys is grounds for instant dismissal of a staff member, Mr. Mitchell says.