The Miami News March 6, 1958
Boys volunteered for beatings to work the way out
Last of the series, by Jane Wood, reporter of the Miami News
Boys at the state school for juvenile delinquents at Marianna worked their way to release by a complicated grade
and point system. Some boys have their points taken care of, when they get the low grade by volunteering take a
These beatings with a leather strap have been described by Dr. Eugene Byrd, Miami psychologist and former staff
member at Marianna, for the US Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Other former staff members
support him in his condemnation of the punishment. Several resigned because of the abuse and brutality they
A boy who gets a grade of "4" for every week at Marianna can get out in a minimum of 8 1/2 months. He gets this
high grade by showing good attitude, efforts and conduct, plus friendliness, helpfulness, cleanliness, cheerfulness
The grade zero on the other hand, signifies an act, which is wholly unacceptable, such as lying, cheating, stealing,
impudence, using profane language, will the willfully abusing property and running away
Under the individual rating system at Marianna, as described in a booklet they print there, a boy might never get
released from the training school except for the fact that state law requires he be turned loose a 21 years of age.
However, the average length of stay is of boys under this system today is just one year. This is because boys have
their points taken care of by beatings.
Graduates explained. Well, they don't want you to stay there forever, so if you get a low grade you could go to Mr.
Dozier and asked him if you can have your points taken care of. Sometimes they will let you take a beating to erase
a low grade, say the boys.
All boys who asked are not granted paddling, says assistant superintendent HB Mitchell, whose comments, if I
spanked all boys who asked for spanking, I'd be spanking boys all day Saturday.
Most are paddled on Saturdays at the "White House" the schools old solitary confinement building, have no choice.
A list of their names is ready Saturday morning. They usually receive about 15 blows with a leather strap from
assistant superintendent RW Hatton, while superintendent Art Dozier or Mr. Mitchell counts.
A study made of 255 boys committed at one time the Marianna showed that they had at that point been given 691
whippings among them. 11-year-old boys had received 205 or 38% of the beatings, and 17-year-old boys received
21, or, but 3%.
The older the boy, the fewer the beatings he received, records of the school showed at that time. Mr. Mitchell says
the personality of the boys carefully weigh for he is given any spanking.
In the code existing at Marianna, beginner is a rookie. He goes up to the ranks of Explorer, Pioneer, and Pilot before
he is released from the school. Demotion remiss behavior drops a boy to the lowest rank. Grub. Outstanding boys,
All this is done by a grade given the boys each week by every staff member who works with him. Lowest grade given
by any staffer is the one of the boy receives on his record.
As they go up in rank, boys earn special privileges. Pioneers can go to the picture show in the city once every other
week, and to the skating rink on alternate weeks.
They can go on hikes with their scout troop and trips with the school band or athletic team
Pilots enjoyed picture shows once a week with their admission free, paid by the school. They may attend free all
home games of local high school teams, and can write one extra letter each week.
Aces get to write any number of letters. They get a half day leave of absence each week, which they have complete
freedom to visit the city, and special reasonable minor privileges they request.
This is a great system to which Dr. Byrd referred in the Senate subcommittee hearing, and boys don't receive
whippings for falling behind in their studies.
The system is thoroughly described in the Marianna Boca, except for the beatings.
Superintendent Dozier says he abhors these paddling, but knows of nothing better.