JUDGES STUNNED BY CONDITIONS AT BOY'S SCHOOL
St. Pete Times Feb 24, 1969
A juvenile court judge who visited the Florida school for boys at Marianna earlier this month
came away so stunned by conditions at the overcrowded facility be vowed never again to send
a boy to the place.
Judge Richard Ray this of Florida Fort Lauderdale said conditions at the training school were
so bad he had changed his mind about sending Broward County juveniles they are paragraph
Rattus making his first visits to the training school came away and said conditions were awful,
dismal without adequate facilities and offer only a rural type of systems two young boys
paragraph Radice was among a group of juvenile judges who visited the Northwest Florida
Center during a meeting of the Florida Council of juvenile court judges paragraph among
others was Judge Frank Orlando, also of Fort Lauderdale, who said he was appalled by the
When a couple of boys I sent there came over to say hello. I felt like a rat for sending them to
that place. Orlando said. Judge Orlando said the training center is so understaffed that sexual
perversion is common although no supervisors are in the barracks from 11 PM until 7 AM three
days a week.
By sending boys to the training center, he said. We are doing some damages as far as sexual
problems are concerned. More than 600 boys are crowded into the Marianna facility in up to 50
cottages under the supervision of one attended until 11 PM. Three nights a week when the
supervisor leaves. Ages at the facility range from 13 to 20 and offenses from auto theft and
psychiatric problems for chronic truancy.
Orlando said in a weekend interview he had never sent the boy to Marianna who hadn't first
been put on probation paragraph. When Gov. Claude Kirk visited the school last March, he
said, 'if one of your kids were kept in such circumstances you'd be up there with rifles.'
As a result of the government governor's visit several outmoded buildings were razed and
construction of a new hospital was launched. Earlier this month, Lenox Williams, superintendent
of the school, was fired and Jack Blanton was made acting superintendent. He was formerly in
charge of paroles for juveniles.
Orlando said the firing and appointment of Blanton was a step in the right direction. He said
Williams was dismissed by OJ Keller, director of the division of youth services because Williams
was an advocate of Corporal Punishment beatings with a strap, and because he had failed to
institute policies advocated by Keller. When Keller was appointed director of the Beijing a year
ago, Orlando said, severe beatings were not uncommon. Now, he said, solitary confinement is
used as punishment paragraph
Orlando said there were 800 boys at the facility when Keller was appointed and that the
number had been paired by 200.
"Eventually I'd like to see the place completely phased out," he said.
Construction of a proposed juvenile detention facility at Gilchrest 30 miles west of Gainesville,
will help relieve overcrowding at the Marianna and Okeechobee schools, Orlando said. But the
Gilchrest school isn't expected to be ready for occupancy until 1971, he said. Meanwhile, he
said that gang sodomy and perversion and almost daily runaways will continue until the school
gets at least 50 new supervisors or the number of inmates is reduced drastically. Average age
of boys sent to Marianna, Orlando said, is a 15.