Psychologists Attack Marianna Treatment
By Jane Wood. Reporter of the Miami News
Psychologists of Dade County today condemned the policy of beating boys at Marianna Industrial School, Florida's
institution for juvenile delinquents.
In a letter to Gov. LeRoy Collins, the southeastern Florida Psychological Association, professional organization of
this area's psychologists with doctorate degrees recommends a state board be created to set up a program that will
eliminate corporal punishment state corrective institutions.
The statement of the area's psychologists drew out a hot debate following a Miami news series last week in which it
was revealed that Beating of boys, described befor the U.S. Senate Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, goes on at
the Marianna school.
Association members discussed the problem, and appointed a committee to draw up the statement of policy of the
group. The policy letter to Gov. Collins is signed by Dr. Charles A. Stenger,president of the Association.
We do not question the sincerity of purpose of Mr. Dozier, superintendent of the Florida Industrial School for Boys at
Marianna, but we do strenuously object to his approach. Not only is the program of implementing a policy of
systematic corporal punishment in an institution setting fraught with danger, but the underlying principle is in conflict
with well-established psychological factors, says the letter.
Dangers are itemized. First is the actual administering of the punishment will gravitate to sadistically inclined
individuals. This is particularly true because persons without such underlying needs will usually avoid such duties.
The end result is brutality.
Second danger is that the infliction of pain by a person in authority can lead to masochistic attitudes in which sexual
experience becomes associated with pain and submission. The conditions under which the punishment is
administered at Marianna actually encourages the development of such reactions in the boy
Third is that the systematic policy of corporal p will you want unishment tends to become an automatic way of dealing
with very different types of rule infractions, simply because it is expeditious for an institution to handle problems in a
The fourth danger is that these standards of behavior are likely to become the same for all boys regardless of their
age is. The letter points out that the fact that the younger boys received most of the beatings at Marianna would
attest to the fact that discipline was keyed to the older boys.
In such a system,the fifth danger itemized is that punishment tends to become mechanically administered, without
adequate consideration for the personality individual child.
Even though officials at Marianna insists they did weigh such factors, says the letter, they relied on their own
unprofessional judgment and did not seriously utilize the help of psychologists on their staff for this information.
A Threat to the Younger
As the six danger, punishment administered impersonally by powerful males can result in younger boys developing
such a fear of authority and feeling of hopelessness that it renders them incapable of self sufficiency and
constructive social action.
Seven, older boys tend to react to the punishment as a test of their ability to stand up to whatever authority metes
out. Thereby actually strengthening delinquent attitude.
The correct approach lies in withdrawal of privileges and social approval, and, if used properly, can be successful
with a considerable proportion of the boys, says the statement.
The psychologists of the Dade County group offered Gov. Collins their cooperation and services in any way that
might be helpful.