This is an original newspaper report.....Date at present unknown....note the amounts of sellable goods that
were produced in one year then add 108 more years. The dollar amount would be in the millions.
What is Success?
The committee which was appointed for the purpose of visiting the Florida State Reform School located at
Marianna, beg leave to make the following report and ask that same be spread upon the Journal?
The senator explained that the committee found the two brick buildings in good repair, 600 acres of land,
five mules and all the necessary implements for cultivating the land.
But we regret to say that the present management of the school does not come up to our committee's
The inmates of said school number 44, five white, the others colored, two being female. We found them in
irons just as common criminals, which in the judgment of the committee is not the meaning of a State
Reform School. We have no hesitancy is saying under its present management is nothing more than more
or less than a prison where juvenile prisoners are confined.
The committee made recommendations for auditing and bookkeeping.....and that the inmates be more
humanely treated and the superintendent be required to remove the shackles from inmates of said school.
The shackles were removed and several years later another committee found Marianna a humane
institution where "in our opinion all persons under 18 should be sent instead of the chain gang. But it
voiced concern that the boys hired out to work with the state convicts and forced to work with hardened
criminals.......and recommended that windows where prisoners are confined at night should be made more
secure, as it is easy for them to bend the bars and escape.
Emphasis on rehabilitation was aborning. The committee also recommended that it become the duty of the
committing court to furnish a case history of the child as far as possible ......parents, places of birth,
disease if any and such items.
By 1913 the old tumbled down stockade had been removed and a fence .......more in harmony with the
reformation was installed.
Instead of 44 children, Florida today has four training schools, two for girls, two for boys, with a capacity for
1,463 children. There were 1,517 at close of the year's first quarter with 59 accepted but not delivered and
a waiting list of 261.
National standards recommends no more than 150 children to an institution. Okeechobee School for
Boys....the state's newest.....has 415.
As for Marianna, this June finds it a far cry from that of June of 1903. Instead of nine mules there are
tractors. There is a poultry division with 10,000 chickens, a modern dairy with Hereford cattle, a food
processing plant which last year handled 111,000 pounds of pork, 7,450 pounds of duck and even 4,080
pounds of rabbit.
It has a truck farm which produced $9,000.00 worth of vegetables, a cane mill which spilled out 5,000
gallons of syrup. It has a school, a chapel, a clinic, a recreational program and rudimentary training in
some 42 trades.
It also has 830 boys.
And no one to make rehabilitative miracles.
NEXT: Why is the repeater rate so high?