What will be done at Marianna ?
Where have you been, Gov.? Tuesday you took a tour of the boys reform school and
announced it was in absolutely deplorable condition. We thought you already knew that. You
see, it's been the topic of lots of conversations and press conferences during the past year. A
federal official even came to the state to call it a monstrosity. You must've been out of town and
missed the news story. You would have liked it. The official was Reagan Mandela of the US
children's Bureau, and he also talked about your war on crime.
Your governor has been concerned about adult crime, Mandela said back in December. But the
place to start in a real out all out attack on crime is with juveniles. He went on to say our training
school failed to meet even the minimum standard
About the same time, an attorney in a Pinellas juvenile court was pleading to keep his client out
of Marianna. He argued the boy would merely learn bigger and better crimes at the school
because it was so understaffed. He would receive little supervision.
You must've missed that too. But then there was the February report of the new Florida division
of youth services, probably the most depressing state report ever issued.
It told how Florida ranks 38th among the 50 states in per capita expenditures for public training
schools for delinquent children. It said, Florida ranks 43rd in the rate of population personnel in
the reform schools. It told how there was no staff for night supervision in, tori cottages at
Marianna, where as many as 45 delinquent boys sleep in a room.
It told how the school depends upon the boys labor to keep going. The boys go to school every
other day and on off days, they work.
That's not exactly making Florida's number one, is it Gov.?
There also have been reports on how juvenile court judges have little choice but to send too
many boys to Marianna, even those with psychiatric problems for which the school has no funds
or staff to offer assistance. The judges have to send them anyway, often putting them on the
road to serious crime, because there simply is no other place.
Where have you been, Gov.? How could you not know the deplorable conditions at the
Marianna training school?
But more important, Gov., what have you done to change it? What will you do now?