Accountability Finally Comes To Florida's Juvenile Justice System
READ THE BILL HERE: GENERAL BILL by Judiciary Committee CS/CS/HB 7055: Juvenile Justice
On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, Governor Scott signed a bill into law that will forever change the face of Juvenile justice in Florida. The bill address
many issues, the most important was this one phrase:
"It creates criminal penalties for abusing or neglecting teens of all ages in the department’s custody and requires DJJ to provide the Legislature with
annual reports on the outcomes for all its programs."
This was reported in several publications:
WFSU Sascha Cordner Reporting
WSFU Sascha Cordner Reporting
GENERAL BILL by Judiciary Committee CS/CS/HB 7055: Juvenile Justice
The ongoing expose of the Dozier School For Boys in Marianna, started September 28, 2007 by Michael O'McCarthy, Robert Straley, Roger Kiser and Dick Colon,
still in the news after seven years, was the catharsis that led to this event. Carroll Marbin Miller broke the story of the Dozier school on October 19, 2008 after
confirming the information Michael O'McCarthy had brought to her attention. On Oct 20, 2008 the gates of the Dozier facility were opened and the "Sealing of the
White House Ceremony" took place. We were allowed to speak at a podium in front of the whitehouse building and a plaque was unveiled acknowledging the
"tribulations of the boys" and "the "need to remain ever vigilant." In attendance besides Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Hearld, was also Brenden Farrington,AP,
Rich Phillips and ED Lavandera, CNN. The story went nationwide and worldwide the next day.
Reform school alumni recount severe beatings, rapes: Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald
Whatever Is Below Those Crosses Is Crying Out: By Rich Phillips CNN Senior Producer
For Their Own Good: By Ben Montgomery, Waveney Ann Moore, Edmund D. Fountain
Ben Montgomery, Tampa Bay Times picked the story up and did a series consuming over 5,000 hours of time and research. It has been reported on by nearly every
major newspaper continuously into the year 2014. Dozier was closed and soon thereafter the Department of Justice released a scathing report on Dozier and sent a
letter to Governor Scott.
Full Justice Department Report
Department of Justice To Governor Scott
Even though Professor Kimmerle of USF has not yet released her final report, the signing of this bill was more than we had hoped for. Finally, those in charge of
juveniles in Florida will face criminal penalties if a child under their care is injured of killed. Exposing Dozier, the power of the press for seven, unrelenting years and
the Department of Justice's Investigation, led to the signing of this most important bill. There are too many people to thank at this moment. The boys that were flogged
for sixty eight years, most pre-teen, wherever you are, dead or alive, your suffering did not go unnoticed. In the end justice has prevailed.