[The troubled Dozier School for Boys in the Florida Panhandle has survived a hundred years of scandals, but as
Mike Vasilinda tells us, the school’s time may be finally running out.]
Dozier School has Nine Lives
Dozier School Has Nine Lives
March 9th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda
The Dozier School is Florida’s home for the worst of the worst juvenile offenders, and maybe managers too.
Problems date back to the early 1900’s when fire killed inmates in a locked dorm. More recently a group of inmates
known as the White House Boys alleged beatings and death.
“I want somebody to pay the price for the brutality,” 1964 Dozier School resident Patrick Hallinan said.
There have been six superintendents in 8 years. Now the state senator in charge of the school’s budget is issuing an
“The message has been strongly sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice that they need to clean that place up,
they need to do it immediately, or we will immediately shut it down,” Senator Victor Crist (R-Tampa) said.
Even Governor Charlie Crist thinks the school’s time may have passed.
“I want to make sure we do the right thing instead of just what sounds good for the day,” Governor Crist said. “So, I
think the legislature is smart to give it a thorough review.”
One question is what to do with the 100-plus offenders. State Prison is an option.
That state has even considered privatizing the Dozier school. But nobody was interested, because nobody wants to
deal with managing the worst of the worst.
Victor Crist says some institution is likely to remain on the site.
“It could be reopened as a Department of Corrections facility,” Senator Crist said. “Because it does employ over 200
people in that small town.”
But in the end, finding a new home for the worst, coupled with a troubling economy, may be enough to give the
trouble school yet another lease on life.
The state spends about 10 million dollars a year to run the school…or about 100 thousand dollars for each of the
institutions troubled inhabitants.