October 20, 2004 Sun Sentinel

Guards and inmates at the state's maximum-security prison for girls still fear for their safety -- despite
improvements in staff training and accountability, according to a Palm Beach County grand jury review
released Tuesday. The jury was impaneled in the spring to ensure the long-troubled Florida Institute for
Girls complied with 83 recommendations made by a previous grand jury. When it opened in April 2000, the
girls' prison -- one of a kind in the state -- was touted as a last hope for Florida's most disturbed teens.  
Since then, two employees have pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct with three girls and others
have been fired for inappropriate behavior. And at least four girls have suffered broken arms while being
physically restrained by staff. Girls, meanwhile, have been convicted dozens of times of assaulting their
peers or staff, or making false allegations against guards. The original jury confirmed the prison was
plagued by a lack of training, massive turnover, staff shortages and rock-bottom morale among workers.
The jury also revealed an "attitude of silence" that allowed staff to protect each other to cover up
wrongdoing. The jury scolded Premier Behavioral Solutions, the private company initially hired to run the
prison, for seemingly caring more about profits than programming. But it mostly blamed the Department of
Juvenile Justice for not forcing Premier to adhere to its contract and keep the prison safe. Lighthouse
Care Centers -- a for-profit company doing business in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia -- took over
the prison May 15 under a $21 million, five-year contract. Since Lighthouse took over, the prison and the
state have complied substantially with recommendations to improve guard training, increase staffing
numbers and create consistent accountability measures for the company to follow, the report noted.

August 8, 2004 Banker Portfolio

A grand jury in West Palm Beach this year exposed the shameful operation of Florida Institute for Girls, a
prison for maximum-risk and mentally ill teens. The causes of FIG's many problems are debatable.
Indisputable is the damage to girls who were molested by men working for Premier Behavioral Solutions, a
private company hired by the state to run FIG. Two Premier staffers were convicted of felonies. One had
had sex in a bathroom with two different girls on the same day.  Found in default by the state for persistent
failures at FIG, Premier stopped running it in May, two years and $11 million short of its contract. It still
must defend itself against the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing Premier to make public its FIG
records. It also plans soon to quit running a boys' prison, which it decided is not adequately funded. All in
all, a mess -- yet not one that investors in Premier's parent, Nashville-based Psychiatric Solutions (PSYS ),
would know about. Psychiatric, whose stock is up 189% in a year and is pushed by Wall Street as a hot
grower, has disclosed none of Premier's troubles in Securities & Exchange Commission filings. This is true
even though it filed its latest annual and quarterly reports weeks after it agreed in February to quit FIG.  
Yet it's easy to imagine that investors may be in for a shock. First, there are the ACLU suits. If the ACLU
prevails, claims for damages by parents of girls who were mistreated at FIG will follow, predicts Frank
Kreidler, the Lake Worth (Fla.) attorney pressing the suits. Psychiatric's treasurer, Brent Turner, said it
has plenty of liability insurance. But its 10-K warns that punitive damages may not be covered. Second,
while Psychiatric's first-quarter revenue jumped 190%, to $108 million, revenue excluding acquisitions rose
3%. Psychiatric has told the Street it expects revenue longer-term to grow at "strong single-digit" rates. Its
loss of $15 million in annual revenue from FIG and now the boys' prison won't help. Premier has 10 more
Florida contracts worth $23 million a year, expiring at various points through 2008. Its overall performance
-- successes, plus what happened at FIG -- will weigh on the contract renewals, said the Florida Dept. of
Juvenile Justice.  

June 23, 2004 Palm Beach Post

A private company faulted for problems at a local prison for girls now has 15 days to answer the state's
concerns at two other juvenile centers.  State officials made surprise inspections last week after a
newspaper reported teens were choked, whipped with belts and injured in restraints at facilities managed
by Premier Behavioral Solutions. The publicly traded Coral Gables-based company is one of Florida's
largest juvenile justice contractors, managing 11 centers for troubled teens statewide.  Premier lost its
contract to run the maximum-security Florida Institute for Girls in suburban West Palm Beach this year
when a grand jury found staffing problems, violence and abuse.  The program skimped on staff and
locked inmates in their cells when there were not enough workers to supervise them.  Concerned about
abuse allegations at other Premier centers, inspectors visited the Everglades Youth Development Center
and Southern Glades Youth Camp, both in Miami-Dade County.  State Department of Juvenile Justice
spokeswoman Catherine Arnold said inspectors found no evidence of abuse or mistreatment in their
12-hour visits. Past staff who used too much force restraining inmates were quickly fired, Arnold said, and
officials are satisfied that the centers are safe for teens.  But the inspectors did find high staff turnover
and lack of documentation of training.