Some good news at last
Published: April 11, 2010

It’s nice to get some good news out of Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. Plagued
by reports and incidents of abuse and maltreatment over the years, the facility
clearly needed a firm hand and has apparently found one.

Michael Cantrell was tapped by the Department of Juvenile Justice to take over at
Dozier after a less-than-stellar evaluation resulted in the removal of the previous
superintendent. A recent quality audit by the state found that a number of needed
improvements had been made, and made swiftly.

Cantrell and the staff at Dozier are to be commended for addressing these
problems in a professional manner.

Detention facilities, especially ones for juveniles, can be problematic places. The
residents are there largely because, for reasons varying from poor parenting to bad
choices, they have run afoul of the law once too often. Yet the main purpose of
these detention facilities – indeed, of any place of incarceration – is rehabilitation.
The residents need to be taught the life skills they need so they can re-enter
society and become productive members of their community.

Not all can be saved, but numerous studies and pilot programs have demonstrated
that proper education and opportunities for those incarcerated can significantly
reduce the number who will offend again. That goal is hard to achieve if the facility
is poorly run. We hope Cantrell can continue to make strides for the good of the
residents who will eventually be released.