TEENS DEATH PROMPTS CALLS TO SHUT DOWN BOOT CAMP
Boot camp controversy
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Polk County Juvenile Boot Camp recently received high honors from the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Sheriff Grady Judd is proud of that.
"In fact, we received the highest rating possible," Judd said. "Our boot camp does a great job. And our recidivism
rate is about 46 percent."
Judd disagrees with the state lawmaker who wants to shut down the entire boot camp system after the death of a
14-year-old boy at a Panama City camp.
"They try to shock and awe a kid," said Gus Barreiro, who chairs the House Criminal Justice Appropriations
Committee. "It's really just basically trying to make a kid do things through intimidation."
Barreiro said he doesn't want to see another teenager die in the state's care. So, he's holding hearings in the
Florida House about boot camps and their effectiveness.
"If the facts show what I really believe they're going to show, that they have the highest recidivism rate in the state of
Florida and they're not being successful, then I just won't support funding it," Barreiro said.
Judd, however, said Polk County has proven the boot camp program can work as a deterrent to juvenile crime, and
the state shouldn't throw out the entire program.
Sheriff Grady Judd said the camp has helped curb juvenile crime.
"The death is unfortunate, and certainly it needs to be completely investigated," Judd said. "But in our world don't
throw the baby out with the bath water."
The Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are conducting investigations
into the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson.
The boy's parents believes he was abused at the Panama City Boot Camp and said he was in good physical shape
before he went there. Boot camp officials said the teenager had to be restrained when he became uncooperative
Anderson complained of breathing difficulties and collapsed. He died the next day at a Pensacola Hospital.Guest