Hillsborough juvenile facility a victim in state budget
By TOM BRENNAN | The Tampa Tribune
Published: May 27, 2011
The budget approved this week by Gov. Rick Scott will cause the closure of one of the county's juvenile detention
centers, leading to the elimination of 52 jobs.
The 50-bed Hillsborough East facility, 9504 E. Columbus Drive, will be shuttered by the end of June, said C.J. Drake,
spokesman for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.
The closure is part of a $67 million cutback the department has to make statewide; about an 11 percent dip from last
year's budget, Drake said.
Drake said the youths now at the center will be transferred to the nearby Hillsborough West detention center at 3948
W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which at 93 beds is nearly double in size.
Drake said the department will try to find positions inside and outside the department for those losing their jobs.
The Hillsborough East center has long been a target for cuts, barely staying open last year. Officials said it was one
of the most underused facilities in the state, operating at about 75 percent capacity.
Among other facilities being shut is the North Florida Youth Development Center — formerly called the Arthur G.
Dozier School for Boys – a reform school for boys in the Florida Panhandle where former students said they were
physically and sexually abused some 40 years ago.
In 2008, then-Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate allegations by
former students. Investigators last year concluded they could neither substantiate nor refute those claims.
Also being closed are centers in DeSoto, Osceola and Seminole counties.
Drake said the department will focus on intervention and detention programs in local communities, trying to reach
youths before they enter the detention system.