Dear Representative or Senator
I, am one of the former juvenile prisoners
of the Florida School For Boys, now known as the Dozier School for Boys
in Marianna, Florida. We are reaching out to all candidates and presently
elected officials both state and national, to garner support for the closing
of this abusive institution.
The historical record is now widely publicized: Nationwide four times in
every major newspaper by Associated Press reporter Brendan Farrington, Live
TV, Video, Cnn, ABC, CBS,ongoing series of articles by Ben Montgomery, St.
Petersburg Times and others. For over 108 years state officials, elected
and appointed and employed, beat, tortured, sexually violated and raped the
children given them for custodial care. The record exposed the use of child
labor to benefit the private citizens of the Mariana area. The civil rights
of the children were contravened.
Newspaper articles and visits from various elected and private individuals
repeatedly made know the systemic, inhumane treatment laid upon these
In recent investigations and reportage it has been proven that these
atrocities were open knowledge among the citizens of the Mariana areas:
indeed, the state men who perpetrated these crimes openly talked about it
with their neighbors and kin. When boys "ran away" from this child prison,
farmers and citizens of the surrounding area became vigilante posses;
rewards for our recapture were SOP.
These are facts based in overwhelming testimony and reportage.
Yet there is a reaction to the charges, our attempts to seek justice and
reparations due us for the harm done and treatment for those who continued
to suffer the trauma of this horrendous treatment. There is reaction based
on denial; there is reaction because it "may affect the economic well being
of the community!"
Aside from the disgrace this reaction represents the driving force for
"economic well being" is simply a barbarous compounding of the crimes
already committed, no being committed at "Dozier," and will continue to be
committed should this institution remain in existence. Indeed, Dozier is
the DJJ "flagship" and represents the total failure governmental care of
children in distress.
The name of Dozier is an abomination: not only did he administrate the
beatings and torture of the children during his regime, he participated in
the crimes committed inside the White House! His name is a constant and
unending form of psychological torture to those of us who were his victims.
So lets stop kidding with people's lives - and further insulting those who
have suffered far more than any politician understands: closing Dozier is
the first step in repairing the damage done; preventing yet more child
abuse. It is the least the state of Florida can do. As for the citizens of
Mariana, "the truth shall set them free." And the truth is that they were
and are accomplices in one of the worst cases of state sponsored child
abuse in the history of the nation.
Lastly, closing Dozier equips the state with the funds to begin caring for
and compensating its victims.
Facts and History:
Children as young as eight to seventeen years were subjected to flogging
with a leather whip of up to one hundred lashes, a form of punishment that
was banned by Governor Hardee in 1922 as too severe a punishment for adult,
hardened criminals but was allowed to proceed, illegally, at this
institution. We were finally successful at getting this story to national
attention when Michael O'McCarthy convinced Carole Marbin Miller, Miami
Herald, of the story's validity. She broke the story in October 2008 with a
2.5 page article and a very powerful video. The story then went to the
Herald's affiliate CBS4 who did their own video and released it for the
first time on live TV.
On October 21 five former inmates we were allowed into the Dozier School for
Boys by the assistance of Gus Barreiro, Bonnie Rogers, the assistant PR person,
Samadhi Jones, and Christy Dely, another DJJ official. The "White House" punishment
room was to be sealed and later torn down, as promised by the DJJ at the
ceremony. A plaque was affixed to the building and the "White Houseboys" as
the group would be later known, were allowed to make uncensored statements
of the abuse. There were about fifty in attendance. At this ceremony, along
with the Miami Herald was Brendan Farrington, Associated Press Writer. The
next day the story went out to every major newspaper in the US and
newspapers in England, Whales, India and other countries. It would go
national four times, reported by CNN, ABC, New York Times, all the major
news sources. It continues on still.
At this point you may visit this site which contains all news articles,
video, personal stories of the men and ongoing breaking news:
also The Saint Petersburg Times Florida ongoing series: "For Their Own
At our December 8, 2008 press release, the Governor ordered an
investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the next day
into the abuse allegations and the 32 unmarked graves on the Dozier
property. The investigation was pretty much an embarrassing denouncement of
a poorly run investigation. The FDLE is also the same organization that is
defending the men who committed these atrocities. As to the investigation
into the 32 unmarked graves,the exact locations of the remains are no more
than an educated guess as the original grave markers were destroyed by the
farming of the land then replaced later by a superintendent by, again,
guess work only. They did not exhume the bodies, or use cadaver dogs or use
ground penetrating radar. The number of bodies were explained on paper
only. The State of Florida will never search the grounds, or do any digging
as if they found just one body of a child then the investigation might land
in the FBI or Department's of Justice's lap. Then, a serious investigation
might take place.
There are now nearly 600 men who have come forward to join a lawsuit
against the State of Florida. The flogging of the boys was discontinued in
1967 but the abuse just took other forms, hog-tying which could last for
hours, restraints, which may cover a number of abuse involvements:
Traumatic asphyxia and chest compression; face-down restraint with arms
crossed over chest, Acute cardiac arrhythmia while restrained face-down,
Death by stopped breathing due to pressure on chest, Traumatic asphyxia and
brain death from lack of oxygen due to heart and lung failure: To further
understand the severity that is used that has resulted in deaths across the
country go to: http://www.caica.org/RESTRAINTS%20Death%20List.htm
This institution cannot be "fixed" as there are just too many cases of
continued abuse. The worst problem is the men hired from the labor pool in
and around the Marianna area. Many are hired into the system that should be
immediately disqualified, many, once given power over another human being
will only use that power in a negative way to empower themselves, having
previously been unable to accomplishment that in their lives. Even the institution
officials with the best intent cannot be with the boys 24/7 and unfit applicants
for work still slip through the cracks and we firmly believe this will not stop as
the area in which these men are hired has one of the worst racial records in the whole
of the United States.
We ask that any fair-minded person who cares about the welfare of children
that are in these institutions, to please read this letter and view the web
sites and then carefully ask the question: Should this facility be closed?
I trust that the facts speak for themselves and that no concerned person
would want this level of abuse to continue in this 109 year old institution
that has been labeled "An Abomination," "The worst example of a boy's
reform school in the nation," and "1,400 Acres of Hell" by Senators, Judges
and Governors. Governor Claude Kirk best summed it up in these words:
"If one of your kids were kept in such circumstances you'd be up there with
rifles" Kirk said after a half day tour of the schools at Marianna and
Okeechobee. "Somebody should have blown the whistle on Marianna a long time
The time is now. Remember these quotes by Edmund Burke "All that is
necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" "When bad
men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an
unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
"People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their
enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and
nothing to lose, will always be dangerous."
Abused children grow up to be abusers of their siblings, their wives, their
children, and society as a whole, committing crimes against that which they
perceive to have harmed them in the past. Help us put an end to this
grist-mill of the helpless.