Department of Juvenile Justice

Palm Beach Post

Two 13-year-olds and a 16-year-old sued the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice on Thursday, alleging their health and well-being were put in danger when the state placed them in solitary confinement.

The Florida Legislature has agreed to allow certain Florida officials to visit the state’s juvenile justice facilities. It’s now heading to the Governor’s desk.

Broward Youth Treatment Center

Authorities are investigating after a 17-year-old died at a South Florida drug treatment center for delinquent youths.

AHCA, DCF Leaders Get Senate Panel’s Blessing

Feb 17, 2016
Agency for Health Care Administration

A Senate committee signed off Tuesday on the confirmation of seven agency heads, including leaders of some of the state's highest-profile departments.

The status of interim leaders at two state agencies remains unclear as Gov. Rick Scott prepares to start a second term, the News Service of Florida reports. Since the election last month, secretaries for the Department of Corrections and Department of Environmental Protection have announced their departures. It’s not uncommon for these posts to change during a governor’s second term. The News Service reports that Scott remains quiet about how he will handle the interim posts at the Department of Children and Families and Department of Juvenile Justice. Mike Carroll has been in the temporary post at DCF since May. Christy Daly has served in her position at DJJ since July.

The outgoing head of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice says new policies aimed at reducing the rate of incarceration of teens -- which soon become state law -- are backed up by a new report. As the News Service of Florida reports, the study by the the non-profit Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. says the deeper youths get into the justice system, the less likely it is they will be rehabilitated.

The chairman of the Senate panel that oversees the budget for criminal and civil justice  points to the decline in arrests and delinquency as evidence that the state’s prevention-and-diversion strategy is working, the News Service of Florida reports.  Now, there are bills in both chambers that would write prevention into the law that governs the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The state’s Department of Juvenile Justice wants to revamp the way it handles juvenile offenders, the News Service of Florida reports. Secretary Wansley Walters wants to see more prevention and alternatives to detention, such as civil citations for non-violent first offenders. Walters cited a high success rate -- 94 percent -- for juveniles who are issued civil citations.

Palm Beach Post

After the Palm Beach Post reported last spring that juveniles in youth prisons were getting large doses of antipsychotics, and doctors were getting large kickbacks from the makers of those drugs, the state promised action. 

A 52-year-old guard who worked at an infamous private youth prison for teens has been arrested after six girls reported he sexually abused them, according to the Pensacola News Journal. The Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility, which operated under contract with the state, was closed after a security video showed a staff member slamming a girl against a wall.

Following an incident of abuse at a private Milton lock-up for teenagers, the Department of Juvenile Justice has promised some changes, including quicker review of surveillance footage.

Two Florida centers that housed vulnerable populations -- adults with brain-damage, teen girls accused of delinquency -- had a long history of trouble before problems came to the attention of authorities, according to reports over the weekend.

They are the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation in Wauchula and the Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility, hundreds of miles apart but not so different in the reports coming out.

Two state agencies announced steps Wednesday that they say will keep Florida's children -- especially disabled, abused and foster kids -- safer. Meanwhile, though, a video surfaced showing a guard at a youth prison roughing up a teen-age girl.