Saturday, May 26, 2007

State employees fired after teen knocked out


Two Department of Juvenile Justice employees will be fired after an ongoing investigation revealed the use of inappropriate force that knocked an 18-year-old resident unconscious at a Marianna facility, department Secretary Walt McNeil said Friday.

The investigation into the incident has made it clear that the Arthur
G. Dozier School for Boys has widespread deficiencies, McNeil said.

The department has made management changes and hired an independent consulting firm to oversee the facility, which is a high-risk
residence currently housing 162 boys from 14 to 21.

"We recognize that there are systemic operational problems at our
Dozier facility that span the chain of command from top to bottom,''
McNeil said. "It is clear that we have to act decisively to change
the culture of our Dozier facility.''

On Feb. 11, resident Justin Caldwell was choked and thrown to the
floor by Alvin Speights, a residential officer at the Dozier school,
McNeil said. On the way down, Caldwell hit his head on a table and
was knocked unconscious.

Speights was in the process of being fired Friday, and Dozier's acting superintendent, John Tallon, was fired Thursday, McNeil said.

Caldwell had assaulted a different officer earlier in the day, but
McNeil could not say whether Speights' actions were in retaliation
for that incident because the investigation is ongoing. Other firings
could come after the completion of the investigation.

Caldwell is currently in jail in Jackson County as a result of the earlier incident, McNeil said.

Among the changes that will take place, the department's assistant
secretary of residential services will temporarily move his office to the facility to supervise daily operations, McNeil said. Community
Trust, a Tallahassee-based consulting firm specializing in juvenile
justice facility management, will also oversee daily operations, and its chief executive will become acting superintendent.

Also, the facility's 200 employees will be trained in verbal
intervention techniques to replace physical actions against youth who
are misbehaving.

McNeil said Friday's announcement was an effort to be transparent
about problems at the department.

The department came under scrutiny after 14-year-old Martin Lee
Anderson died in January 2006, a day after being roughed up by guards
at a Panama City boot camp. The Florida Legislature dismantled the
military-style boot camps during last year's legislative session.

1 comment:

Jimmie Menon said...

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Jimmie Menon
Payroll Providers Guelph