According to the mission statement of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), its goal is to “promote public safety and strengthen domestic security….while protecting Florida’s citizens and visitors.” Pursuant to this measure, the Department has initiated an investigation into a privately-run juvenile facility believed to be turning its back on the safety and integrity of the residents – possibly resulting in the rampant sexual victimization of males aged 13-18.
The Palm Beach Juvenile Correctional Facility (PBJCF), located in West Palm Beach, is managed by the notorious private firm Youth Services International (YSI). The firm, which operates nine juvenile facilities across the state of Florida, has been targeted with several private lawsuits in the past – with two suits actually alleging the combined cover-up of staff-perpetrated physical and sexual violence against juveniles in Broward County’s Thompson Academy.
Now, the company is facing additional scrutiny at the hands of FDLE investigators following strikingly similar allegations from children housed in the high-risk youth facility.
Details of Investigation
In an announcement released in May 2015, the Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christy Daly promised Floridians that the facility would undergo a stringent review – especially considering the fact the state abruptly terminated a contract with YSI involving the Santa Rosa Substance Abuse Treatment Center. According to a survey conducted by the federal Department of Justice in 2012, as many as 32 percent of current and former residents of PBJCF reported sexual victimization – the highest report rate in the state.
Moreover, FDLE confirmed that two staff members were terminated immediately following allegations that they had coerced and encouraged two residents to fight. The investigation, which will involve several unannounced visits and meetings with residents, is directed to help improve the conditions at not only the Palm Beach facility, but within the other YSI facilities across the state of Florida. However, several children’s advocacy groups have called for a termination of all contracts with the firm, stating that Florida’s troubled youth would be “better off without them.”
Representation for Youth in Criminal Court
The advocacy efforts of a Bradenton juvenile attorney do not stop at the detention facility doorstep. By contrast, our attorneys will remain dedicated to each client’s juvenile case from start to finish, including representation regarding unfit housing or unconstitutional treatment by staff or other residents.
As a juvenile resident within the state of Florida’s correctional system, the constitution affords a number of rights, including the right to bodily integrity and due process. In the event any of these fundamental guarantees are breached, a juvenile attorney can step in immediately to advocate for change.
Contact the Fowler Law Group Today!
If you or a loved one is experiencing the criminal justice system in Florida, the Fowler Law Group is here to help. With two offices conveniently located in Bradenton or Sarasota, you can rest assured your case will be handled effectively and strategically. To get started, contact us at the office most convenient to you – and we look forward to working with you!