US Marijuana Party

Friday, April 15, 2005

Operators of girls prison get a warning

By Shana Gruskin
Staff writer
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The state Department of Juvenile Justice this week warned the private company that runs the state's maximum-security prison for girls: Fix your treatment program or lose your contract.

Sound familiar? That may be because just last year, the Florida Institute for Girls' former provider, which had managed the facility for four years, gave up its contract after the state threatened to yank it for continually failing to control violence and keep the girls and the guards safe.

Since opening the facility in 2000 under Premier Behavioral Solutions, Florida Institute for Girls had been plagued with hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, sexual misbehavior and poor supervision. Two employees pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct with three girls. Girls had been arrested numerous times for assaulting staff and other girls. And four girls suffered broken arms while being physically restrained.

The violence led to a grand jury investigation, which found a lack of training, massive turnover, persistent staff shortages and a general sense of unrest at the facility.


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