December 8, 2017

A Brief Look at Juvenile Justice in Florida

Posted in Blog |

An Okaloosa County juvenile attorney can provide you with representation if your child has been accused of a crime and is at risk of being charged and penalized within the juvenile justice system. While the juvenile justice system is supposed to be about rehabilitation, unfortunately a recent report from Tampa Bay Times revealed dark secrets within this system that are causing profound harm to young offenders.

As a parent whose child has been accused of a crime, you need to protect your child from serious consequences that could derail his or her future and have a lifelong impact. This means you should reach out to an experienced attorney to get help fighting for your child’s rights.

With help from a compassionate and knowledgeable legal professional, your child may be able to avoid being found guilty of an offense or may be able to reduce possible penalties and keep a clean record even if convicted.   With troubling news about the state of the juvenile justice system, hiring a lawyer for your child may be more important than ever before.

Dark Secrets of the Florida Juvenile Justice System

The Tampa Bay Times demonstrated the problems within the criminal justice system by starting a report off with the story of a 17-year-old boy who had died while in custody.  The boy, who weighed around 135 pounds, was the victim of an “A-town Stomp” and although he fought back, he was not able to defend himself against a 68-second alteration with more than a dozen other boys at the juvenile justice facility where he was being held.

The attack was reportedly captured on video, and one of the juveniles in the facility identified a detention officer who ordered the other boys to attack because the victim had mouthed off a few minutes prior. Dozens of detainees at the facility complied with the detention officer’s order, kicking and punching the victim and causing severe injuries including internal bleeding that would ultimately prove fatal.

In response to the attack, nurses at the facility did not get the victim the help he needed for his internal bleeding.  And, although the attack was caught on tape, there was no modern surveillance equipment installed at the time that would have better captured the altercation and alerted guards to the vicious attack.

The victim’s family believes he will get no justice because none of those who were involved —  from the attackers to the guard to the nurses — will be held accountable.  Unfortunately, the incident is not an isolated one, as Tampa Bay Times indicates there have been complaints of problems at the juvenile detention facility for a long time — including reports spanning years of staff members rewarding detainees who rough up their fellow juvenile offenders.

There have been a total of 12 questionable deaths at the facility since 2000, including violent deaths caused by beatings and injuries.   Investigations have also revealed a variety of reasons that juvenile offender facilities in Florida are in such dire straits.  The staff members at these facilities are often paid very low and provided with limited benefits. 

Unfortunately, it is children who suffer when guards don’t do their jobs properly and protect them.  If you are a parent whose child could potentially be sent to a juvenile justice facility, you need to get help from an Okaloosa County juvenile attorney right away to find out how best to protect your child.

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