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Dozier School: Federal Government Finds Abuse at Juvenile Facilities

10:43 AM, Dec 9, 2011   |    comments
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MARIANNA, Fla. -- Roger Kiser says the federal government is finding out about abuse at state-run juvenile facilities that he has known about for years.

"We always knew the truth and we've been trying to expose the truth," said Kiser.

It's been decades since Kiser was sent to the Arthur G. Dozier School for boys.

He is one of more than 300 men who claim they were beaten and tortured at the state-run facility for troubled youth.

The men say most of the abuse happened in a white house on campus, thus their name the "White House Boys."

While their abuse claims date back 50 or more years, the Department of Justice has recently found abuse at Dozier and the Jackson Juvenile Offender Center in Marianna, Florida.

A 28-page investigative report indicates staff used excessive force on kids.  For minor infractions, kids were inappropriately isolated, staff was not appropriately trained and youth had their safety compromised.

"We feel very good about these claims, allegations being brought to light and being justified," said Kiser.

While both state sites were closed earlier this year, the Justice Department notes that the problems found at Dozier could be happening at other juvenile facilities in the state.

Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice spokesman C.J. Drake disagrees, saying, "The issues and concerns raised in the investigative report....(are) confined to the closed facility and are not duplicated elsewhere in the DJJ system. We have taken and will continue to take swift and appropriate action to address any conduct that violates laws, policies or the safety and dignity of the youth in our care."

"Gee, I thought DJJ said there was never a problem in that school. That tells the story right there," said Kiser.

An FDLE report released in 2010 did not confirm or deny the White House Boy claims. Kiser said the group has not given up on Florida acknowledging their abuse. And until it does, Kiser says they have a job to do.

"We are watching them like hawks. We have been all over the state of Florida watching every institution."
















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