In a letter sent Monday to U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the abhorrent practices occurring within the State of Florida’s Juvenile Justice System. The NAACP recently called attention to the dilapidating state of Florida’s youth detention centers, after a detailed investigative report by the Miami Herald was released.
The report detailed stories of forced fighting, sexual assault and wrongful deaths. Youth detention workers allegedly enforced a culture of denial and suppression. In total, the Herald examined 12 questionable deaths of detained youths since the year 2000.
“The State of Florida has failed these children for too long,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP, “DOJ must begin a thorough and transparent review of these atrocious practices, and a complete reform of the failing system. We are asking the Justice Department to take steps immediately,” he added.
In the letter to Sessions, Adora Nweze, President of the NAACP Florida State Conference writes:
“The State of Florida has neither the desire nor the means to adequately address this problem. As such, the Florida NAACP respectfully requests that the Department of Justice commence an investigation into Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice, pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997a.
We ask that you review the current conditions and practices in place in Florida’s juvenile detention facilities, including the physical and sexual abuse, the negligent hiring and training practices, the chronic understaffing, and lack of adequate medical care. We are confident that you will find not a series of isolated incidents, but rather a pattern and practice of systemic abuse and neglect across virtually every FDJJ institution in Florida. We ask that you begin to work closely, transparently, and expeditiously to rectify the ongoing injustices.”
The Florida NAACP is calling for an expedited and complete investigation, within three weeks, into the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in its management of these youth detention facilities, and vows to keep a watchful eye on the situation.