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Feds: Florida's youth prisons are 'dangerous'

Dozier prisonFlorida’s youth-corrections system is so poorly administered that children are assaulted by officers, denied necessary medical care and punished harshly for minor infractions, a federal report released Friday concludes.

Conditions are so severe, the U.S. Department of Justice said, that they violate the Constitution.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division released a scathing 28-page report Friday on conditions at two North Florida youth prisons, the Dozier School for Boys and the Jackson Juvenile Offender Center. Though the two camps were both shut down by state juvenile-justice administrators earlier this year, the report said the state’s “failed system of oversight and accountability” likely has resulted in dangerous conditions at youth prisons throughout the state.

“These conditions return youth to the community no better — and likely less-equipped to succeed than when they were first incarcerated,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to Gov. Rick Scott, adding that such practices “erode public confidence in the juvenile justice system and interfere with the state’s efforts to reduce crime.” Miami Herald story by Carol Marbin Miller here.