20,000 signatures reached
To: Florida Governor Rick Scott & Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christy Daly
Tell Florida to Close ALL of its Juvenile Prisons AKA "Fight Clubs"
A Miami Herald investigation recently confirmed what we have long known- that Florida's Juvenile facilities are inhumane, sadistic, and destroying our children. Running rampant with officer-involved beatings, sexual assault, and a culture of violent depravity, these facilities prey on already vulnerable Florida youth. The article can be found here: http://hrld.us/2gsLWhC.
We want Governor Rick Scott and DJJ Secretary Christy Daly to close ALL Juvenile facilities in the state of Florida. Standing idly while children in these structures are tortured is to be complicit in the destruction of their innocence and their lives. Children in these facilities deserve opportunities to learn and grow, instead they are being purposefully subjected to emotional, psychological and physical agony by guards and administrators running "Fight Clubs."
Dream Defenders demands not only the immediate closing of these facilities and but for the state of Florida to immediately end and discontinue all contracts with the private corporations operating Juvenile facilities in the state. 100% of these youth imprisonment operations are privately run for billions in profit, while our state’s children are exposed and subjected to torture.
This should come easy to our state’s Governor, who in 2012 stated, “We cannot afford the financial or the societal costs of unnecessary juvenile incarceration.”
Why is this important?
Right now, the challenges our communities face are many. Imprisonment is a big one. Corporations and their politician friends have made it their life’s work to enact policies that keep our families and communities in jails. Every time someone in our neighborhoods is locked up, someone at a corporation makes money. These corporations, like Florida-based GEO and CCA, operate in the dark, away from public view and work hard to keep it that way. Their lavish vacations and retirement funds depend on it. On top of that, most people aren’t aware of how the prison industry operates and thus feel powerless to change it.
We want to change that. Dream Defenders is a small, young organization with limited resources in the face of a goliath, seasoned system of paper pushers with unlimited resources. The prison system is tearing up our families, communities, and future generations.
According to Miami New Times writer Jerry Ianelli:
"Investigative reporters Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch obtained stomach-churning video of Florida juvenile offenders fighting one another after being groomed as attack mobs by state guards. Scores of surveillance videos show groups of teenage boys sucker-punching, stomping, and beating up other kids, breaking noses, eye sockets, and a host of other bones in the process. The Herald uncovered tales of rape, molestation, children beaten to death, and a justice system that let almost every guard involved walk free without consequence. The list of nightmarish allegations in the series is too long to fully recount. The Herald noted cases where staffers set up fights and bet on them; instances where the DJJ hired guards who had formerly been caught having sex with inmates; other cases where guards showed a teen pornography and watched him ‘fondle himself’; raped a transgender inmate; had sex with a child detainee in a closet; and abused one female detainee by using her head as a ‘toilet plunger.’ One Broward County youth counselor was allegedly so brazen about having sex with teen inmates she became known as the ‘cradle robber.’ The 12 juvenile deaths the Herald noted seem due to state negligence."
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice condemning the state of juvenile detention in the country. A report of the National Institute of Justice, research arm of the Justice Department, added: “This ill-conceived and outmoded approach is a failure, with high costs and recidivism rates and institutional conditions that are often appalling… Every youth prison in the country should be closed, and replaced with a network of community-based programs and small facilities near the youths’ communities.”
The Dream Defenders goal is to end the prison system's hold on our states’ policies, profits, priorities and people. We work in classrooms, communities and prisons to educate and organize to end this incredible threat to our lives. We can’t continue to watch this happening to the people in our communities, we have to act. If we can do this; if we can begin to break this massive machine by freeing our children from it's hold, then we can begin to collapse it in our lifetime. If we do not, we risk losing many more generations.
How it will be delivered
We will deliver them Early Spring. Stay tuned.