No Longer Silent

The White House Boys speak out on abuses suffered at the hands of a Florida reform school.

Number of Young People Arrested in Florida’s Public Schools Drops by Nearly Half over Last Eight Years

The number of young people arrested in Florida’s public schools decreased by 48 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to a new Florida Department of Juvenile Justice report. Over the eight-year period, total public school arrests in the state fell from 24,000 to about 12,500 during the 2011-2012 school year. According to the report, 67 percent of all school-related arrests during the timeframe stemmed from misdemeanor offenses, with non-felony assault and battery, disorderly conduct and drug charges accounting for almost 56 percent of public school arrests over the eight-year period. Additionally, 51 percent of school-related arrests last year were attributed to first-time delinquents, a 7 percent drop from 2010-2011 statistics. In all, 65 percent of school-related arrests in the 2011-2012 school year in Florida were dismissed, not filed or eventually dismissed.

Florida DJJ Says Aftercare Contractors Overpaid; State May Replace Vendors with Probation Officers

UPDATE: The Henry & Rilla White Foundation, Inc. released a response to these reports, which can be found here: Letter to The Reader Forum – Miami Herald. With more than $1.2 million in annual benefits and salary – a majority of which stems from state tax payers – Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice says it’s time to decrease the pay of William Schossler, president of  Tallahassee’s The Henry & Rilla White Youth Foundation. Schossler, 65, heads a nonprofit that currently holds 23 statewide juvenile justice contracts in Florida, with the foundation managing numerous residential treatment beds and funding programs that grants adolescents access to therapy and counseling after leaving state care. In total, the Henry & Rilla White Youth Foundation’s juvenile justice contracts with Florida are tallied at an estimated $10.2 million in value. The state DJJ, however, believes that Schossler’s pay – which in 2010, consisted of almost $400,000 in salary and more than $800,000 in additional compensations – is excessive, with Florida juvenile justice chief Wansley Walters stating that the funding should go towards youth services instead.

Success in Juvenile Justice Diversions May Influence Treatment of Adult Offenders in Florida

In October, officials in one Florida community announced that its local police force would now have the ability to issue civil citations in lieu of formal arrests for certain crimes. The Leon County, Fla., measure targeting a largely adult-offender base takes many cues from the state’s juvenile justice system, which has seen vast improvements to juvenile crime rates due to lock-up alternatives. According to the News Service of Florida  proponents of a statewide movement issue more citations to and arrest fewer adult offenders – if the individual has committed a non-violent crime and has no previous arrest record — claim that such a policy would save the state tens of millions of dollars in annual incarceration expenses. Tentative plans would require adult offenders in Leon County – which contains the state capital of Tallahassee – to undergo an assessment within three days of a citation, in addition to performing community service or receiving substance abuse treatment if it may have been a contributing factor to the crime. Leon County officials began issuing civil citations for non-violent juvenile offenders in 1995.