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Nicoletti Walker Law Group July 20, 2016

In news coverage that shocked many in Florida, on June 29th, the Times/Herald covered a story involving what many would consider to be abusive treatment of these teenage inmates, who were denied food simply because someone at their table was speaking one afternoon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is entirely illegal to deprive any inmates—not just teenagers—of food in Florida’s prisons; however, it happens, and it’s rarely reported.

Fortunately, when it happened in the presence of state Rep. David Richardson, he proceeded to complain about it, and action was taken when the FDC opened up an investigation against the supervising officer responsible. In addition, all officers on duty were counseled about the fact withholding food absolutely cannot be used as a form of discipline.

But what about when important politicians aren’t looking? Serious injuries and harm can result from depriving individuals of food, where the state is guarded with taking care of them.

Recent Troubles for Florida Prisons

This is, by no means, the first question that’s been raised about Florida’s prison system, which has faced its share of troubles. Not only have riots broken out in recent months, but the system is dangerously understaffed, and now facing a budget crisis. Richardson—who makes it his mission to personally investigate youth prisons—has reported that he’s seeing signs of inmates being assaulted, with witnesses rarely left behind.

Florida Representative Working towards Progress

To try and correct these issues, Richardson has made reasonable suggestions, such as:

  • Compiling a list of officers accused of being abusive and encouraging the FDC to monitor them;

  • Suggesting that youthful offenders not be allowed to sleep in cells containing more than two inmates because it can lead to gang-related violence and abuse; and

  • Suggesting that Lancaster Correction (specifically) be closed entirely to youthful offenders. The FDC Secretary actually decided to take action on this suggestion, and closed Lancaster to inmates under the age of 17 this month. She also proceeded to replace the warden and his top four deputies.

While Richardson is pleased by the progress that has been made by reduced assaults, he is concerned that what might pop up in its place—such as denying youthful offenders food—could be just as harmful. Thus, he maintains that there is more that must be done to prevent injury to these inmates.

Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney

Regardless of age, intentional harm should not be inflicted on prison inmates. On top of that, knowing that a serious pattern exists of abusing underage inmates—who are still children, in many ways—is too much to bear, especially for parents whose child might be in one of these facilities.

Experienced Clearwater attorney Mike Walker effectively handled a number of serious personal injury cases and is able to help you or your loved one obtain the compensation they need if they’ve been harmed. Contact Mike Walker today for a free consultation and he can start advising you of your options.