Florida officials will dismiss detention workers with criminal pasts after harsh criticism from legislators that delinquent children are being supervised by felons, the Miami Herald says.
Juvenile Justice Secretary William Bankhead, whose department came under withering scrutiny after last summer’s death of a Miami detainee from a ruptured appendix, also announced a plan to improve management at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center by bringing in outside supervisors and consultants.
Juvenile detention workers now will be screened annually for arrests rather than the once every five years. The Herald reported last week that about 350 of 2,000 state detention workers and supervisors have arrest records, including four superintendents and four assistant superintendents. Juvenile Justice employees have convictions for perjury, contempt of court, aggravated assault, assault and battery, drunken driving, hit-and-run driving, and terrorist threats.
Perhaps Bankhead’s most far-reaching proposal was to develop a psychological test for detention candidates, similar to the tests used by police departments to disqualify candidates who may be prone to excessive use of force.