FL Vows Juvenile Detention Reforms After Boy, 18, Dies in Custody


Florida's top juvenile justice chief vowed to work tirelessly until administrators know what killed an 18-year-old youth at a South Florida lockup, and said the state has developed plans to ensure other detained children fare better, reports the Miami Herald. Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters said her department is investigating the death of 18-year-old Eric Perez.

Walters promised to talk later “about the incident itself and the steps we have taken to make us the national role model for juvenile justice administration.” Among the reforms she is seeking: expanding statewide a civil citation and diversion program she implemented in Miami so that children at low risk do not end up in detention centers such as the one in which Perez died; reducing the number of children sent to locked detention centers; reforming the lockups themselves, and de-emphasizing residential centers in favor of prevention and early intervention programs for at-risk youth.

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