Reforms Under Way In Fla. Juvenile Justice System


Five weeks after taking over Florida’s troubled juvenile justice program, C. George Denman introduced a new management team for the Miami lockup and outlined reforms designed to do more than “just put a new face on things,” says the Miami Herald. Denman, interim superintendent of the Department of Juvenile Justice, appointed Willie Carl Westley to run the 226-bed Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center, where the June death of 17-year-old Omar Paisley exposed critical lapses in the system.

He announced new standards for hiring and promoting employees, new training for officers and supervisors, installation of an intercom system in the youth jail, and increased staffing to make sure an officer is able to observe youth at all times. “Today is the start of a new era in the Dade Detention Center, which will entail pride, professionalism, communication, commitment and cooperation,” said Westley, who said he specializes “in turning places around.”

Nearly 25 officers, supervisors, and administrators have left the agency in the wake of DJJ’s worst scandal, Paisley’s death of appendicitis on June 9. Fourteen officers and supervisors have been told the department intends to fire them.


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