State legislators have shut down the scandal-ridden Florida Institute for Girls, west of West Palm Beach, only five years after it opened. The last of the transfers from the maximum-security prison for girls will be done Tuesday, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The facility once housed as many as 100 girls but was tainted by scandals and violence.
Despite intense scrutiny by the state Department of Juvenile Justice, each of the two private providers hired to run the prison had been unable to effectively control the violent girls, treat their deep-seated emotional and psychological problems and curb the inappropriate relationships they developed with guards. The girls sent to the prison have committed crimes such as carjacking, drug dealing, manslaughter, battery and rape. Most were physically and sexually abused as children and many suffer from serious mental-health problems. Over the years, the facility had been besieged by reports of girls viciously attacking their peers and their guards. Some girls have repeatedly attempted suicide. Others have been injured numerous times after being physically restrained by staff members. Two guards pleaded guilty to engaging in criminal sexual misconduct with girls.