The sudden death of an apparently healthy Florida teen at a military-style youth lockup prompted a lawmaker to demand that the controversial programs be shut down, the Miami Herald reports. State officials say they will reexamine policies that allow the use of physical force against children in state care. Martin Lee Anderson, 14, who stopped breathing less than three hours after being admitted to the Bay County Sheriff’s boot camp last week, is the most recent child to die in the custody of state youth corrections officials under questionable circumstances. ”These places are terrible, they have been shown to be unsuccessful, and they should be shut down,” said state Rep. Gustavo ”Gus” Barreiro (R-Miami Beach), who chairs the House Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee, and heads a separate committee that is investigating the treatment of youth in state care.
The initial medical examiner’s report suggests Martin did not die from injury or physical trauma. Martin’s parents, Robert Anderson and Gina Jones, dispute the findings. They believe their son was restrained, pushed up against a wall and beaten by drill instructors until he stopped breathing. They intend to sue the state and Bay County officials for negligence.