With Martin Lee Anderson’s parents standing behind him, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush yesterday signed a law named after the 14-year-old boy who died a day after he was beaten by guards at a boot camp, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The “Martin Lee Anderson Act” will eliminate boot camps and replace them with less military-like programs. Martin died Jan. 6, one day guards at a boot camp for young offenders were see on videotape kicking and kneeing him. He had been brought there after he was accused of stealing his grandmother’s jeep. A second autopsy found that Martin suffocated because the guards forced ammonia capsules into his nose in an attempt to revive him after the beating.
The boot camp has since closed and a criminal investigation is under way. Under the new law, the four remaining boot camps across the state will shut down. They will be replaced by Sheriff’s Training and Respect programs, or STAR academies, that place more emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation. The law forbids guards from using “harmful psychological intimidation techniques” on children, including threats of violence or efforts to humiliate. It largely outlaws the use of “pain compliance techniques” and bans altogether the use of weapons such as pepper spray and Tasers.