Target: Mr. Alex Kelly, Chief of Staff of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
Goal: Remove convicted batterer from justice system staff
The Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility in Milton, Florida, has recently received a great deal of attention after a video of a guard displaying brutal restraining techniques against a 15-year-old girl was released. The guard was charged with battery and released on bail. However, despite being charged, this woman has been allowed to go back to work. She is not being allowed to have contact with youth anymore, but that is hardly a punishment.
The facility is a residential center for female juvenile offenders between the ages of 13-18. According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, youths committed to this program have a moderate to serious level of mental or emotional disturbance with a general offender program. They also describe the facilities as a “therapeutic living environment.”
The video can be seen on the Miami Herald website released from the Florida Department of Justice. Though there is no audio, it is clear from the visuals that the girl poses no physical threat. She is just standing there when the guard slams her face into the concrete. She then body slams her to the ground, where she and another woman sit on the girl for an extended period of time. It is inevitable that restraining techniques have to be implemented and used at detention centers for the safety of other residents and staff, but not unless the resident is posing a threat. The guard pleaded not guilty to battery charges.
In situations like these, abuse can be prevalent behind closed doors. People who should not be working in these facilities abuse their power. Luckily in this case, there is video evidence to help the victim. By signing this petition you are telling the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice not to allow employees who have been charged with battering their residents to continue to work at their facilities, and to perform a through investigation of all staff.
Dear Mr. Alex Kelly,
The Milton Girls Residential Facility is supposed to be a therapeutic environment for young girls admitted to get the help that they need. This is a great goal to get these girls on the right path to re-enter society. Unfortunately, at least one resident has been brutally assaulted, and the guard charged with the battery has been allowed to go back to work when she should have been removed from the justice system.
While guards may have to restrain residents if the situation calls for it, this is just not the case here. A video shows that the victim had her arms behind her back and was already prevented from causing any physical threat. In addition, the victim did not present any physical threat to begin with. She was simply standing there. With the video’s lack of audio, its impossible to know is the victim may have said anything to antagonize the guard, but it doesn’t matter. The behavior displayed on the video goes beyond what would be considered proper restraining techniques.
Though the guard charged with battery has been prohibited from having further contact with youth, that is simply not sufficient punishment. We plead with you to remove staff who abuse their power in this way. Clearly, extensive investigations into this facility still need to take place.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Creative Commons