St. Petersburg Times - Nov 24, 1982


THERE'S NO EXCUSE

No wonder the practice is called "hogtying." The punishment meted out at one of Florida's juvenile 
prisons is brutal and inhumane as it sounds: Handcuffs and ankle cuffs are fastened together behind the 
backs of boys and pulled so tight that their bodies bow.

Youths at the state's three juvenile prisons should not be hogtied for any reason. Yet, boys at the Arthur 
G. Dozier School in Marianna have been shackled for such minor offenses as cursing the staff and beating 
on doors.

After teenagers at Dozier complained to visitors they were being put in a dent ion unit against the rules, 
hogtied and otherwise mistreated, an investigation was conducted by the Inspector General's Office of the 
Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS). The agency oversees the state's training schools for
delinquent youths.

Some of the allegations were true, according to the HRS investigative team, including charges that boys 
were held detention unit for reasons other than those allowed by the rules and regulations.

It's shocking how frequently hogtying was used at Dozier. The investigation found that boys at the prison 
were hogtied eight times between Sept 7 and October 1 for periods ranging from 10 minutes to an hour. 
Shackling usually occur in an adjustment unit or an isolation room, their reports said. However restraints 
sometimes were used to transport youths to the adjustment unit.

The cruel practice cannot be justified. Guards wouldn't be allowed to hogtie inmates in adult prisons. Why 
should authorities be allowed to do something that barbaric to children? State officials responsible for 
allowing the practice deserve more than admonishment. They should be fired.

The response of officials at the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS), which oversees 
the training schools, has been disappointing so far.

Fred Baldwin, HRS assistant secretary of operations, said last Friday that the staff at Dozier already has 
switched from metal handcuffs and anklecuffs to leather restraints as a result of the investigation. The 
agency also is working to develop a comprehensive policy on the use of restraints at Dozier, as well as 
implementing other recommendations made in the report, Baldwin added.

The policy on restraints should include a ban on hogtying. When it is necessary to restrain an unruly 
youngster, humane methods ought to be used.

Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington based National Prison Project is planning 
to file a lawsuit against HRS, challenging many questionable practices in Florida's juvenile prisons as cruel 
and unusual. Lawyers with San Francisco's Youth Law Center and Southern Legal Counsel Inc. of 
Gainesville also are participating in the suit.

All Floridians ought to be angry at state officials who allow practices so barbaric at juvenile prisons that a 
suit is necessary.