I am sending this message in regards to the efforts that are being conducted to investigate the abuse of residents at The Dozier School For Boy. I thank you for putting the abuses public and for helping in shutting down that hell! I am going to tell you some stuff that occured there well after you left, around the 2008-09 years. I never was abused there nor was I ever treated with disrespect by officials other than one, who thought I was a goody two shoe brat, who would allow for other residents to insult and threaten me. I have seen abuse, leniency in punishment, and disregard for the health of the residents. Here is my story.
I entered the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in May of 2008. I will not disclose why I was sent to the program. I was greeted by some people who I would call friends. I spent all of 2008 there and most of 2009. During my time there, I encountered many scenes. I always saw medical treatment being refused to residents such as one who had a terrible stomach virus, and the doctor had called it superficial. However there was nothing superficial about it. He was literally puking by nights end! It took that to say he was going to get help. He would be in the infirmary for at least a month. Also, they had allowed a youth with MRSA stay with other residents upon reception, despite telling the intake staff he had it. It took them 2 days to finally get the youth to some kind of isolation, being that MRSA can be a deadly infection. I have also seen sick calls be ignored or thrown in the trash by staff when other youths were not looking. AND MOST OF THE IGNORINGS CAME FROM THE TOP SARGEANTS!
Complaints were also ignored as well. We had a greivance box in each cottage to keep morale in the cottages. We would be at lunch usually when the greivances were "picked up". Some of the youths had certain complaints that would not be honored, especially if the person they complained about was the seargeant that was picking up the grievances, which has been a conflict of interest to me in years. I have seen only FEW grievances honored and sent to the top admins. However, alot would make it to the first tier in understandable circumstances, but I also believe intimidation has played a role in not making it to the next level. Sometimes, when residents made a threat to the staff that they would submit a grievance, they would either cuss them out or try to take force. Which leads me to the next one.
Abuse. I have seen it left and right. I have seen it in the cottages, outside, in the gym, in the nurse station...almost everywhere. on campus. I have seen restraints go as far as taking a youth's foot and making it touch the top of their head! I have seen violent takedowns there which resulted in blood being drawn. I have also remembered at least two individuals who have told me they had their arms broke from being taken down. One youth had his collarbone popped out after he broke it playing basketball. The surgery never happened until he was transferred to a program in Daytona Beach. I also remember one staff member challenging a youth. Sure the youth was non-compliant, but what happened next should not have happened. They went to an area in the back of the cottage, which we called the sheet locker. NO cameras were in there. And safety was never fully guarunteed. The staff member challenged the youth to fight him in the sheet locker. They went in there and they did. They fought and the staff member went on to beat the shit out of him. It was not cool. The staff would insult openly homosexual youth and call them faggots and staff would also curse alot and just be very insulting in their language. Faggot, queer, and other homophobic words would be used. I also remember one of the teaching staff there would use it as well.
At the lockup facility known as JJOCC, I remember seeing some staff members brag about how they made youth shit their jumpsuits when they would take them down. I also remember seeing some maneuvers being used that would be considered illegal in the PAR handbook. One was when they used excessive force on a youth who was very underweight and was being non compliant, but not in a threatening way. He was attacked and locked up in restraints.
Mr. Kiser, the abuses you talk about in the 50's and 60's still happened up to the closing of that hellhole. Please consider taking my story seriously and also possibly share this with others, including the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement and The Department of Justice as well as the Department of Juvenile Justice. I have more information to share, but it is just too much to write. I am probably one of the VERY few people from the recent Dozier era to come out like this. I have names, positions and other information to share as well. I am also thinking of starting The Dozier Boys, similar to The White House Boys, in coming out about abuse that had occured there since the DJJ's incorporation there in 1994 under the HRS merger. I am looking forward to your response and hope to stay in close contact.
I awoke one morning, feeling great. Probably one of the few good weeks I had at the campus. I spent 1 year and 1 month at the retched facility, just watching drama unfold from all angles practically every other week. But today, in spite of this good day, something was just not right. I saw my hands. They were beginning to peel, like as if my hand was dipped in some eroding acid and just started peeling.
As soon as the days and the weeks went on, I addressed it to my JJRO, Cpl. Spears. He said that there really wouldn't be anything they could do about it. He was wrong, because my hands had done this in the past and I had recieved treatment for it. I said the same thing to him, but still was adament that the medical staff could not do anything about it. I shared it with the second shift JJRO, Cpl. Martin, and he would think it was a joke. "Stop jackin' that dick, Futch." or "Stop playin' with yourself." But Martin would soon realize it was no laughing matter. At the time he made those comments, I joked with him about it as well, but I did not realize the pain tha was to come.
About two months after realizing my hands were peeling, they began to crack under the harsh Florida cold. A Nor'easter had just blown through and it had just about ashened most of our skins up. One night, around 2 or 3am, I awoke to a terrible pain in my hand. I noticed my hands were really bad. I balled my fist in anger, but I could not believe what I saw on my hand as soon as I unballed. Blood. Bright red blood. It came from one of my fingers and was just bleeding. I asked the JJRO for the night shift for a band-aid, and he promptly got me one.
The next day, with Cpl. Spears and Harvey, I addressed the issue of my hand. I was still told NO! after showing them the condition of my hands. Thew were blistered and in pain. I was thinking, to avoid a write up, "How the fuck can they be so fucking stupid? Can't they see that I am in pain, hurting and being ignored?" I was pissed, and it brought me to tears when I could find a moment alone, which was rare. But my relief came soon....or so I thought.
"Let me see your hands," Cpl. Martin asked when I brought the matter to attention. I opened both hands, and even demonstrated that when I balled my fists up, blood would come out. He was very alarmed, not even a joke anymore. He knew something was definitely wrong. He called Sgt. Speights, a former JJRO at R&O Cottage. He came down with Mr. Baxter, a JJRO from Reality Cottage, a strong man with an Army background. I demonstrated to Sgt. Speights. I cannot forget the look on his face when he saw this. He was very disturbed that this was not brought up before. I was sent to the infirmary, and a nurse was present. She concluded that I had severe hand dryness, but being she was a nurse, she could not make a clear diagnosis. I would have to wait until Dr. Arunakel came back in the morning.
Dr. Nikorn Arunakel. I would not call him a doctor. He was more or less someone I could never understand. No one at the school could really understand a word he said. He was Asian, most likely someone who had been in the U.S. no more than 20 years because of his accent, which was VERY heavy. He also had a track record of not diagnosing patients appropriately, meaning he gave bullshit diagnosis to save the state money. When I came, we had two doctors, the other one being Dr. Williams, but he would leave about 2 months after coming to Dozier. I showed Dr. Arunakel the hands the next morning during the Dr. Visit. You know what he recommended me? VICKS VAPOR RUB! Really??? But in the end, despite the doctor's order, the nurse had common sense. She instead gave me baby oil. It did no better, but it had eased the pain. But the baby oil would become a problem for me, because other youth would harrass me for it so they could use it for self enjoyment. I went back and addressed the oil wasn't doing no good. Finally after almost 4 months, a solution...a legitimate solution was reached to perscribe the same ointment I used back home. About a month later, my hands were back to normal, however I was not allowed to touch cleaning materials again, despite the fact that they were not the reason.
This story goes to show the mistreatment and carelessness the Dozier Medical staff were, as well as some of the JJROs. To this day, had they contacted my previous physician (whom they had on record), they would have known what to get me should that happen. But oh well...stupid people.
AGDSB Resident (May, 2008- July, 2009)
PS: I can also possibly get more individuals to discuss this as well, for I do keep close with other residents.