No Place for a Child depicts the issue in Florida in which there are more children sent to adult prisons more than any other state in the United States. Children as young as 12 years old are constantly being sentenced for years into these institutions without even having their case before a jury. This advocacy group continues to try to reform the age in which a child is considered an adult, roles of judges, and making it mandatory that children are kept in juvenile facilities while doing their given sentencing.
Bill Number(s): SB 936/ HB 509
Type of Reform
Direct File Reform- Ends mandatory direct file, raises the age of direct file to 16, requires data collection, and a fitness hearing.
Year: Introduced 2017
SPLC Suit: Florida Teen Raped, Beaten in Prison Initiation Ritual
A minor at the Sumter Correctional Institution in Florida was brutally beaten and raped as part of a prison initiation ritual that was ignored by a guard, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Florida Institutional Legal Services Project of Florida Legal Services.
Stories from the Field: SPLC Works to End Violence in Florida Youth Prisons
As I combed through the incident reports involving youthful offenders at Florida prisons, the horror stories emerged. On page after page, the words repeated:
I am fearful for my life.
Please place me in protective custody.
I have just been TOH’d.
These were the words of youths imprisoned at Lancaster Correctional Institution in Central Florida.
No Place for A Child: Direct File of Juveniles Comes at a High Cost; Time to Fix Statutes
This Policy Brief (2016) by the James Madison Institute explores the devastating consequences of the practice of direct filing in Florida. As highlighted by the authors, Florida has the highest number of adult transfers reported of any state. The document explains how direct file is a racially and geographically biased practice that increases crime and reduces public safety, as transferring kids to adult court makes them much more likely to recidivate. The brief urges the state of Florida to end the detrimental practice of direct filing and transfer to adult court, and instead to focus on rehabilitating kids, which the juvenile justice is supposed to be about.
Branded for Life
Branded for Life (2014), provided by the organization the Human Rights Watch raises the important concern about the direct file processing Florida’s courts using when trying a youth. This report also details the harm that results from the state’s practice of giving prosecutors full discretion to decide which child to transport into adult courts.