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Speaking To Lawmaking Panel, DJJ Head Responds To Miami Herald's 'Fight Club' Probe

Florida Channel

The head of Florida’s juvenile justice system says a Miami Herald investigation detailing abuses within detention facilities does not tell the full story.

Backed up by video evidence and testimony from young juvenile offenders, a Miami Herald investigation paints a picture of physical and sexual abuse by detention officers and staffers as well as horror stories of “fight clubs” featuring juveniles.

In a recent statement, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christy Daly said the investigative series “failed to recognize the transformation of the juvenile justice system in recent years.” And, she made similar remarks to a panel of lawmakers Wednesday.

“I will not deny or discredit or downplay some of the horrible incidents that have happened. We respond appropriately to those,” said Daly to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice. “We hold people accountable. If we need to change policies and procedures, we do so. But, it is not representative of this system.”

Florida lawmakers are expected to soon hold a committee hearing on Miami Herald’s investigation into DJJ.

Listen here to the audio version of the investigative series by member station WLRN.

Stay tuned to Friday's Capital Report for more on this story. Click here for that story.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.