Thursday, May 17, 2007

A sad turn of events

While Christopher Sholly has tried to fight to regain a will to live he nearly lost that fight last night. His mother stayed awake through the night, walking the hospital halls, wondering if her son would live or die. Today, he has shown some improvements and there is hope he will survive.

But when his sister asked if he might do this again, try to take his life, he said he wasn't sure. This child was abused, severely, in the Florida Juvenile Justice System. He was locked into their system for 5 years - his crime? A school-yard fight. This was a special-needs child who needed help, not harsh punishment. He needed guidance not pain and fear. He lived for 5 years in a constant state of fear.

DJJ has yet to accept responsibility for their actions and continues to send children into these abusive programs.

We saw Martin Lee Anderson beaten by eight guards while a nurse stood idly by, doing nothing to protect this child. He did not resist. They beat him and shoved amonia capsules up his nose until he died. The reason justice was somewhat served in this case? It was caught on video and released to the public. His crime? Borrowing his grandmother's car. Since when is a child sentenced to death for borrowing their grandmother's car? And how many other children have been beaten on their first day in DJJ programs that we have not seen on video? It is doubtful Martin Lee Anderson was the only child this ever happened to. And what about the children who witnessed this murder? How much help have they received? How many of them received the type of treatment Martin received?

Just recently another child - Justin Caldwell - was abused at Dozier School for Boys, a DJJ facility. His abuse was caught on video. Several employees were fired.

It is quite obvious the DJJ system is in need of reform.

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