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Justin Caldwell

On February 11, 2007, Justin Caldwell was accused of attacking Alvin Speights, a guard at Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. For that, Justin was tried, convicted and sent to prison. It was a lie.

Here are the links to newly released surveillance videos the public probably has not seen and possibly not even viewed by the Grand Jury that exonerated the guard who attacked Justin. The date is February 11, 2007. The images begin at 17:48 or 5:48 PM.

17:48:12 Dozier ISP Front Bunks – Scroll to 17:52:50. Watch the calmness of the scene. Suddenly, at 17:53:17, without warning or apparent provocation, a guard appears to hit Justin below the chin and throw him backward to the floor.

17:50:17 Dozier ISP Common Room (Facing South) – Scroll to 17:53:17. There is another glimpse of the violence in the guard’s seemingly unprovoked attack on Justin.

17:54:30 Dozier ISP Common Room (Facing North) – At 17:54:30, Justin is walked to the back corner of the Common Room where he is seen to collapse and is then dragged from the corner.

DJJ's Office of Inspector General investigated Justin's allegations that Speights used excessive force and that another Residential Officer, Kenneth Gilbert, failed to report it. According to the IG's report, "Speights was terminated on April 17, 2007." The report goes on to say that , when notified of his pending termination, Gilbert resigned effective May 17, 2007.

Now, read the tale of what happened next:


11/27/07 Teen Sentenced for Battering Guard. Kate McCardell. Jackson County Floridan


11/08/07 "It's like history repeating itself." Isabelle Zehnder. Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA)


11/07/07 Jury finds Caldwell guilty of battery in Dozier officer. Kate McCardell. Jackson County Floridan


04/17/07 Justin Caldwell abused at Dozier School for Boys: The Truth. WebWire.com.


04/14/07 DJJ fires 2 after choke hold. Stephanie Garry. Miami Herald.


04/14/07 Head of school for juveniles loses job. Stephen D. Price. Tallahassee Democrat.


03/12/07 Justin Caldwell,18, locked into the Florida Juvenile Justice System since he was 13. Isabelle Zehnder. Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA)


11/08/07 "It's like history repeating itself"
Email from Isabelle Zehnder, Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse, to Kate McCardell, Jackson County Floridan.

Hi Kate,

Mark wanted me to e-mail you and let you know the bad news. Justin was found guilty and charged with a 4th degree felony charge. His sentencing is November 17th. I am shocked at this verdict, though I know I shouldn't be.
[Click here to read McCardell's article of 11/07/07.]

Mark was really disturbed that witnesses for Justin were brought in shackles.

If you'd like you can share with your readers that CAICA has just released their Report of findings of abuse, neglect, and deaths in the DJJ system and that the report can be found at www.caica.org . I'll send you a link as soon as I have it on the site (should be within the next hour). The report is going to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for their review. They will be putting out their report of findings of abuse in residential treatment programs. I figured they needed to know what is going on in Florida DJJ.

You can quote me on this next paragraph, if you want (Isabelle Zehnder, Founder and President of the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA).

"It's like history repeating itself. Christopher Sholly and Justin Caldwell both spent their adolescence behind chain-linked fences and when they were nearing 18 they were both accused of battering a staff member. And now they've both been charged with a felony, something that will follow them their entire lives. They've both suffered from broken noses, broken arms, mental abuse, and head injuries. The Florida DJJ system has a long-standing history of abuse, neglect, and deaths in their programs. A 2004 article was published that showed how they juggled kids around and how they kept them in the system for long, extended periods of time. They did it then, they do it now. Once DJJ has custody of the kids it's up to them how long and where these kids will stay. And nothing's changed. Another thing Justin and Christopher share in common - they're suing the state and they share an attorney. Strangely enough these two have never met."

My fear is that what happened to Christopher Sholly could happen to Justin. "He was beaten and fear for his life on a near-daily basis," his mother said.

DJJ claims they are there to help kids but I don't see how what they've done to these boys, and others, will better their lives in any way. This entire thing, in my opinion, is a true injustice and only further convinces me this is a broken system. You can quote me on that if you want.


-- Isabelle Zehnder Tel: (360) 723-5253 Cell: (360) 903-3951 Fax: (484) 991-1828 E-mail: izehnder@comcast.net 

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03/12/07 Justin Caldwell,18, has been locked into the Florida Juvenile Justice System since he was 13

Note from J4K: The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is investigating the Caldwell allegations. The complaint was assigned Case #200701298, per 2/26/07 email message from Eleese Davis, DJJ Director of Office of Program Accountability.

This message was received from the Isabelle Zehnder, Founder and President, Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA) Isabelle Zehnder  Fax: (484) 991-1828

March 12, 2007

To our readers:

Justin Caldwell, an 18-year old boy who has been locked into the Florida Juvenile Justice System since he was 13 years old - as his father said, he has spent 5 birthdays there. Justin's father has informed us that Justin is suffering severe mental and physical abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to be there to care for him. The abuse is occurring at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. The duration of the treatment program was intended to last 12-15 months - this child has been incarcerated for 5 years.

His father, Mark Caldwell, believes they continue to stall his release because keeping him there brings money to the program. He is reaching out for help from his state congressmen. CAICA is reaching out for help from its readers. If you have information or contacts that you feel would help the Caldwells, please e-mail me immediately at info@caica.org .

Below are Mr. Caldwell's e-mails describing what is happening to his son and is reaching out for help.

To Senator Frederica S. Wilson: I am sending you this email because I need your help, my son Justin Caldwell is a good person and does not deserve this treatment!

My name is Mark Caldwell, I am the father of Justin Caldwell who is being mentally and physically abused at Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna Florida.

He was originally incarcerated at the Elaine Gordon Treatment Facility for Boys, in Broward County Florida for a treatment program lasting for 12 to 15 months this was at the age of 13 [ 2002 ] after approx. one year and an arm broken by a staff member he was transferred to Dozier where he is still incarcerated.

While at Dozier he has had his face smashed into a door by Mr. Miller a staff member who also threatened to kill him twice. My son has been " Choked Out " which means choked from behind until he looses consciousness so many times he does not remember. He has witnessed the abuse of other juveniles as well, and approx 3 weeks ago he had his head banged repeatedly on a concrete floor on 2 different occasions the 2nd of which he had to go to Jackson county hospital for a Cat Scan because he lost consciousness.

The first incident happened in the dinning hall when Justin brushed by a staff member named Mr. Wooten who became irritated and took Justin to the floor put his hands around Justin's neck choked him and began banging Justin's head on the floor, because it happened in the dinning hall there are many witnesses, and a staff member Mr. Spears later told Justin that Mr. Wooten used excessive force.

The 2nd incident occurred in ISP when a staff member by the name of Alvin Spates asked Justin to stand up, then said are you going to sit down Caldwell, to which Justin replied you just asked me to stand up sir, the staff then grabbed Justin by the throat and kicked Justin's feet out from under him, taking Justin to the floor with his hands around Justin's neck, him being Albert the staff member began banging Justin's head on the concrete floor, staff member then got off of Justin, when Justin stood up he said he felt dizzy and fell into another staff members arms He then remembers waking up in the middle of the floor and he heard a staff member ask Alvin Spates if he was scared this is when staff was called to take Justin to the hospital.

There are many things that happen like this at Dozier frequently, and there are witnesses and there is also a staff member named L. T. that witnessed an incident and the falsifying of reports and she has been fired. There are too many incidents of abuse to write about you need to talk to Justin Caldwell and the other youth at Dozier. My son and the other youth at Dozier are supposed to receive help and this is abuse instead, and it is criminal to treat our children this way! Please help my son!

Mark Caldwell
Email : caldwell7233@gulftel.com
Phone : 251-947-9477
The Abuse Of My Son at Authur G. Dozier School For Boy's

Dear Governor Crist,

My name is Mark Caldwell, I am the father of Justin Caldwell, and on Mon, 19 Feb.2007 I received an email from your office stating that you were forwarding the email I sent you regarding the abuse of my son by employees of the State of Florida, to the people who are employed by the same Department of Juvenile Justice for attention or investigation.

They are not going to bite the hand that feeds them Sir, and I have already discovered that it is not being fairly investigated, so this needs to be investigated by an outside party or some person who is honest, I am not settling for this, I am not happy with this, and I will not stop until the abusive people are not employed at Dozier any longer. My son just turned 18 Feb 5th 2007 he has spent his last 5 Birthdays incarcerated.

I am asking for your help one more time, give these people lie detector tests, and not administered by the DJJ, then we will know, so far the right thing is not being done, they sent an investigator who is telling my son the staff reacted in the right way,{ BY SLAMMING MY SONS HEAD INTO A CONCRETE FLOOR }, I DO NOT THINK SO, there are witnesses, if the staff has not had time to buy them all, {dip}, smokeless tobacco, and, or, all of the other illegal items that are passed around in Dozier by staff to offenders! Attached is a copy of how the Department of Juvenile Justice functions in your state, the original email I sent you, and I do not think you, Sir, would want these people to be in the care of your child or children, and this is only a fraction of what is going on there!!!!!

"Our nation has made this commitment: Anyone who targets a child for harm will be a primary target of law enforcement. That's our commitment. Anyone who takes the life or innocence of a child will be punished to the full extent of the law." President George W. Bush, October 23, 2002

"We cannot, and we will not, tolerate those who seek to abuse or exploit our children." Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, April 20, 2006

Dear Mr. Crist,

My son is currently in Arthur G. Dozier School for Boy's he has been incarcerated since he was 13 year's old, he is now 18 years old, my son is being abused as are other's, by staff member's at Dozier, they are falsifying report's and have gotten by with it until now, because I am getting involved, this is an attempt to get your help on this matter, before I seek it elsewhere.

There needs to be an investigation, there are many witnesses. The latest abuse of my son included his head being repeatedly banged on a concrete floor 2 time's in 1 week, the 2nd time he lost consciousness and was taken to Jackson County hospital in Marianna Fl. and received a cat scan. There are witnesses to both incidents, of course the staff say he banged his own head on the floor, but ask where the tape is from ISP the night of the second incident, 10 to 1 they do not have it.

There are too many incident's to list, and a lot of false report's, again, this is an attempt to get your support on this dangerous matter, and I will prove it with or without your support, because I will go on up, however, I would rather have your help, I want help!

My only child in this World is in Dozier being abused by the one's who are paid to help him. He should have already been home but staff member's keep antagonizing him into more time, and nothing else better happen to him,{my son} or I will not stop until Dozier is shut down. I hope you find this to be a serious matter Sir, and thank you for your time! My son's name is Justin Caldwell and my name is Mark Caldwell, sincerely the same!

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Together, we can and do make a difference!

Let us make a difference in the life of this child!


Isabelle Zehnder
Founder and President
Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA)
Fax: (484) 991-1828

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