07/28/05 Paul Napier, Okaloosa Regional JDC, comments on Books in Rooms at all JDC's...
To: Smith, Robert
Sir, We have never had any type of problems with allowing the youth to keep no more than 3 soft cover books in their rooms at night. I do not recall any incidents where a youth used the books to jam locks or flood a toilet. They usually use their clothes to flood a toilet. The youth enjoy having something to read during the times locked in their rooms. It also gives the youth something to do besides pacing back and forth or banging on the door. I recommend leaving our policy on books in the youth rooms as is. Please let me know what you think on the subject.
07/22/05 Perry Turner replies to Cathy Corry: Books in Rooms at all JDC's [13,299 books read?]
06/21/05 Letter from Perry Turner RE: Books in Rooms at all JDC's
As you are aware the Department is committed to the Literacy of our youth and supports the Governor's Just Read initiative. Please be advised that all detention policies, including the policy related to items allowed in youths' sleeping rooms are currently being reviewed by our policy review committee. Revised polices will be reviewed approved and redistributed.
Perry S. Turner Assistant
Secretary Detention Services
When will youth in all of our JDC's be given the opportunity to read a book while confined in their rooms? I realize that books are permitted in common areas and the classroom, but reading is such a wholesome activity during lockdown times and prior to sleeping, or when unable to sleep!
According to information supplied by Catherine Arnold one year ago, children in Central Florida JDC's are treated differently than the children in North and South Florida JDC's. Most Central Florida detained youth are not permitted to read in their sleeping rooms, but most North and South Florida detained youth are permitted to read in their sleeping rooms.
Why the difference in how these children are treated?
Three months ago, when I was in Tallahassee for Juvenile Justice Day, I delivered approximately 1000 petition signatures to Lucy Mohs - signatures in support of children reading in their rooms at JDC's. She handed the signature pages over to Perry Turner. Perry Turner responded to me and described all of the good things that DJJ does to support reading, but did not explain the disparity in the different regions.
When will all detained youth be permitted to read in their sleeping rooms?
Cathy Corry - www.justice4kids.org
06/16/05 Governor Bush, I support 'Just Read, Florida!' and would like to see Anthony Schembri fully support this initiative for all of DJJ. Cathy Corry - www.justice4kids.org
St. Petersburg Times Letters to the Editor Published June 16, 2005
Let them read Re: Gritty and pink, June 8, and Books off limits in youths' cells, Aug. 21, 2001.
Anthony Schembri has some peculiar ideas that are also incredibly bold. His "Baker-Miller Pink" room may indeed calm some youths and perhaps some of the detention officers, too!
More important, as secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Schembri is courageous enough to admit that "I have officers assaulting juveniles."
Gov. Jeb Bush has given Schembri "elbow room" for some of his odd tactics, but Schembri could use some basic common sense when it comes to problem-solving. Try allowing youths in juvenile detention centers to read books in their rooms and it's a sure bet that he'd have fewer out-of-control young people, and hence, less physical confrontations by staff.
Schembri should fully support Jeb Bush's "Just Read, Florida!" initiative: Let these children read! No "elbow room" is needed for this idea.
-- Cathy Corry, president, JUSTICE4KIDS.ORG INC., Clearwater
Thank you for your reply about the books in the rooms at JDC's. Your explanation is similar to Catherine Arnold's from one year ago. OUCH!!
I understand the repeat rhetoric, but I still do not understand why children in Central Florida are treated differently than the children in North or South Florida. Meaning, most Central Florida detained youth are not permitted to read in their sleeping rooms, but most North and South Florida detained youth are permitted to read in their sleeping rooms. Why the difference in how these children are treated?
Regarding your following statement: 'From December 1, 2004 through February 28, 2005 . . . youth in detention centers read 13,299 books.' How was the #13,299 calculated? How was it determined that a child actually read a book?
Would you consider allowing books in sleeping rooms at Pasco JDC? Eddie Roberts certainly seems to be the quality and caliber of person who could successfully implement this change at his detention center.
Lucy, what do you think?
The Department of Juvenile Justice understands the importance of literacy...
Dear Ms. Corry:
The Department of Juvenile Justice understands the importance of literacy and education and its impact on juvenile delinquency. Detention Services is supportive of, and very active in, the Governor's Just Read initiative. Each detention center has established a library that is available for youth to utilize during free time. From December 1, 2004 through February 28, 2005, Detention Services conducted 31 book drives, resulting in 8,149 books being donated for use in detention centers. During this time, youth in detention centers read 13,299 books.
Youth are encouraged to check out books, and depending upon the center, youth may have appropriate reading material in their sleeping room. Youth spend very little time in their rooms unless they are sleeping, and are provided the opportunity to read in the dayroom and classroom areas. Community volunteers provide many activities designed to encourage youth to read.
The Department, in conjunction with local schools, and other community partners, has implemented activities to encourage youth to read. The Department will continue to work with the community to provide reading opportunities for youth in detention centers with the goal of improving the literacy rate of our youth.
Perry S. Turner