Florida Senate - 2010                              (NP)    SB 48
       By Senator Joyner
       18-00126-10                                             201048__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the victims who were abused
    3         while confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys
    4         located in Marianna and Okeechobee; providing for an
    5         appropriation to compensate them for injuries and
    6         damages sustained as result of the abuses perpetrated
    7         by the personnel of the reform schools; providing a
    8         limitation on the payment of fees and costs; providing
    9         an effective date.
   11         WHEREAS, during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, certain minors
   12  were sent to the Florida School for Boys located in Marianna and
   13  Okeechobee, Florida, and
   14         WHEREAS, some of the boys who were sent to those reform
   15  schools were physically and psychologically abused by the
   16  personnel operating the reform schools in Marianna and
   17  Okeechobee, which included beatings while the boys were forced
   18  to lie face down on a blood-stained cot and being struck
   19  repeatedly with a leather razor strap, and
   20         WHEREAS, at the reform school in Marianna these beatings
   21  were inflicted in a building known as the “White House,” and
   22         WHEREAS, the boys were segregated at the reform schools
   23  into white and black areas; however, both races were subjected
   24  to beatings in the “White House,” and
   25         WHEREAS, some boys as young as 10 years of age were
   26  severely beaten, requiring that pieces of their cotton underwear
   27  be extracted from the boys’ flesh, and
   28         WHEREAS, other victims needed medical treatment and were
   29  left with permanent scars, and
   30         WHEREAS, the personnel of the reform schools who
   31  perpetrated such beatings would make monetary bets on which of
   32  them could draw blood first from the boys, and
   33         WHEREAS, some of the boys were sexually assaulted by the
   34  reform schools’ personnel, and
   35         WHEREAS, after being beaten, some boys were placed in
   36  solitary confinement for as many as 30 days in an approximately
   37  8-feet-by-8-feet cell having no lights or windows, containing
   38  only a bunk with a mattress and no sheets, and a bucket to be
   39  used as a toilet, which was known as the “hole,” and
   40         WHEREAS, similar abuses occurred at the reform schools
   41  located in Marianna and Okeechobee and were considered a
   42  standard, accepted practice and procedure for administering
   43  discipline at the schools, and
   44         WHEREAS, the victims have suffered and continue to suffer
   45  physical and emotional injuries, and
   46         WHEREAS, certain victims have filed a lawsuit in the
   47  Pinellas County Circuit Court seeking class-action status,
   48  claiming wrongful incarceration, and seeking redress for the
   49  abuse and mistreatment they suffered while confined to the
   50  Florida School for Boys in Marianna and Okeechobee, and
   51         WHEREAS, those victims who have filed the class-action
   52  lawsuit are willing to have the court action stayed while the
   53  Legislature considers the relief requested in this act, and
   54         WHEREAS, favorable consideration of the relief requested in
   55  this act would spare the state a significant amount of time and
   56  resources, NOW, THEREFORE,
   58  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   60         Section 1. The sum of $      is appropriated from the
   61  General Revenue Fund to the Department of Juvenile Justice for
   62  the relief of the victims who were abused while confined to the
   63  Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and Okeechobee and
   64  sustained injuries and damages as a result of such abuses
   65  perpetrated by the personnel of the reform schools.
   66         Section 2. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
   67  a warrant in favor of the victims who were abused while confined
   68  to the Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and Okeechobee
   69  in the sum of $      upon funds in the State Treasury, and the
   70  Chief Financial Officer is directed to pay the same out of such
   71  funds in the State Treasury.
   72         Section 3. The Legislature may not be deemed by this act to
   73  have waived any defense of sovereign immunity or to have
   74  increased the limits of liability on behalf of the state or any
   75  person or entity subject to the provisions of s. 768.28, Florida
   76  Statutes, or any other law.
   77         Section 4. The amount awarded under this act is intended to
   78  provide the sole compensation for all present and future claims
   79  arising out of the factual situation described in this act which
   80  resulted in injuries to the victims who were abused while
   81  confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and
   82  Okeechobee. The total amount paid for attorney’s fees, lobbying
   83  fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to this claim
   84  may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this act.
   85         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.