The lawsuit was settled in January of this year, in an agreement that remains under seal. But in his petitions in Broward Circuit Court, Weekes says the youth camp remains a threat to the health and safety of children who are ordered to live there.
In his suit, Weekes said lawyers for the detained youth have sought help from state juvenile justice administrators for several years, and have “exhausted all available administrative remedies to halt any further abuse” at the prison.
“The department must act immediately,” Weekes wrote. “The department must act decisively and in the best interest of Florida’s youth.”
Among the petitions’ claims:
• Food is in such short supply — and of such poor quality — at Thompson that it has become “a form of currency” used by detainees. Detainees place bets on camp activities using food, sometimes leading to fights and disturbances.
• Despite the ban on cash at such facilities, guards allow detainees access to money, and a “large sum of cash” was discovered in a dormitory last March.
• Violence is rampant. Nearly every youth has fought at one time or another at Thompson, with some youths being repeatedly victimized, with one boy having fought at least seven times. “Several youth do not feel safe within the program,” a petition says.
• Youths who “inflict physical abuse” on others are rewarded with “bounties,” including food rewards.
• Some guards not only smoke marijuana openly, but make the illegal drug available to detained youth, even youngsters who are ordered into the camp in order to be treated for narcotics abuse.