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Kenneth Dudding, a former police detective in Washington, is considered a whistle-blower who unearthed coverups, tampering and chaos within the commitment center. Photo by Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald

A REVIEW
FINDINGS OF A COVERUP

In both cases, Dudding went back to review security tapes and read reports of the incidents but found that they had been erased or tampered with.

"During these investigations, staff immediately began covering up what happened -- destroying tapes, altering reports. I was being hampered," Dudding said.

He said that when he complained, he was told that he was being too aggressive.

Fed up after just two months on the job, Dudding blew the whistle on the facility in May 2004. Investigators from the DCF's Office of Inspector General spent the next four months picking the facility apart. Records show that the investigators corroborated nearly every problem outlined by Dudding: widespread use of alcohol and drugs, sex among offenders and staff.

There were also instances of tampering of with security tapes and incident reports and a general lack of control, the inspector general's report stated.

Additionally, the investigation reported that marijuana arrived in care packages, with some stashes stuffed in peanut butter jars. Cocaine was found in one room, but was flushed down a toilet by a staff member. No one was ever charged.

But when DCF investigator Summers and her boss issued their report in September 2004, little changed at the facility at first.

"When my supervisor and I sent up our preliminary reports, we were surprised about the minimal attention it got," Summers said.

She said they pushed harder to help persuade the DCF to conduct the raid in February, after offenders refused to comply with orders from the state fire marshal.

"Part of the problem is that DCF is not equipped to handle a facility that is responsible for violent criminals," she said.

MORE MONEY
PROGRAM ‘NOT DESIGNED TO WORK'

The Legislature provided an additional $2.6 million for new additional staff following after the February raid, and the DCF says it contracted with the Florida Department of Corrections in October to monitor safety and security at the center.

But even with the additional money and oversight, problems persist. Donnelly was killed four months after the increase, while Delgado repeatedly stabbed another man with a metal shank in December.

"The program doesn't work because it's not designed to work," said Dean Cauley, a former clinician at the center.

"This was a harebrained idea and an expensive idea that really wasn't thought out very well, and now we are seeing the result of it."

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Kenneth Dudding - Audio
Kenneth Dudding
CBS4 video
Center raid
 

   
   
   


Introduction MiamiHerald.com