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Fight

Club

A Miami Herald investigation into Florida's Juvenile Justice System

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In Florida’s juvenile justice system, staffers sometimes employ harsh takedowns, ignore abuse and offer snacks as bribes for beatdowns — known as “honey-bunning.”
One youth called his compound a “fight club,” where youth officers arranged bouts. Here an officer officiates a fight that left the loser with a broken jaw.
Rashad Ables, 17, is beaten in a closet (top-right) during a fight set up by staff. The man sitting at the table in a white shirt is an officer. …
… Rashad ended up with a broken nose and smashed eye socket. He wept when his mother visited him in the hospital.“He just kept saying he did not want to go back there,” she said.
In this scene, a staff member yells “youth support!” — a cue for detainees to drag their peer into a room and beat him. The staffer watches from the door.
Before a detainee entered this classroom, a worker announced: “You all need to beat his ass.” One youth then turns a camera away in preparation …
… As the detainee makes his entrance with a bag of cookies, the staffer cuts the lights and classmates pounce. A different camera catches the assault.
The staff-induced mayhem has fostered a culture of pervasive violence. Here a detainee sucker punches a peer. …
… The teen is then brutalized. In the free-for-all, one youth is bitten in the arm.
An officer attacks Andrew Ostrovsky, 14, after he tells Andrew to fight another boy. …
Ostrovsky broken nose
… During the assault, a blow broke his nose in two places. The officer resigned but was not charged.
Elord Revolte, 17, is mauled by a dozen detainees at the Miami-Dade lockup. Two youths said the attack was instigated by an officer. One of them said treats were used as incentive. …
Elord Revolte
… Elord died the next day. No one was charged — in part because the cameras were so substandard.
Spurred by the death of Elord, the Miami Herald undertook an exhaustive investigation into Florida’s juvenile justice system.
Journalists found a troubled system beset by lax hiring standards, low pay, sexual misconduct and beatings bought for the price of a pastry.