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19 unmarked graves found at Florida reformatory

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by dixiehack, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Even by the standards of early-mid 20th century Florida, this seems inconceivable. The state had already accounted for 31 known gravesites, 29 of them kids. Now archeologists from USF have found more - and they haven't even reached the "white" side of the prison yet.


    Dozier (presumably) had stopped stashing bodies on the down low by the time I got to town as sports editor in 2000, but it still had an awful reputation for mistreating kids. But now there are stories coming out about rapes, lashings, escapees being shot and kids in peonage rented out to local farms. Kids. And this was America's largest reformatory at one point. When the state couldn't provide enough true delinquents, they started sentencing orphans and truants there.

    I don't know if this will catch much notice nationally, but this has potential to be explosive. Corrections is theindustry that keeps Jackson County going. Two large state prisons, a work camp, a federal prison (which is next door to the Dixie Youth complex in Marianna and provided inmate labor every summer to get the fields ready for the state tournament); plus the state insane hospital just across the river in Chattahoochee, which has a unit for prisoners. There are generations of families that work in prisons, and I suspect most of them will be hostile to having more secrets discovered.
  2. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    This would make for an incredible HBO drama, a Florida reformatory in the 1930s.
  3. doctorx

    doctorx Member

    When I was a kid in Florida, some parents used to threaten to have kids "sent to Marianna." Not mine, but the message was clear that it was a scary place for "bad boys."
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    As a kid, I always remember when HBO would televise "The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains", about Robert Elliott Burns, who escaped twice from the Georgia chain gang system in the '20s and 30s, wrote a book about it, and had an early 30s movie made about it.
  5. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Somehow I missed this 2009 series from St. Pete until last night. The two main stories detail abuse from the worst years, and part two modern-era abuses.


    I had nightmares last night. And I'm sure it sounds stupid, but I feel guilt now that I never knew any of this, much less did something. In sports, I never had a reason to come in contact with Dozier, and I lived across the state line. But if I could have somehow learned and written something or compelled someone else to do so, it would have come a decade before it closed. How many kids got the shit beat out of them or had their (already-damaged) lives completely destroyed in that decade? It makes no sense, but it is tearing me up.
  6. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Mine used the threat as well.
  7. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    I think every state had "that" place. In Tennessee it was Pikeville, aka Taft Youth Home. In terms of rural isolation, it makes Marianna look like Ybor City, but we never heard about anything like this.
  8. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    More cheery news on SJ. We need a "good news" thread. Only half facetious.

    I try very hard to believe in the innate goodness of people but sometimes it's impossible.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

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