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Former wards of the state who call themselves the White House Boys release yellow balloons in memory of boys who died at the state-run reform school. Photo: Ben Montgomery

A group of men who spent time in the 1950s and '60s as prisoners at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna lobbied state lawmakers on Wednesday for restitution they say they deserve for the torture they endured in state custody.

Details: The men, who call themselves White House Boys, called on the state to pay up after decades of sexual and physical abuse claims at the state-run reformatory, open from 1900 to 2011.

  • A bill approved in January by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee would allow the former Dozier inmates to receive state certification that they were victims of physical, mental or sexual abuse.

The Legislature formally apologized for abuse at the facilities in 2017 and claims bills are pending in the House and Senate.

"They told us they're trying to get this thing moving forward, but hope is just a hard word to say. It's just gone on so long that it's wearing us down."
Jim Abigando, 80, who was confined at the facility in the 1950s

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

2 hours ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight people, including two children, have been killed in Israel, Reuters reported, citing Israeli authorities.

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