Apr 1, 2021 - News
Former Dozier School wards lobby Florida lawmakers for claims bill
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.
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."
ā€” 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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