Troubles at the Department of Juvenile Justice

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE) - In a video from a Jacksonville detention center, an officer can be seen beating a 17-year-old with a flashlight. The youth was allegedly for asking for water.

The officer was hired despite being on probation for a battery.

In another video, an officer is seen reportedly refereeing a fight between two teens.

Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christy Daly was already scheduled to appear at a budget meeting Wednesday when she was asked about the investigation.

Daly said, “I will not deny, or discredit, or downplay some of the horrible incidents that have happened. We respond appropriately to those. We hold people accountable.”

Senator Jeff Clemons says the problem is the state turned over its police powers to private companies.

Clemons said, "[There's] a lack of accountability, the inability to make sure we are doing it correctly. And here, we’re talking about kids.”

Senator Jeff Brandes said, “I want to speak to her [Secretary Daly] on the record in front of the committee asking difficult questions, specifically about hiring practices.”

Governor Rick Scott has already asked for a ten percent pay hike for Juvenile Justice workers.

The legislature is asking DJJ to voluntarily allow lawmakers to make surprise visits to juvenile centers. It’s not specifically allowed under current law, but is likely to become law this coming session.