Funding, Oversight Next Questions for Florida’s Private Youth Prison System []


By the end of the summer, Florida will have cut all ties with youth prison contractor Youth Services International, a company that’s been plagued byallegations of abuse and substandard conditions for decades.

Over the years, state after state abandoned their contracts with YSI until the for-profit company was operating only in Florida. But earlier this year, state officials said the company would end all contracts with YSI as the result of a lawsuit.

As new companies take over the contracts, the change raises the question of whether advocates and lawmakers who have fought hard against YSI will continue to examine the use of private, for-profit contractors in juvenile justice.

In Florida, a mix of for-profit and nonprofit companies run all the state’s 57 long-term juvenile facilities.

The issue isn’t likely to drop off the radar screen entirely. YSI’s problems drew attention from lawmakers, the press and the public — and that’s a good thing, said Deborrah Brodsky, director of theProject on Accountable Justice, a criminal justice think tank based at Florida State University.

[For more of this story, written by Sarah Barr, go to]

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