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  • mcprison mcprison Jul 20, 2001 12:30 PM Flag

    sex offenders complain, 1

    Miami Daily Business Review

    June 21, 2001

    SECTION: COURTS2; Vol. 76; No. 9; Pg. page: A15

    LENGTH: 908 words

    HEADLINE: Sex offender inmates allege cruel, unusual punishment at state prison

    BYLINE: by Steve Ellman

    BODY:
    The Florida Department of Children and Families faces a flurry of habeas corpus lawsuits by violent sex
    offenders detained under the Jimmy Ryce Act alleging they have been mistreated at the privately run
    South Bay Correctional Facility in western Palm Beach County.

    Inmates at the prison, which is operated by Palm Beach Gardens-based Wackenhut Corrections
    Corp., allege that the state has failed to institute administrative rules for the facility, leaving Wackenhut
    personnel free to administer "cruel and unusual punishment, without due process of law."

    The claims arose in 10 separate petitions for writs of habeas corpus filed by the inmates in Palm Beach
    Circuit Court on May 30.

    The prisoners' allegations center on two incidents at the facility in January. In the first, the prisoners claim
    in their petitions that Wackenhut guards, led by a shift captain, assaulted a group of three prisoners
    who refused to be relocated within the facility without a due process hearing. In the second, the
    prisoners allege that prison officials subjected a wing of almost 40 inmates to a full day of solitary
    confinement in retaliation for a fight between two prisoners that the inmates themselves quelled.

    The petitions are the latest sign of problems in the state's implementation of the 1998 Jimmy Ryce Act.
    That law allows for the civil commitment of violent sex offenders to locked treatment facilities after
    they've served out their prison sentences. But the law fails to spell out rules for confinement of offenders
    between their release from prison and their commitment hearings. As a result, 130 Jimmy Ryce
    detainees at the South Bay Correctional Facility who haven't yet been formally committed are sitting
    behind bars in penal limbo.

 
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