We have published our response to a report by jurors in Florida on the performance of the Highlands Youth Academy in the state
Highlands Youth Academy assessment
The facility in Avon Park, Florida is for young men aged 16-19 and is part of the state’s juvenile justice system.Responding to the jurors’ report, the Department for Juvenile Justice in Florida, which oversees G4S’s management of the facility, said:
“The Department of Juvenile Justice works to ensure that all youth in our care, our employees and Florida communities are kept safe. Juvenile arrests in Florida are at the lowest level in 30 years with a 36 per cent decline over the last five years.
“In order to promote our mission of safety, the Department has taken various steps over the last two years since the Avon Park Youth Academy disturbance took place:
- DJJ has installed surveillance cameras throughout the facility;
- We have decreased the program’s size from 144 beds to 80;
- Increased staff to youth ratio to 1 to 3 during daytime hours;
- The agency has allocated almost $2 million in facility improvements including dormitory renovations and roof replacement.
“DJJ continues to closely monitor this program, and all of our programs, to ensure that our high standards of accountability and transparency are met in all we do.”
A spokesman for G4S disputed the jury's findings and pointed to a detailed response from the company. He said:
"We dispute the premise and findings of this report which contains multiple inaccuracies and misconceptions."