Dozier getting a facelift
New programs, new name — few layoffs
By Ashley McKeen
Published: May 23, 2010
Dozier School for Boys and the Jackson Juvenile Offender Correctional Center will no longer be a bit different after
July 1 of this year.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice — the state agency that oversees the programs — has big plans for the
facility, including a name change. The redesign is contingent upon legislative approval, however.
Recently, rumors have been making their way around the county about a possible downsize at Dozier, with lay-offs
However, the correct word to describe the plans for Dozier and JJOCC is “redesign,” according to Darryl Olson, DJJ’
s assistant secretary of Residential Services.
“DJJ is planning a redesign of the two separate programs. This restructure has been apart of DJJ’s strategic plan to
make our programs smaller and more community-oriented,” Olson said in an interview Friday. “Research shows that
these are the programs that are more successful and effective.
“In this economy, we all need to consolidate and economize. To do that we plan to bring the two separate programs
into one, consolidating our contracted services and reducing our maximum risk program.”
For example, currently there are two contracted food service providers. Following the restructuring, both programs
will share a food service. Olson says this will save DJJ nearly $190,000 a year.
In an effort to move toward a smaller, more community-oriented program, DJJ plans to make a 48-bed reduction this
July. The 199 bed program will be cut to 151 beds, with only JJOCC taking the hit.
JJOCC will go from 96 to 48 beds this summer, with the sex offender program being deleted.
According to Olson, the 32 youth currently enrolled in the sex offender program at JJOCC will be dispersed to other
programs with vacancies around the state.
“Most will be going to the facilities at Cypress Creek in the Ocala area, or the Okeechobee facility. Both have sex
offender programs with vacancies,” Olson said.
However, the high-risk program, Dozier, will see no bed reductions. In fact, DJJ has plans to add a program for the
developmentally delayed and “medically complex” youth, making the new facility one-of-a-kind.
“The new restructure of the facility will make our program very unique,” Superintendent Michael Cantrell said
Friday. “I think this is crucial for us. With both of the separate programs being underpopulated, it left us with targets
for closure on our backs.
“The redesign of our two programs will make us more viable and solidify us, which will assure our presence here for
many years to come.”
Plans for incorporating the two new programs are already under way, Olson said.
The proposed 15-bed program to accommodate youth with developmental disabilities will call for an on-site
“These youth require attention of a more behavioral approach, and so we will need staff that can accommodate for
that,” Olson said. “In creating this program, we are creating a capacity that currently does not exist in any of our
other high-risk programs in the state.”
Another addition is the program for the “medically complex” youth.
“This program will be able to accommodate for youth with more serious medical issues,” Olson said. “We will go
from having a nursing staff on site full time, to having the nursing staff on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
After reducing the beds at the other programs program and adding new programs to Dozier, DJJ also plans to
change the facility’s name.
No longer will the high-risk program be called Dozier, and the maximum-risk one Jackson Juvenile Offender
Correctional Center. As of July 1, the facility will be known as the North Florida Youth Development Center.
According to Olson, the other two names will be dropped.
Olson said that while the name change was in part due to the negative image surrounding the facility, the main
reason for the change was due to the restructuring.
“We wouldn’t change the name of the facility without changing the program. To go along with the redesign of a
whole new program, we needed a new name,” Olson said.
Olson explained there will be some associated staff reductions for certain areas. However, the staff members
affected will have opportunities for other positions within DJJ.
In the worst case scenario, those employees may need to be transferred to another program in the state where
their position is available, Olson said.
“The goal is to have no lay-offs in this revamp of the two programs,” Olson said. “We have plans to find vacant
positions for those staff members who will be affected by the restructure of the facility.”
Cantrell said 64 titled positions between the two programs are being eliminated. However, some of those are
currently vacant and most others are temporary positions. Of the 64, only 27 JJOCC staff members will actually be
“Although the number looks bad, it really isn’t,” Cantrell said. “Because almost all of those 27 positions will be
absorbed on the Dozier side. There are, however, a few positions, such as in food service, which may be hard to
Olson agreed, saying that not everyone would be accommodated at the redesigned facility, but will be kept within
the Department of Juvenile Justice.
DJJ as a whole is facing 93 job cuts all the way up to the headquarters, according to Olson.