DCF CHIEF THREATENED WITH JAIL by Roxanne Escobales

11/22/06

Yesterday a Pinellas-Pasco Circuit judge charged the head of the Florida Department of Children and Families, or D-C-F, with contempt. That could lead to jail time for D-C-F secretary Lucy Hadi.

ACT: If they had done their job we wouldn’t be in this position.

Pinellas-Pasco public defender Bob Dillinger.

ACT:

The DCF has 15 days to find a place in a state hospital for someone deemed by a judge to be not guilty due to insanity or incompetence. Now the number of mentally ill inmates have been waiting more than the 15 days for a bed totals 222. The D-C-F says it had no way of being prepared for that number.

ACT:

D-C-F spokesman Al Zimmerman

ACT:

But public defender Bob Dillinger says the problem has persisted for over a decade.

ACT:

But the D-C-F counters that the 53 million dollars in question were federal and state funds that could only legally be used for other purposes and had to be given back. But according to spokesman Al Zimmerman, the agency found eleventh hour funds for beds.

ACT:

The D-C-F hopes to find dozens of beds over the next few months, but most likely won’t be enough. In Pinellas county, where the jail is overcrowded, public defender Bob Dillinger called the circuit court judge Crockett Farnell’s move to charge D-C-F head Lucy Hadi courageous. Dillinger says he hopes it spurs the state agency into fulfilling its duty of care.

ACT:

Department of Families and Children secretary Lucy Hadi’s arraignment on the seven charges of indirect criminal contempt is scheduled for December 14th.

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