As I watched the life seep out of William Van Poyck last week for the 1987 murder of prison guard Fred Griffis, I couldn’t help but think about how the state of Florida was complicit in the death of both men.
Van Poyck and his accomplice, Frank Valdes, both spent part of their youths confined in the Florida Reform School for Boys in Okeechobee. Its more infamous counterpart near Tallahassee, renamed the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys — after its longtime superintendent — was closed in 2011 after a federal investigation found unspeakable abuse of the boys who were sent there, some for such minor crimes as truancy.
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Jane Musgrave covers the courts for The Palm Beach Post.