Riot at Florida State Hospital

By: Marise Estime
By: Marise Estime

It happened last night in a mental ward for criminals who've been deemed incompetent to stand trial.

Employees say it's not a matter of if someone will get killed; it's a matter of when.

Sunday night, seven patients jumped on a pair of employees, resulting in one of them losing three teeth.

Some 20 law enforcement officers, including some from the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, were on hand to quell the fight. They're calling the incident gang related.

Melanie Etters, a spokeswoman for APD, said, "Over the past several years we've noticed the people that are coming into the program tend to be more violent than what we are used to see in the past, so we're reaching out to Gadsden County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Corrections to learn better ways to manage our customers.”

David English, Supervisor of MRDP, said, "We're going to be moving some of those fellows around and pay attention to those fellows around, and pay attention to clothes they wear. What's happened in the past is not gang on gang; it's residents on staff. "

Jamie Strickland is a former correctional officer recuperating from a knee injury he suffered on the job at the Mentally Retarded Defendant Program in Chattahoochee. Strickland says the MRDP has become a war zone with workers as prime targets.

Jamie Strickland said, “There is no repercussion for their actions. They can tear the TV off the wall, tear a brand new computer, strike other residents. It's only 15 minutes and when they come out of seclusion they'll tell you, ‘get your a game on; we're fixing to do this again.’"

The facility houses residents who've committed serious crimes, but are deemed incompetent to stand trial.

Sheriff Morris Young said, "You’re talking about residents who have major criminal charges, such as homicide and rape, and really need to be looked at and looked into."

Employees say the agency needs to put more measures in place to protect them...

Jamie Strickland says several weeks ago he and three others were injured during an incident at the hospital. Strickland says after coming back on light duty he was terminated without cause.


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