Cabinet poised to approve Dozier land transfer

dozier school for boys

The Florida Cabinet will be asked to approve the transfer of approximately 360 acres of land to Jackson County during its final meeting on Tuesday.

The land includes and surrounds parcels of the now-shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.  

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement closed Dozier in 2011 after confirming reports of abuse.

The reform school was the subject of a three-year-long forensic investigation conducted by the University of South Florida, which discovered nearly 100 boys died between 1900 and 1973.

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law last year a bill that set aside $1.2 million to build two memorials to commemorate the deaths at Dozier. The House and Senate also passed resolutions to apologize to the living victims who attended the school.

“The legislation requires a deed restriction to memorialize and maintain the structure known as the ‘White House’ on the South campus with a 50-foot buffer, excluding existing roadways surrounding the structure, and the Boot Hill Cemetery with a 100-foot buffer surrounding the cemetery,” reads a Cabinet staff analysis of the law.

The legislation primed the land transfer to be voted on by Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Tuesday. Cabinet staff recommends approval of the conveyance.

Jackson County said it will accept the properties, which include the North Campus, South Campus and Boot Hill Cemetery Property of the closed reform school.

In a resolution, the county also requested an additional 919 acres be transferred. A Department of Environmental Protection analysis determined the land “is no longer being used by the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Education for the purposes for which it was leased.”

Other nearby land has been obtained with grant assistance from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rural Infrastructure Fund and Job Growth Grant Fund.

“When combined, the industrial site and Dozier Property will encompass almost 2,000 acres with a focus on growing and recruiting logistics operations and light manufacturing,” reads the staff analysis.

The latest grant funding will also support an “Autism Transition” training center expected to funnel graduates into the nearby workforce.

The Cabinet will meet Friday via phone before Tuesday’s meeting.

Danny McAuliffe

Danny is a contributor at He is a graduate of Fordham Law School and Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. Reach him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Johnny Conrad

    November 30, 2018 at 11:38 am

    How???? Can you give away A. GRAVE YARD??? SCOTT??? Don’t think it’s LEGAL!!!!!! Jackson co ????? This SMELLs of another FLORIDA COVER UP!!!!!!!! WHB. !! We know what’s on that land!!!!!!!!!!!!DEAD BOYS!!!!!!

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