Nine months before a federal lawsuit alleging physical and sexual abuse was filed against a juvenile detention center in Pembroke Pines, the facility held a morale-boosting event designed to "keep the peace."
The January event was organized by Thompson Academy administrator Craig Ferguson. Youth Services International, the for-profit company that's contracted by the state to run the center, posted an article about the festivities on its website:
"The Keep the Peace Initiative is a movement initiated by Dr. Craig Ferguson to positively impact the culture of the Thompson Academy facility. The goal of the movement is to reduce the number of physical restraints, reportable incidents and improve employee morale at the 154 bed Thompson facility."
Now, if everything is hunky-dory at the facility, as favorable state quality assurance reports suggest, why would Thompson need to improve morale and cut down on "physical restraints"?
Ferguson has not responded to New Times' requests for an interview. But his employer's online description of the Keep the Peace rally has a determinedly rosy tone.
"The event on January 8 began with an inspiring and soul-stirring rap by one of the youth, and was followed by pep talks and various presentations by the youth at Thompson," it says. "Staff volunteered to cook for the event and enjoyed an array of food such as: ribs, fish, crab legs, chicken, shrimp, hamburgers, hot dogs and much more. When asked about the event, one staff commented, 'Man I just feel good!'"