| Crime |

State Officials Cited Lack of Emergency Training at Palm Beach Juvie Jail Where Teen Died

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Some staffers at a West Palm Beach juvenile jail where a teenager died this month were not trained to know the facility's safety, security, and emergency plans, according to a state quality assurance report written in February. Meanwhile, "management accountability" at the jail was given a "minimal" rating by state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) officials -- one step above a failing grade.

Despite these shortcomings, the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center won an overall grade of "acceptable" five months before Eric Perez,18, died in custody there. Two jail employees have been fired and four others have been suspended in the wake of Perez's death.

Perez woke early in the morning on July 10, "dazed and frantic," according to the Palm Beach Post. He vomited on the floor but was given a soft drink and allowed to go back to sleep. Instead of calling 911, a jail supervisor called a nurse to help Perez, but the nurse didn't return the call.

In the February review by state officials, the jail was commended for having a registered nurse on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On July 10, Perez slipped in and out of sickness and sleep for six hours before a jail supervisor discovered that the teenager barely had a pulse. Only then did the supervisor call 911. By the time paramedics arrived around 8 a.m., Perez was dead. Authorities from DJJ are still investigating the incident.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.