- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Employees of Brevard County’s Juvenile Detention Center have been disciplined following the death of a 14-year-old inmate.

The Miami Herald (https://hrld.us/1dEDrM5 ) reported on Sunday that five staff members received reprimands and suspensions earlier this month and one was fired.

Andre Sheffield, was found dead in his cell on Feb. 19 after repeatedly complaining of a headache, stomach pains and other issues.

The center’s registered nurse, who has since been fired, gave the boy a Tylenol. He died hours later of bacterial meningitis.

A recently completed investigative report by state officials found that employees at the center failed to ensure the boy’s safety and lacked training in sick-call procedures. The report blamed the center’s superintendent for not making sure her employees followed agency rules.

“We’ve got to hold staff accountable at the very highest level,” DJJ Secretary Christy Daly told the newspaper. “That goes all the way up to the superintendent of the facility. The leadership of the facility sets the tone.”

“We’ve got to have that compassion across the board,” Daly said.

Registered nurse Karen Rainford was fired by the state on Feb. 27 after she refused to be interviewed by investigators. According to the50-page report, she failed to follow medical protocol for abdominal pain.

The center’s superintendent, Vicki Alves, was suspended for five days for “poor performance” and “negligence.” Her deputy received a written reprimand for poor performance. Three guards who were faulted for ignoring sick-call procedure or failing to seek medical care for a sick detainee were given written reprimands, as well.

Berlena Sheffield, the boy’s grandmother is struggling to accept the death of the boy she raised.

“He smiled all the time,” she said. “I try not to think about it much. But when I think about lately, I have to go into my own space.”

The boy was sent to the detention center after running away from a youth corrections program. He entered the corrections program after breaking into a neighbor’s home.


Information from: The Miami Herald, https://www.herald.com

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