Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Louis de la Parte

Louis de la Parte: A Crusading Champion For Florida's Forgotten

Back in the days when the mentally ill were shuttered away in institutions and troubled children faced cruel conditions in jails and reform schools, one lawmaker stood alone as the champion for reform. His name was Louis de la Parte, and what he saw in Florida's mental hospitals, prisons and juvenile reform schools enraged him so much that he dedicated his leadership to reforming the system. Twenty years later, de la Parte called for the reformation of HRS because of its ballooning inefficiencies. He would make unannounced visits to state institutions, then present fellow legislators with irrefutable testimony that spurred sweeping reforms. When the director of the state's reform school for boys in Marianna was fired for whipping children, then reinstated by a powerful politician, de la Parte drove to the school and found the blood-splattered shed where the abuse had occurred. Tampa Bay Online - Oct 2, 2008