Alabama juvenile detention reformer Denny Abbott to speak at Troy University

Posted: Friday, 07 February 2014

TROY - Denny Abbott, the former juvenile probation officer who exposed the mistreatment of black children in the Alabama court system, will deliver lectures at Troy University's Montgomery, Troy and Dothan campuses Feb.19-20.

Abbott, a Montgomery native who served as the city's Chief Probation Officer of the Family and Juvenile Court, filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Alabama in 1969 over the severe mistreatment of black children at a state institution. He won that case, leading to dramatically improved conditions for children. In 1972, he filed a second federal lawsuit against the state for placing black dependent children in an institution for delinquent children. He also won that suit, and changed the system for dependent children.

Abbott will discuss his experiences and his recently published book, "They Had No Voice: My Fight for Alabama's Forgotten Children," during a series of lectures that are free and open to the public. The lectures are sponsored by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Abbott will speak at the Montgomery Campus inside the Rosa Parks Museum auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Troy Campus inside 105 Patterson Hall on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 2:30 p.m.; and at the Dothan Campus inside the Sony Hall Auditorium on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

Joining Abbott during the Montgomery event will be four former residents of the juvenile detention center that Abbott sued to see reformed.

Abbott currently resides in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he served as regional director for six juvenile detention centers from West Palm Beach through the Orlando area. He also served as the National Director of the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, and worked with John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" for eight years.

He has been an adjunct professor at two community colleges and four universities, including Troy University's Montgomery Campus. He has appeared on "Sixty Minutes", "The Today Show," and "CBS Evening News," and has been quoted by the New York Times, Newsweek, Time magazine and other major newspapers nationwide. He has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. Congress on two occasions.

For more information about the lectures, contact Rachel Hooper at the Troy University library at 334-670-3269 or