Tag Archives: juvenile

Vera Institute’s Sentencing & Corrections Headlines

AL – Alabama Last State to Segregate HIV-Positive Inmates

CA – California Prisons Sterilized 148 Women Without Approval, Report Says

CA – California Is Facing More Woes in Prisons

MA – Teens in Prison (editorial)

OK – Who Will Solve Jail, Prison Overcrowding Problem? (editorial)

 US – The Horrible Psychology of Solitary Confinement

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GA: Department of Juvenile Justice investigates sexual misconduct caseload

From the article: “At a meeting of the state board at the Macon Youth Development Center, officials said they have called in the GBI and the state’s Department of Corrections to help close at least 20 investigations of either sexual abuse or sexual harassment involving incarcerated youths, said Jim Shuler, the department’s communications director.”

The department has anonymous tip boxes established on housing units, as well as an anonymous tip line.  Read more here.

In Ohio, Governor Kasich formed a task force following the release of the BJS report.  The task force came up with the following recommendations for immediate action:

·         Continue the Climate Assessor initiative at each DYS facility

·         Develop effective communication methods among facility youth and staff, Central Office staff and Task Force members

·         Implement random security checks to serve as a deterrent for misconduct

·         Establish a monitoring system for supervisors who view live cameras to enhance safety and security for youth and staff

·         Develop an integrated reporting protocol to improve mandatory reporting and coordination of investigations between DYS and other state agencies

·         Enhance reporting mechanisms for both youth and staff

·         Review 2012 Activity Management System (AMS) reports to ensure that information is accurately entered

·         Develop a plan to conduct cultural assessments at all DYS facilities

·         Work with Bureau of Justice Statistics to receive a detailed summary of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) survey information pertaining to DYS facilities

·         Review, analyze and summarize historical information and reports to better understand the context of data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics

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NY: Sex abuse stats skewed by law

I had been seriously wondering about why NY had looked so good in the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ recent report on sexual victimization in juvenile facilities.  And now, the truth comes out.

From the article: “It’s a meaningless statistic because state officials, citing privacy, hindered federal officials trying to survey youths raped in prisons here.”

Shame on you, NY. 

Read more here.

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GA: 20 DJJ investigators suspended after sex survey

From the article: “The Department of Juvenile Justice suspended with pay 19 investigators and the former head of DJJ’s office of investigations after it was discovered that little if anything had been done with 20 open cases into allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct between juveniles and staff.”

Georgia’s taking the BJS report seriously.

Read more here.

[Note: Edited on 6/17/13 (see below comments)]

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OH: Sex-assault report leads state to check youth prisons

More on the reaction of Ohio to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report that found that Ohio was one of top four states in the nation for sexual victimization in its juvenile prisons.  Read the article here.

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Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Detention Facilities

The Bureau of Justice Statistics just released a report on sexual victimization in juvenile detention facilities.  The report can be accessed here.  Ohio, my state, reportedly ranks in the top four states in the nation for reported sexual victimization.  We in Ohio have been reeling from this report.  The Governor called for an interagency task force that has begun operating.   The Ohio Department of Youth Services put out this statement (excerpt):

The safety of our youth is our top priority, and Governor Kasich has called for an interagency task force, which met yesterday and today to begin analyzing the report to make sure we have the strongest possible safeguards in place at our facilities. The anonymous survey approach used by BJS differs from the incident-based approach that states use, and the new information is important to us to make sure we are doing everything possible to protect our youth.

We are taking immediate action including assigning a Climate Assessor to reach out to staff and youth at Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility beginning this weekend. The Climate Assessor will reach out to youth and staff and observe the institutional culture in order to report back to the task force, which will meet again on Monday. Over the next two weeks, additional Climate Assessors will be in place at all four DYS facilities.

I am incredibly shocked.  DYS just ended most of a massive piece of litigation that resulted in a greater amount of oversight and external monitor presence in the four youth facilities than possibly any other system in the nation has.  The Ohio Public Defender has an office in one of the facilities and staff regularly communicate with the youth.  Youth have access to a “Legal Assistance Program” provided by an external law firm.  The large team of court monitors that are part of the consent decree have been regularly going through the facilities on site visits.  The state’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee has had an active presence in the facilities.  I can’t recall the specific staff-to-youth ratio in DYS, but it’s something like 4:1.  Each pod of around 20 or less youth generally has two to three staff assigned to it.  It is just unimaginable to me that sexual victimization could be regularly occurring amongst the youth (in one youth facility, 30% of youth reported victimization) and that no one would hear about this.  And yet the BJS methodology is reportedly extremely sound.  So I am just flabbergasted about this and wondering what more needs to be done to prevent sexual victimization in Ohio’s facilities.

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Australia: Doubling of indigenous in prisons alarms leaders

From the article: “Aboriginal leaders have warned of a crisis in the justice system with an explosion in the black prison population, a spike in the number of juveniles being detained and continuing high numbers of deaths in custody.”

Read more here.
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OH: Use of force rates up in youth prisons

From the article: “Use of force against juvenile prisoners increased from 3.74 incidents per youth in 2009 to 4.69 incidents per youth in 2012, according to a Correctional Institution Inspection Committee brief released Wednesday. Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility had the highest rate of use of force with 7.31 incidents per youth, according to the brief.”

Read more here.

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Saudi Arabia: Special setting for juveniles at Dar Al-Mulahada

Assuming that this isn’t just government propaganda but legitimate news, Saudi Arabia appears actually advanced in its treatment of juveniles in correctional settings.  When the juvenile enters the correctional system, he is isolated from the others and provided a team of experts to assist him with the transition.  He is required to continue to go to school and that there is ongoing psychological care.  Especially surprising is that the article states that the juvenile only stays at the facility for two to twelve months, depending on his crime, which presumably includes murder.

I realize I’m about to betray my cultural ignorance and biases here, but I really did think that justice on that side of the world was a little more strict.  Maybe that’s just for the women.

Read the article here.

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