Why Aren’t we Giving Children a Voice in Prisons?

"Prisoners Growing Sagebrush" by Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington licensed under CC BY 2.0
Prisoners Growing Sagebrush” by Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington licensed under CC BY 2.0

Source: Quartz

America is ‘the largest jailer of children in the world,’ according to the AEC Foundation, hundreds of youth are being verbally, physically, and sexually abused in juvenile jails every day.

Abusiveness and violence against youth is ‘not uncommon,’ according to one report on incarcerated youth in America.

It is common practice for jail staff to use intimidation tactics to keep youth from reporting incidents of abuse and neglect. Cases of abuse and violence, heavy use of restraint and isolation, lack of training and support by staff, inadequate suicide prevention, and hundreds of deaths by neglect are all too common and not frequently addressed as part of the U.S. mass incarceration issue. Instead, these issues are pushed aside, and children are denied opportunities to improve through rehabilitation facilities.

In one Florida youth jail, the Department of Justice found that inmates were being abused and at least 100 boys had died from fires, drowning, trauma, disease and injury while trying to escape.

Child Advocate is conducting investigations on jails across America to understand the issues that are widespread, and in hopes of urging reform in the criminal justice system.

Advocates of developing alternative methods to youth jails argue that too much money is spent on creating “over-reliance on youth imprisonment,” and urge that not enough is spent on rehabilitation and community alternatives.

In one year, California spent $250 million of government grants for prison upgrades on acquiring 3,500 youth prison beds for youths, instead of community programs to help keep children out of jail.

Read full story at: Quartz

Children & Families, Justice & Poverty, News
Children & Families, Justice & Poverty, News