The Department of Justice is threatening a federal takeover of New York state’s juvenile detention centers after a scathing investigation found children got little schooling, some had broken bones from routine beatings, and young people with mental illness or drug addiction were held with violent offenders.
To avert a takeover, Governor David Paterson has introduced legislation to fix the problems. As the New York Times reports, the plan would stop judges from sending children to state juvenile prisons unless they are guilty of a violent crime or sex crime, or they are a serious threat to the community. The bill would also create an independent office to monitor and investigate problems. The GovMonitor reports the independent investigators would report directly to the Governor and the Legislature.
The New York juvenile prison system currently houses 700 young people in 26 facilities.