The Justice Department released a landmark ruling on Thursday to help protect juvenile offenders from falling victim to sexual abuse in adult prisons. The ruling marks the first-ever federal effort aimed at setting standards to protect inmates, both juvenile and adult, in correctional facilities on the local, state and federal level. “The standards we establish today reflect the fact that sexual assault crimes committed within our correctional facilities can have devastating consequences – for individual victims and for communities far beyond our jails and prisons,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a DOJ release. The standard also restricts the placement of juveniles in adult facilities, aiming to protect youth from sexual abuse by limiting contact between youth and adults behind bars through four specific requirements:
Prohibiting the placement of youth in the general adult prison population
Eliminating contact between adults and youth in common areas,
Ensuring youth are under constant supervision
And limiting the use of isolation for juveniles. States that will be most affected by the new regulations are the 13 states that end juvenile court jurisdiction before the age of 18.