Juvenile justice reform advocates were able to claim a partial victory after a Tennessee judge ruled that a 16-year-old can’t be kept in an adult prison while she waits for trial on murder charges — but they stressed that the real struggle for her humane treatment has only just begun.
Around four months ago, Benjamin Knuckles’ 16-year-old son tried to escape from the Dermott Juvenile Treatment Center. As punishment, he was driven up the road to the Dermott Juvenile Correctional Facility, a nearby facility for 18-21-year-olds, and placed alone in a single-cell unit. He remained confined there for more than 24 hours.
When I first came home from serving a very long prison sentence, my greatest concern was how deeply that dreary place affected me mentally. Of course, I thought I was normal, but I was uncertain because of...
In April, a 15-year-old boy housed at the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center spent the entire day alone in a small cell. Michael (the names of juveniles in this story have been changed to protect their anonymity) was put in a hold by a guard and taken out of his classroom at the facility's school. As he repeatedly said, "I am not resisting" and "no aggression" — a phrase used at AJATC to indicate compliance — Michael was brought across campus to Building 19.
My young parents didn’t have the skill sets to properly raise me, which at a young age caused me to search for acceptance in other places. I began running away at the age of 13 and quickly got heavily involved in drug use.
“You never know how sacred your freedom is until it’s jeopardized.”
That’s the driving sentiment behind “Crown Heights,” a new film that tells a tale of friendship and perseverance in the face of a miscarriage of justice.
Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch published a new report titled “Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States.”
The publication involved interviews with more than 125 juveniles in 19 states, alongside detention officials in 10 states. The authors of the report argue that solitary confinement harms young people mentally and physically, with juveniles frequently denied access to medical, rehabilitative and psychological treatments and services while in confinement. Furthermore, the report alleges that in jails and prisons across the United States, young people are routinely subjected to extensive stays in solitary confinement -- in some cases, for weeks and even months at a time. “Solitary confinement of adolescents is unnecessary,” the report reads. “There are alternative ways to address the problems -- whether disciplinary, administrative, protective or medical -- which officials typically cite as justifications for solitary confinement.”
The authors of the report state that approximately one third of the young people they interviewed reported being held in solitary confinement for one to six months before turning 18.