“The kids aren’t all right”
In this timely and insightful piece in The Hill on March 11 by the CA’s Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, Director of the Juvenile Justice Project, and Sarah Bryer, Director of the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN), the authors lay out a cogent and fact-based case for why there needs to be significant change in our youth justice system.
Citing data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, and the Department of Justice, Horowitz-Prisco and Bryer use the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court Roper v. Simmons decision outlawing the execution of anyone under 18 as an opportunity to remind us that youth remain significantly at a higher risk of physical, mental and sexual abuse when they are placed in locked facilities instead of safe, community-based alternatives with the critical support services youth need to be successful.
In an excerpt from the article, Horowitz-Prisco and Bryer state: “… our youth justice system still subjects children and teens to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse on an appallingly regular basis. When parents send their children off to school, they can expect a call if their children are hurt, sick, or misbehaving. Nothing of the sort happens when the state takes physical custody of children and teens. In February 2010, when Michael McIntosh tried to visit his son in Mississippi’s Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, officials told him that they couldn’t find his son. Six weeks later, he located his son in an area hospital, beaten so badly in a riot at the facility that he couldn’t see and was suffering from brain damage. Nor was this an isolated incident. A lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center and investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice of Walnut Grove (a facility run by a private contractor) revealed a pattern of youth beaten by staff, encouraged to fight, regularly victimized sexually by staff and peers, and more.”
( Sept. 9. 2018,The Guardian) Inmates within America’s overflowing prisons are marking the end of a 19-day national prison strike on Sunday with a new push to regain the vote for up to 6 million Americans who have been stripped of their democratic rights.Read More
Staten Islanders had the opportunity Thursday night to briefly experience one of the hardest parts of our nation’s penal system. A group of advocates brought a makeshift solitary cell to the South Shore YMCA in Eltingville to show people the level of isolation inmates can face. The model was constructed by Doug Van Zandt, of [...]Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More
Prison Monitoring Reports
Attica Correctional Facility, a 2,000-bed maximum security prison in western New York, continues to operate as a symbolic and real epicenter of state violence and abuse of incarcerated persons in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) state prison system 43 years after the 1971 prison uprising and violent suppression by state authorities. The [...]Read More