Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Juveniles certified as adults often held in solitary confinement

I'm late to the game on this one so I'll leave the description of this latest report (pdf) by Michele Deitch and her LBJ School collaborators to Solitary Watch, which discusses the report at some length:
A new report produced by researchers at the University of Texas’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs describes conditions faced by children who are “certified” for transfer to adult criminal justice system. Many of these juveniles are housed in adult jails in Texas while they await trial. The report finds that the majority of youth placed in adult jails are housed in solitary confinement, most with just one hour of out-of-cell time per day. While they are placed in isolation for their own protection, they live in conditions that mirror punitive segregation, and often remain there for months or even years.
 See the press release announcing the report and related coverage:


Anonymous said...

Another way to put the problem could be: Do we want a 15/16 yr old juvenile charged with a VERY serious offense hanging out with 10/11/12/13/14 yr old juveniles? I understand the issue. However, let's not forget where the juvenile would be if they were not in the jail.

Help FREE Bryce said...

What I see are more articles on the same subjects, year after year. The real difference and change that I see are in who writes the articles... And some of these Juveniles who wern't out in jail, would be home where they belong. Not all are guilty or culpable for what they have been convicted of.

Anonymous said...

The irony here is that if these violent offenders were sent to TYC and held in a BMP or AMP program, that agency would have been grilled and criticized to no end. But when they go in the adult system, all is well and normal? What gives? Same offenders. Same age. Same crimes. Two different placements.

TominAustin said...

I see no problem with this situation. The perps involved are the scum of the worst who have, in many cases, committed the worst crimes - no better or worse than the worst adult offender, and deserve the same treatment of anyone in similar situation. Age is no factor when a 15 yr old kills their own parents and laughs about it. Only a small %age of underage perps make it to lockup, the rest are parolled or set loose otherwise, because of their age and for the system to look good in the shower.

D.A. Confidential said...

Thanks for the reference, Grits. It's an interesting issue and as I say in my post, the thing that struck me being involved in that case was how in a perfect world we'd have a certification process every time. In other words, the rather arbitrary "16 you're a kid, 17 you're an adult" line is necessary (or some line is necessary) but the process in place for serious crimes really does seem to evaluate the individual pretty thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

When is an adult really an adult? You are not allowed to drink till age 21. "Legal" Certain laws classify an adult at age 18, below 18 is considered a child.
According to the statement by D.A. Confidential arbitrarily at 16 you’re a child and 17 you’re considered an adult.
By law in general the legal age to work is 16, but in some instances 14 & 15 can work in certain environments, the legal age to have sex in 31 states is 16, Texas is age 17 and yes some states have the age to consent to sex at 18. The legal age to vote and join our military is 18, 17 with parents consent and the legal age to drink alcohol is 21. My point is this, apparently there are people that have the capabilities to determine what an individual’s judgment for certain behaviors and actions are appropriate at certain ages, but in reality generations after generations the behaviors indicated above are done at a much earlier age. I would venture to say that most people who are in there 40’s and 50’s look back at their lives and tell themselves I did some really stupid, careless, dangerous things that they should or could have been incarcerated for when they were younger even while in their 20's and 30's. Our jails and prison are filled with young people who have made bad choices and some deserve the punishment given but age appropriateness is relative to whoever deems it so to make a point. When you incarcerate a "child" (by Texas law a child is a person under age 18) in an adult penal institution what benefit does that serve society once that individual is released? What values, work skills, social skills, and interaction skills have you now released into society? Those are the questions you should consider when imposing such punishment. The consequences ultimately fall to the general public, because now you have to an individual that will possibly make someone a victim, destroy property, etc. and taxpayer dollars, your dollars, have to pay for trials and future incarcerations.

Anonymous said...

It is a mess is it not. And you would think the fine folks we send down there would clean up some of these age issues. Parents are responsible for the actions of thier kid until age 18. The kid is criminally responsible at age 17. Add 17 year old runaways to the mix and it is that much more screwed up. If that is not enough throw in that CPS doesnt have any real interest in a kid over the age 14.

Now those are all the ages that most of these systems are built around. And if you choose to figure in some of the things we seem to now know about the mind, females are mentally more mature than males at an earlier age. 17 year old male is no more mature than a 19-21 year old male. Do you raise the age of accountabiility?

With all these variables, I think you have to spend hours and millions going back to elementary school and teaching right from wrong, respect and honesty. Maybe we can stop it all before it starts because correcting behavior that is learned seems much harder than tetaching it right in the first place!

Anonymous said...

Anonymouse wrote. when is an adult really and adult?

Read your post and agree with you.

It's all so messed up and dirty, In my own exsperience with my minor child, I find it's about convicting young anyway possible. Guilty or Guilty. Plea agreements are quick, save monney and can easily seal a child in, by no rights to appeal. If they didn't do what they are accused of, try and convince them that they did.

I heard certifying as adults, brings in more funds.

These prisons are on the stock market. I think most people don't see at least some of the reality of these truths, until they become victims to this.

Do I think the people in control get that children are not adults? Yeah, I think they get that.

Anonymous said...

So where advocate housing them, in general population with adults?

Juveniles certified to stand trial as adults must be "separated by sight and sound" from adult inmates, according to a new law that took effect last fall and is explained in a recent Texas AG opinion. This separation "must extend to all areas of the facility."

Texas sheriffs did not write the new law (SB1209) and are just trying to follow the new law. The problem as I see it is the lege did not take the existing construction rules of county jails into consideration when they passed the law.

Somehow that word "unfunded mandate" jumps out at me.

Anonymous said...

"The report finds that the majority of youth placed in adult jails are housed in solitary confinement, most with just one hour of out-of-cell time per day."

That's more time than adults get under current Texas Jail Standards recreation and exercise rules.

Help FREE Bryce said...

Many other reports find that these youths are raped on a constant basis, more so when transfered into adult unit-open bay and or cell. Other reports show that these youths are raped while in solitary-isolation-confinement.

exsperience teaches us that just because there is a law, new or old, doesn't mean those in uphold the law positions, abide by them. There's the higher likely hood that the laws are not being follow.

Let us never forget that those children living in prison and other men and women who do not belong there, are human beings being treated worse than how we a stray animal and the homeless.

I'm not saying I am right, I'm just saying I think I am.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:34pm said....Many other reports find that these youths are raped on a constant basis, more so when transfered into adult unit-open bay and or cell. Other reports show that these youths are raped while in solitary-isolation-confinement.

In Texas county jails? Please provide a link to the reports.

Help FREE Bryce said...

Anonymous said...
@ 12:34pm said

In Texas county jails? Please provide a link to the reports.


Texas is another state with large and troubled corrections agencies. In the past few years, several adult prisons run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) have been identified as among the worst performing in the nation at preventing sexual violence. In a long-awaited 2010 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics on sexual abuse in juvenile facilities, youth at two Texas juvenile detention centers reported some of the highest rates in the country. In 2007 a scandal at the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) uncovered more than 1,000 incidents of sexual abuse against teen detainees.

JDI raises awareness about the extreme dangers in these facilities, while working with Texas officials to improve inmate safety. JDI has provided human rights training to 20 assistant wardens and advocated for individual Texas inmates with the prison system's Ombudsperson. JDI also serves on the TDCJ Safe Prisons Council, where JDI urges a more robust Departmental response to prisoner rape.

JDI has provided officials at TYC and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) with extensive analysis and technical assistance on the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission's standards and their implications for policy reform. TYC solicited and included input from JDI in updating its forms for intake, classification, and vulnerability assessment, as well as its zero tolerance policy. JDI has helped the TJPC to create proposed standards for addressing reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Texas county juvenile programs and JDI contributed to the agency's proposed rules for county-run facilities for juveniles.

To learn more about JDI's effort to stimulate state prison reform, please contact Deputy Executive Director Linda McFarlane at lmcfarlane@justdetention.org.

5/18/2012 02:44:00 PM

JUSTICE-4brycesbattle Framed for murder of a mexican man.

Anonymous said...

Will Harrell, former Chief of OIO, testified about this before legislature in '07/'08. This is not a new an issue, but it is obviously an ignored and unchanged one.

Help FREE Bryce said...

every day is a new day. The issues are old? does not compute, does not compute.

Anonymous said...

No it does not compute. Why it has gone unaddressed it for so long? I am sure that the, lack of education, the assaults and incidents of sexual assault of these youth is relatively easy to document and track.