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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
to a recent piece in Slate Magazine, as many as 10 percent of the children incarcerated in juvenile facilities, or “juvie,” as many kids call it, are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of guards.
Eighty-six percent of those who said they were abused by staff at juvenile facilities said there had been more than one incident in the past year, and 20 percent of those said it happened at least 11 times in the previous year.
In Texas, Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (now known as The GEO Group, Inc.) – one of the companies profiting the most from the privatization of prisons – opened the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center. At a rate of $118 per day, per inmate, this all-girls facility was staffed mainly by men. Rape was rampant. The Department of Justice investigation turned up problems with untrained guards and discovered that Wackenhut didn’t even conduct background checks on its employees.
That’s just one in a string of Wackenhut facilities investigated by the Department of Justice. After a lengthy investigation, they determined that the Jena Center in Louisiana was a “dangerous place to be” where guards “routinely used excessive force” and subjected kids to “cruel and humiliating punishments.”
“A correctional organization is subject to numerous allegations of that nature,” said George Zoley, the CEO. “That's part of the business; it's a tough business. The people in prison are not Sunday school children.”
One thing is clear, no matter what, and that’s the fact that a person in custody – a child or an adult – cannot consent to having sex.
It’s not just guards perpetrating these crimes, though. It happens between inmates as well. But that’s another post for another day.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear how you think our juvenile justice system could be reformed (or whether it should be reformed). Are you comfortable with the idea of for-profit prisons that cost taxpayers money, or do you think incarceration should be controlled by the state? Chime in on my Facebook page!
We can probably all agree that when children commit crimes, there should be a fitting punishment waiting for them.
Unfortunately, the systems we have set up have their flaws. Some kids slip through the cracks – and according
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Horror Stories from Juvie
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