In late August, while news outlets focused heavily on abuse in the CIA’s secret prisons, the U.S. Department of Justice released a scathing report exposing horrid conditions in New York’s youth detention facilities. The report addressed issues ranging from abusive restraining measures to misdiagnoses and over-medication. The New York Times wrote a news story and an op-ed but the story didn’t have legs like torture and terror. Well, I caught up with someone who knows the juvenile justice intimately. Leon Hymes helps run a program for at-risk youths but he also spent 17 years in prison, a stretch that started in juvenile detention. We spoke about the report and some issues concerning troubled kids.
A Lost Generation
Are youth prisons counterproductive or does staff just need better training? Do you think that this DOJ report will help bring about positive change or will we forget about jailed children until the next report?