Friday, June 28, 2013


In the home of the free and the land of the brave, the State and the states enjoy locking up children...many as young as ten years old.  Putting ten year olds in jail, whew, now that is something.

They lock up these kids and claim they are going to get counseling, help, and, you know, rehabilitation...while locked up.

Yeah, like that is what's happening.

In any event, we spend a small fortune locking these kids up, but at the same time can't find any money to provide them any services when they aren't locked up.  Something wrong there, dudes and dudettes.

We find more jail cells and we close more schools...well not WE, but those others who call themselves us.

Most white Americans look the other way and kid themselves about these vicious little criminals who threaten all of our well being...and usually wlhen they think about those kids, they are thinking black.  You know they are.  They don't say they are, but you know they are.

Well, it ain't rehabilitation that our juvenile justice system is practicing.  No, too often it is rape and sexual abuse.

We think of jails as places where prisoners rape other prisoners, but that is  not what we are talking about here most of the time.  Here we are talking about prison staff raping children while everyone looks the other way.

A recent federal report found that, for one example, in Paulding County, Georgia 32% of kids in juvenile lockups reported being sexually assaulted by staff.  Just about one in three.

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reporting on a 2010 DOJ national survey of Youth in Custody writes:

The report was compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act. However, the DOJ review panel on prison rape downplayed the results, saying that it “indicated that sexual assault in juvenile facilities was relatively rare and facility staff, for the most part, did not victimize juvenile offenders.”

This was their position, despite the fact that of the 26,550 youths involved in the survey, about 10 percent, reported being victimized by staff. Another 2.6 percent reported being assaulted by other inmates. Of the alleged assaults by staff 95 percent were female, with 92 percent of the victims being male. These events are often minimized by administrators and categorized as consensual relationships. Even though sexual relations between staff and juvenile inmates is illegal across the United States, the male inmates who have sex with female staff are not seen as victims.

Meanwhile the McHenry County Blog reporting on a Bureau of Justice Statistics reports notes:

Just as in adult facilities, LGBT detainees were found to be especially vulnerable to abuse, as were all youth with a history of sexual victimization. LGBT youth were sexually abused by other inmates at nearly seven times the rate of straight youth (10.3 percent versus 1.5 percent). More than half (52.3 percent) of all youth who had been abused at a prior facility reported suffering yet more abuse at their current one.

Other key BJS findings include:

  • Once a youth was victimized by staff in their current facility, he or she was more likely to be assaulted by staff 11 times or more than to face no further abuse (20.4 versus 14.2 percent).

  • The size of the facility has a strong correlation with its levels of abuse. Youth detained in facilities holding at least 101 detainees were nearly five times as likely to report victimization as those in facilities holding fewer than 10 detainees (12 versus 2.5 percent).

  • The longer a youth was detained, the more likely he or she was to be sexually abused. Youth detained between 7-12 months faced rates of abuse more than one and a half times higher than those who were detained for less than five months (11.3 versus 6.8 percent).

  • State-run youth facilities had far higher rates of staff sexual misconduct than local or privately run facilities (8.2 versus 4.5 percent).

  • Black youth reported higher rates of staff sexual misconduct than white and Hispanic youth (9.6 versus 6.4 percent for both white and Hispanic youth). On the other hand, white youth were more likely to be abused by another inmate than black and Hispanic youth (4 versus 1.4 and 2.1 percent, respectively).

It's time for some real anger here.  It's time for marching in the streets.  It's time to shut em down.

The following post for Scission's Prison Friday comes from Prison Culture.

Rotten to the Core: Sexual Violence & Youth Incarceration in Illinois

In Illinois, like in every other state of the union, we cage children as young as 10 years old. They are locked in jails and prisons for transgressions that we’ve deemed must be ‘punished.’ We are told that those imprisoned are among “the worst offenders.” But a new study released last week finds that as of 2010:

“almost 60 percent of confined youth in the U.S. (41,877) were still detained and imprisoned for offenses that do not pose substantial threats to public safety. These include misdemeanors, drug use, non-criminal or status offenses (e.g., curfew violations, truancy, running away), failure to show up for parole meetings, and breaking school rules. Arguably, those 42,000 or so low-risk youth, who pose minimal public safety risks, face a fairly high risk of recidivating and losing their futures as productive citizens due to their incarceration experiences.”


In Illinois, there were five children incarcerated in youth prisons for murder in 2010. In 2011, that number was lower.

We are told that these cells will ‘rehabilitate’ children by providing them with counseling services that they lacked on the outside. We offer those services and others at an average cost of nearly $100,000 per incarcerated child per year in our prisons and over $225,000 a year if we want to jail/detain them. In our communities though, we plead poor and close their schools while also shuttering the mental health clinics that would have provided cost-effective services for these same children.

Then comes the ‘news’ that the youth we are supposed to be ‘reforming’ through incarceration are actually being sexually assaulted and abused within our prison walls. The U.S. Justice Departmentfound that based on their survey of 461 Illinois juvenile prisoners in 2012, more than 15% reported being sexually victimized (most often by staff members). Illinois youth prisoners are sexually assaulted and abused at a rate 35 percent higher than the national average which was under 10%.

The children were assaulted in showers, recreation areas, their cells, classrooms and even in kitchens. Some young people said that they had been given alcohol and drugs by staff before their assaults.

Prison administrators proclaimed themselves “extremely concerned and upset” at the findings as though these incidents were news to them. Some editorial boards have expressed their disgust at the revelations. Some advocates have called for oversight boards and ombudsmen to ensure ‘accountability’ for the prisoners. And there’s been no public outcry at these revelations. The general public shrugs its shoulders because it’s not their kids locked in those cages. So who cares?

While some reformers are busy yet again tinkering around the edges trying to duct tape the Titanic, more children continue to be harmed physically and emotionally while locked in cages. Everyone knows that no amount of “oversight” is going to end sexual violence in prisons. Prisons are violence incarnate and violence is endemic to prison. Sentencing children to jail and prisons is consigning them to “judicial rape.” This has been and continues to be clear. We know what we are doing: all of us. So we are accomplices in the systemic and systematic rape of children.

Youth incarceration is a failed experiment and it’s way past time to shut down all of our juvenile prisons and jails. Abolition NOW! Everyone who doesn’t understand that youth incarceration (especially in solitary confinement) is torture should watch the following time-lapsed video created by Richard Ross.

I am organizing along with others an action to bring attention to the sexual violence experienced by children behind bars on July 30th. This action will coincide with a hearing about this issue. If you are in Chicago and would like to participate in the action, contact

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