Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Problems in Juvenile (In)Justice

TROY ERIK ISAAC was 12 years old and one week into a court-ordered detention for vandalism when he was sexually assaulted by an older, bigger boy. It would not be the last time. "I was effeminate, thin and looked vulnerable," he says now, 24 years after the fact. "Nobody tells you when you go in, 'You better be careful.' "

Mr. Isaac is not alone. A recent study by the Justice Department reported that roughly 12 percent of minors suffered some form of sexual abuse while in custody, including abuse by staff members.


Here is a sample of the problem reported by the LA Times:

At least 11 Los Angeles County juvenile probation officers have been convicted of crimes or disciplined in recent years for inappropriate conduct involving current or former probationers, including several cases of molesting or beating youths in their care, a Times investigation has found.

Additionally, two other officers are the focus of internal affairs investigations for allegedly having sex with probationers.

Several states have been rocked with proof of corruption, assault, and cover ups. Yet little progress is being made on reform. None of the recommendations of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission have been adopted. The price we pay for this failure is to ensure a future supply of offenders like Mr. Isaac and a continued downward spiral in our (in)justice system.

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