When we abandon our youth, they have no option but to abandon themselves. Lives are wasted, dreams cast away in trade for an existence of solitude, bitterness and victimization.
How then can we lock ours up in adult prisons – many for life sentences? And how can we allow so much of that time to be served as solitary confinement?
IPS News Service reports:
Thousands of young detainees are being held in solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the United States, for weeks, months or even years with virtually no human contact or meaningful motivation, according to a joint report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released Wednesday.
Neurologists tell us the the prefrontal cortex of the Human brain doesn’t fully develop until adulthood. We house-train our pets. Why can’t we extend the same level of understanding to our children?
In many cases, the juvenile justice system can help steer kids onto the right track. It has, over the generations, helped many lost kids find their footing in society. But in thousands of cases in this country, we’re simply throwing up our hands and abandoning these children to the wolves. Raised in prison, they grow up hardened criminals.
Huffington Post states that there are currently over 70,000 juveniles and teens locked up in America’s prisons. These aren’t halfway houses or foster homes. These are American penitentiaries.
“It was his birthday,” Ross said. “He’s 18 this past week, and they switched him over to an adult facility.”
Ross said that prior to his incarceration, he was a special education student in the sixth grade. He said that for 30 years, his mother was a crack addict.
“Before he got brought in on these charges, four and a half years ago, she tried to kill him, quite literally stab him to death,” Ross stated.
Ross said that the young man wound up falling through the cracks of the child welfare system, and began running with “the wrong crowd.” At 13, Ross said he was accused of some “heinous” crimes, which ultimately resulted in his incarceration at a juvenile detention facility for 51 months.
As of his 18th birthday, Ross said, “Ronald hasn’t gone to trial yet.”
As we become more tough on crime, we insist on warehousing more errant Human beings – many of them wrongly so. But warehousing children is unforgivable.
- A Disturbing Trend: Deaf Youth and the School to Prison Pipeline (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Solitary Confinement is Used as Torture – From AlterNet (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- California’s Unconscionable System of Solitary Confinement (tralawlaw.wordpress.com)
- One in four NY prisoners put in solitary (salon.com)
- Pennsylvania Lawmakers Hear Testimony on the Torture of Solitary Confinement (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- Demand That New York Stop Using Solitary Confinement in Prisons (forcechange.com)
- “Total Isolation”: Solitary Confinement in Oregon (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- 12 Shocking Pictures Of Kids Behind Bars In America (businessinsider.com)
- The Living Death of Solitary Confinement (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Miranda, Hearing Juveniles and Deaf Juvenile Offenders (deafinprison.wordpress.com)