Abandoned Youth

Photo Credit: Marsha Graham from iPhonePhotoMaven and AnotherBoomerBlog.

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.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the man hanged by the Gestapo in 1943 for treason against the Nazi regime said, “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. ”

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.

Juvenile Girl in Prison by Richard Ross. Photo credit

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.

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, in an interview with Richard Ross, tells the story of  Ronald F., in Miami.

“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.



3 thoughts on “Abandoned Youth

  1. Though US have sound and progressive scientists politicians/lawmakers seem to be uneducated unbelievably close followed by the honorable club of black robes. Leading unproductive! (“because he knows that he has only a little time left” ; Revelation 12:12).


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