A Preventable Problem

The Economist reports a hair-raising Bureau of Justice Statistics study on prison rape in juvenile facilities that found “12% of juvenile prisoners report being sexually abused, more than 10% of them by staff”:

THE recent report on rape in juvenile facilities from the Bureau of Justice Statistics makes for horrific reading: 12% of juvenile prisoners report being sexually abused, more than 10% of them by staff (the surprising nugget within this subgroup is that 95%—95%!—of that 10% report having been victimised by female staff). Non-heterosexual inmates report a higher rate of abuse by another youth (12.5%) than their heterosexual counterparts (1.3%). Abuse is also not distributed evenly among facilities: at three of them—one each in Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Jersey—at least 33% of inmates report being abused, while 18% of facilities surveyed had no reported incidents of sexual abuse.

There is no doubt our Justice and Penal systems need a serious overhaul, in particular concerning juveniles. On this front we are the only advanced democracy to sentence juveniles to life.

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