The Short List 10/12/12
From the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, a report: Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States
Yesterday, the ACLU and HRW released their latest report “Growing up Locked Down,” which tells of young people under the age of 18 being held in solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the U.S. In solitary confinement, these children spend “22 or more hours each day alone, usually in a small cell behind a solid steel door… for days, weeks, or even months on end.” Many times, juveniles are kept in isolation in adult prisons to keep them separate from the adult population. Other times they are held in isolation for punishment. Regardless, the report details the profoundly negative effect solitary confinement has on young people.
Also visit the ACLU site here for video interviews with juveniles who spent time in solitary confinement.
From the NYCLU, a report: Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons
Between 2007 and 2011, the average sentence of extreme isolation for prisoners in New York was approximately five months. The report defines extreme isolation as spending 23 hours a day confined to a small, barren cell where one is “deprived of all meaningful human interaction or mental stimulation.” Prisoners in isolation cannot make phone calls and are excluded from all activities and programs. There are proponents of solitary confinement who believe it is a punishment in prison reserved for the worst behavior– which simply is not true. In the report, the authors write, “Prisoners can be sent to the solitary housing unit (SHU) for prolonged periods of time for violating a broad range of prison rules, including for minor, non-violent misbehavior.” Furthermore, after enduring the tremendous mental stress and psychological deprivation of extreme isolation, often times for months on end, these people are released directly to the streets. The report is worth reading. Also, help them end the practice of extreme isolation by sending a message to Governor Cuomo here.
From the New York Times, October 7, For Poor Schoolchildren, a Poverty of Words
What is the biggest deficit amongst new kindergarteners? Word deficit.
From Justice for Families, a new report released in September: Families Unlocking Futures: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice
“Based on over 1,000 surveys with parents and family members of incarcerated youth and 24 focus groups nationwide, the report presents a body of data that has never been captured or examined before. It aims to correct misperceptions about system-involved youth and their families; demonstrates the need for families’ active participation in redesigning juvenile justice systems; and uncovers crucial flaws in the system that burden, alienate and exclude families from the treatment of system-involved youth.”
The Short list is published weekly on Friday mornings and is comprised of a brief list of juvenile justice and justice related links to articles, reports, videos and more that are worth a read.