By Sara Mayeux via The Awl (follow the link to read the rest of this piece, this article is long-ish):
… Read the rest
Last month, archaeologists identified the first of the fifty-five human bodies recently exhumed at Florida’s Dozier School for Boys—a now-shuttered juvenile prison where, for decades, guards abused children, sometimes to death, despite cyclical scandals and calls for reform spanning almost a hundred years. Dozier represents an atrocious extreme, but the failures of America’s juvenile justice system are widespread. Whether labeled “boot camps,” “training schools,” “reformatories,” or other euphemisms, juvenile prisons have long harbored pervasive physical and sexual abuse. In one survey, twelve percent of incarcerated youth reported being sexually abused in the previous year—a figure that likely understates the problem.
During the “tough-on-crime” years of the eighties and nineties, states confined larger numbers of children than ever before, with the proportion of youth in prison reaching an all-time high in 1995.