Say No to the Abuse
As the Director of our Books Not Bars campaign, I have heard too many horror stories from youth and families about the abuse and trauma that kids suffer in our State's youth prisons. Though we have exposed the DJJ's failure to rehabilitate the youth in its care for years, we are reaching a crucial point in the campaign. It's more important than ever that you stand with Books Not Bars to demand the end of abuse in the youth prisons.
- Young people were routinely locked in their cells for 23 or more hours per day,
- DJJ inmates have been denied food as punishment for their behavior,
- Youth are forced to wear ankle, waist and wrist shackles even when they shower.
- Youth are beaten and repeatedly sprayed with chemicals such as pepper spray. The cases of excessive force are alarmingly high among youth with mental health designations and disabilities.
Our demands are fairly simple. We want Secretary Cate and the DJJ to:
1. End Solitary Confinement: Provide at least 8 hours of quality educational and rehabilitative programming outside of cells for all youth.
2. Stop the violence: Ensure youths' safety, particularly mentally ill and disabled youth, from fights and chemical spraying. Guards who abuse youth, instigate or fail to prevent violence must be held accountable.
3. Provide adequate food: Denying people, especially growing youth, adequate food is antithetical to rehabilitation. Depriving youth of meals is outright abusive.
Youth who have gotten in the most serious trouble can turn their lives around if given the right treatment programs. But rather than providing the intensive services these youth need, the DJJ merely adds damage to damage with these outrageous and abusive practices. Please add yours voice to the thousands of voices who say, "No More!" Our youth and their families cannot wait!