Protest Demands an end to Abusive Practices in the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

For Immediate Release: 8/16/2011
Contact: Abel Habtegeorgis
Media Relations Manager
(510) 428-3939 x232
abel@ellabakercenter.org

FAMILIES OF INCARCERATED YOUTH; FORMERLY INCARCERATED YOUTH AND CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCATES  SCHEDULE PROTEST AT  ONE OF STATES LARGEST YOUTH PRISON FACILITIES

To speak with Families and Advocates please contact Abel Habtegeorgis 510.910.2672/abel@ellabakercenter.org

(Ventura, CA) - Californians from across the State are converging in Ventura County to call attention to confirmed abuses in one of California’s youth prisons, Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. Sunday, August 21, 2011 Time: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Meet at 10 AM in the USA Gas Station Parking Lot (4418 Central Ave Camarillo, CA 93010).

The rally is organized by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights who has long been recognized for advocating for the closure of the state-run youth prison system, and coordinates the largest statewide network of families of incarcerated youth.

“The mandate from the State is for the DJJ to rehabilitate the youth it serves. A system that promotes violence and recreates trauma is unable to rehabilitate.” said Jakada Imani of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, “Locking up a kid in an isolated cell fails to give them the opportunity to develop into healthier adults.”

In California's youth prisons, kids are isolated, beaten, deprived of meals, and pepper sprayed. These abuses have led to 238 suicide attempts (or acts of self-harm) in the DJJ in the last 17 months.
Abuses in the DJJ confirmed through a state audit, public records, and a court-appointed investigator include:

  • Youth held in solitary confinement. In once case, a youth received only one-hour outside his cell in a period of 10 days.
  • Guards beat and pepper spray youth regularly even when they pose no threat.
  • Youth forced to wear handcuffs, waist chains, and leg shackles every moment they leave their cell, including in the shower.
  • Youth denied meals as punishment. In one case, a girl on suicide watch was denied a meal for not giving her rosary to staff.Little to no follow through on youths’ grievances against guard assaults and basic violations of their rights.

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About the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights:
The Ella Baker Center organizes award winning, people-powered campaigns to transform California and inspire the world. Its Books Not Bars campaign organizes the largest network of families of incarcerated youth and champions alternatives to California’s costly, broken youth prison system.