Some more information about sexual assult in juvenile prisons, and what you can do about it…

As some of you may have read in a previous post, the American Justice Department has recently released a report on sexual abuse in America’s juvenile prisons. I was shocked, angered and deeply effected by what I read, and it has driven me to learn more about the reality of what goes on in America’s prisons, and what your average citizen can do to speak out against gross violations of justice and human rights taking place in American prisons.

I feel that my search has just begun, but I wanted to share some interesting things I’ve found so far, as well as provide some information about organizations working to end injustices in American prisons. I hope, whatever your current opinion is on American justice, you will take some time to read some of these and see what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. I think that learning about the issues and engaging in thoughtful and honest dialogue is the best way forward when considering such things.

Here are just a few of the articles about the report on rape and sexual abuse in juvenile detention centers:

‘A preventable problem’- The Economist blog, 12 January 2010

‘Justice study tracks rape, sexual abuse of juvenile inmates’ – The Washington Post, 8 January 2010

‘Stannow and Goemann: Virginia Should Stand for Children’s Safety’- Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11 January 2010

Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-2009, published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics

Click here for a link to the full report on Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-2009 as an Acrobat file.

In addition to just learning about what the problem is, I feel like it is important to act. I’m not exactly sure what form my action will take yet, but I have found some information about a couple of important organizations dealing with these issues.

One is Just Detention International, a human rights organization dedicated to eradicating sexual abuse in all forms of detention, both in the US and internationally. As stated in JDI’s mission statement, sexual assault of detainees, whether committed by corrections staff or other inmates, is a crime and is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Their website provides lots useful information and resources, as well as personal testimonies from survivors of sexual assault in prisons. I think this is an excellent place to start if you want to educate yourself on the realities of abuses in prison and perhaps get some ideas of what you, as a concerned citizen, can do to help.

Another organization I came across is The Campaign for Youth Justice, which is focused on ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. This organization isn’t directly involved in the issue of sexual assault in juvenile prison, but I think they also provide important information about youth in America’s criminal justice system. Its worth taking a look at.

Anyway, I hope that, whatever your current ideas and beliefs about crime, criminals, juvenile offenders, the American justice system, etc, that you will take a little time to read about this issue in an open-minded way. I think that all of us can agree that we, as individuals and a society, have a duty to uphold basic human rights, even in prisons, and that no one, especially children, should be subject to rape, sexual assault, or any other type of torture while incarcerated in an American prison. I will continue my research into all of this and I’ll continue to share my findings with you.


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