» 10-16 Florida: Teens face their crimes in sex-offender rehab!
KISSIMMEE -- The skinny young man has dark eyes, and ears too wide for his boyish face. They give no hint of his brutal past. The crimes of these young men are examples of a growing number of juvenile felony sex cases in Florida. In the past five years the number statewide grew 22 percent, from 1,640 to 2,002 cases. In Central Florida, Polk County registered the greatest increase, 138 percent, followed by Osceola at 127 percent. Experts say more people are aware that teens commit sexual crimes, and are willing to report abuse to police.
Researchers know less about juvenile sex offenders than they do their adult counterparts. The field is less than 20 years old, and fewer than 550 scholarly studies have been completed on the subject, said Cindy Smith, director of the criminal justice school at the University of Baltimore. Too few explore methods to effectively treat the offenders. Experts agree that these boys are not doomed to commit their crimes again. Studies show the recidivism rate for these crimes is low to begin with, ranging between 3 and 24 percent, Smith said. Treatment can help, too. "The best thing to do with adolescent sex offenders is to catch them. The sheer embarrassment is enough to make them stop," she said.
The teens appear optimistic. The blue-eyed 18-year-old said he hopes to become a victim advocate and the type of person who does the right thing. The 16-year-old wants to play pro basketball and be a person people look up to. The skinny 18-year-old said he sets goals every day now. He wants to be what he calls "a well-established young man." "The man I want to be is willing to accept change and willing to cope with life. And be a fine father," he said. (Note: Will the state allow him to keep his children?)
(by Willoughby Mariano | Sentinel Staff Writer)
» 9-18 Illinois: End of the Line!
KEWANEE - They look like an average group of teenage boys. Wearing T-shirts, long pants and white tennis shoes, the 18 boys, walking in pairs down the sidewalk, could be headed to a football game, an algebra class or a movie. Their long strides and youthful faces are ironically innocent.
While the Illinois Youth Center-Kewanee can accommodate 340 boys, only 149 reside there now. The inmates are divided into two groups - sex offenders and special treatment offenders. Those classified as special treatment typically are teenagers who have a mental health diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, depression or bi-polar disorder. The sex offenders and special treatment inmates are housed separately, not by the type of crime that sent them to the youth prison, but by their size, age and aggression level.
Of the 149 inmates housed at Kewanee, 61 percent are Caucasian; 31 percent, black; 6 percent, Hispanic; and 2 percent, American Indian. The highest population (32 percent) originally lived in central Illinois before they were sent to Kewanee.
(by TERRI SIMON, of the Journal Star)
» 3-7 Colorado: Juvenile program budget cuts assailed: Risks cited in plan to reduce funding!
.... These are a few examples of the troubled juveniles whose plans to kill were intercepted by juvenile justice programs that now are in danger of being shut down by budget cuts, said Jefferson County prosecutor Hal Sargent..
The Joint Budget Committee last month proposed reducing funding to community-based programs for juvenile delinquents by 66 percent - a $6 million cut from nearly $9 million. The result could be thousands of high-risk juveniles left unsupervised in communities throughout the state, warned Jefferson County District Attorney Dave Thomas..
(Sue Lindsay And Charley Able, Rocky Mountain News)....more....
JUVENILE FACILITY FUNDING ISSUES:
» 8-8-03 North Carolina:Funding stymies treatment (of juveniles): Mental health effort is denied Medicaid !
Mental health caseworkers told District Judge Marcia Morey that a 15-year-old charged with attempted rape belonged in a juvenile prison. She thought he needed better treatment and sent him to a residential mental health program instead. While waiting for a bed in that program he tried to strangle himself with a sheet, confirming her suspicions.
Mental health treatment is expanding at the state's five juvenile prisons, separate from Hooker Odom's department. But Morey and other critics say the prison programs are poorly structured and funded, without the resources to serve some of the state's most troubled children. In a scathing report released in May, state auditors called the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's mental health treatment "disorganized." A key problem that has emerged since the audit: federal health insurance, a mainstay for Health and Human Services, doesn't cover Juvenile Justice's mental health treatment costs -- $5.8 million last fiscal year.. (by Molly Hennessy-Fiske, NewsObserver.com)
5-25-2004 Kentucky: Sex charges just part of problem at girls center, some say! One summer night last year, Steve Wells, superintendent of the state's only center for female juvenile offenders, stumbled across an unusual situation at the Morehead facility.
He said he encountered youth worker Guy Nantell alone in the hallway of the administration building with a resident — even though male workers had been cautioned in staff meetings against being alone with girls.
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF JUVENILE INMATES WHILE INCARCERATED:
Wells' response? He warned Nantell that it looked bad to be alone with the teenager, sent the girl back to her cottage — and did nothing else, according to an interview with Wells and state records of an investigation of the matter. "I was concerned with what I told him, this opens you up for allegations," Wells told The Courier-Journal on May14.
6-1-2003 New Mexico: New Mexico Boys' School administrator Danny Cruz this week countered a claim made in a lawsuit brought against him and other Boys' School and state Children, Youth and Families Department supervisors. The suit, being heard in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, was filed on behalf of four former Boys' School inmates who allege they were forced to have sex with a female adult counselor at the facility. Last September, the counselor, Mary Jo Cordova, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual penetration, bringing contraband into a juvenile facility, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
12-24-2002 Washington D.C.: Three D.C. government agencies made critical mistakes in the case of a 12-year-old runaway girl who was sexually assaulted in the District's juvenile detention facility, according to results of a city investigation made public yesterday. The girl, who had run away from her grandmother's home in New York City, was picked up for prostitution Nov. 9 by D.C. police in a downtown park. The next day, authorities said, two older girls repeatedly sodomized her in the Oak Hill Youth Center in Laurel..
»5-18-2003 New Jersey: Allegations of abuse and irregularities plagued treatment center: Two years ago, in a bleak industrial section of Newark, state officials presided over the opening of a 40,000-square foot remodeled warehouse, the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services' newest, and supposedly finest, residential treatment center.
Touted as a solution, DYFS home for boys has been fraught with problems:
The facility, called the Wynona M. Lipman Training & Education Center, was a for-profit enterprise headed by John J. Clancy, 54, a former Essex County youth services director who had built a solid reputation as a contractor for the N.J. Department of Corrections. Clancy, who was also a well-known political patron, promised "state of the art" care. But in less than two months, Lipman Hall was hit by allegations of child abuse and shockingly substandard care, and the allegations continued for much of its first year.
Treatment, meanwhile, was hardly state of the art. Some boys did not receive medication or therapy. Others were hurt by residents or staff. Staffers misused "behavior management rooms," making boys take meals or even stay overnight in the windowless rooms. For eight months after Lipman Hall opened, there was no psychiatrist -- only a specialist in adult infectious diseases. One DYFS inspector was so incensed by conditions that he wrote a whistle-blower letter, alleging that the state was risking residents' lives.
Three D.C. government agencies made critical mistakes in the case of a 12-year-old runaway girl who was sexually assaulted in the District's juvenile detention facility, according to results of a city investigation made public yesterday. The girl, who had run away from her grandmother's home in New York City, was picked up for prostitution Nov. 9 by D.C. police in a downtown park. The next day, authorities said, two older girls repeatedly sodomized her in the Oak Hill Youth Center in Laurel..
9-7-2002 Asheville NC: Despite a social worker's findings in 1999 that a student at the Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center was sexually abused by a female staff member, the woman was never charged with any crimes and was allowed to resign her position at the facility, documents obtained by the Asheville Citizen-Times indicate.
ABUSE OF JUVENILES WHILE INCARCERATED:
9-28-2002 Asheville NC: Complaints about physical and sexual abuse and improper use of restraints aren't limited to Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center. "Juvenile facilities and detention centers all over the country are a problem," said Lynn Grindall of the Southern Juvenile Defender Center, a seven-state resource group that includes North Carolina. "It's the mentality that these kids are throwaways."
Sam Walker, president-elect of the N.C. Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders, believes the state also should adopt his organization's standards for treating sexual offenders. He said he thinks there needs to be systemwide guidelines in place. Walker also cautioned that North Carolina's residents could pay more than a financial price for not providing a safe environment for its youngest criminals. "If you have a sex abuser who is put in a facility and he is sexually abused there, then all you're doing is reinforcing the thought patterns he already had to minimize his own abusive behavior," Walker said. "I wouldn't call that rehabilitation."
9-20-2002 Asheville NC: This question was recently asked by Cornelia Cree, chairman of the Citizen League to End Abuse and Neglect of N.C. Juveniles. It is only a rhetorical question. The answer is quite obvious. The serious solutions to system-wide problems within the juvenile justice structure now lie in the hands of North Carolina state lawmakers and the state auditor's office currently probing the policies and procedures of the Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center.
While it's not so simple to establish direct cause and effect, it stands to reason that juvenile victims of abuse have little chance of emerging from correctional institutions as whole people. Operating with a child's mind, victims of abuse will lie in wait for the next weaker person they have the opportunity to single out. That's the well-documented cycle of violence. For now, we glimpse these youths only at a comfortable distance. Whatever resistance they may erect in their own defense while incarcerated may be viewed as further evidence of delinquency. A healthy childhood-adulthood cannot be constructed from the influences that exist in a hostile environment. The sum of the betrayals of adult supervisors will cause consequences of great magnitude that we as a society will pay for. We may not have to pay now, but we will pay dearly.
9-28-2002 Asheville NC: Now, hear from an inmate of this facility. Joel will be released from the Swannanoa Valley Youth Development Center as a rehabilitated juvenile offender in a matter of months.
He's almost state-certified rehabilitated. Joel, 17, says in those four years he's learned other lessons, too:
He's learned what it feels like to be hogtied for hours, with handcuffs so tightly connected to leg shackles that his body is unwillingly returned to the fetal position.
He's learned to avoid boys identifiable as members of one gang or another by the color of the rubber bands on their wrists; they are always ready with their fists or worse.
He's learned to endure days of solitary confinement, sitting in a plastic chair in his room, alone, not thinking or feeling for hours on end.
He's learned to be tough, not to take anything off anyone, to defend himself and, if necessary, to hurt someone in a fight so they don't dare bother him again.
He's learned what sexual abuse feels like. And though staff members insist he talk about his own sins, they forbid him to talk about those times a cottage technician walked into his room and fell on his knees before him and performed oral sex.