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News items related to abuse

Only Certain Young Victims Matter

Americans fixate on the 5% of killings that involve youthful gunmen and/or mass shooters and ignore the other 95%. Unfortunately, we largely dismiss the 99% of rapes that do not involve young perpetrators and social media.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Senior Research Fellow Randall Shelden reflects on historic training schools as many bodies are found at Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Florida.

Part III: Trends in girls' crime

It was noted in part II of this series that girls who run away from home are often doing so because of sexual abuse at home.  As reported in the New York Times an estimated 1.6 million juveniles run away from or are thrown out of their homes each year; over half are girls. 

Part II: Trends in girls' crime

As noted in Part I of this series, running away and sexual abuse are much more significant in the lives of girls than boys. Sexual abuse is particularly salient for girls and may well propel girls into behaviors such as running away from home or other status offenses. As already noted, girls are much more likely than boys to be the victims of childhood sexual abuse: it has been estimated that roughly 70 percent of the victims are female.

California judge finds boy guilty of murdering neo-Nazi father
California judge finds boy guilty of murdering neo-Nazi father KPCC Radio, January 14, 2013
Fight the good fight: stand up against child abuse
Internationally, I believe many individuals would agree that child abuse is an unacceptable behavior in various cultures and communities all over the world, though I recognize there are different viewpoints on what may be considered child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and "a time to recognize that we each can play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities." I find it difficult to believe any rational person would…
Part IV: Give me that old time religion [video blog]
CJCJ's Senior Research Fellow, Randall Shelden, discusses his blog series "Give me that old time religion" in this video blog.  The series explores the inside of Christian homes for troubled teens and uncovers a multitude of abuses. Read the whole series here: Part I: $1cjcj.org/news/5403$4 Part II: $1cjcj.org/news/5406$4 Part III: $1cjcj.org/news/5408$4 To view Randall Shelden's blog, please visit www.sheldensays.com
Ventura YCF: A stain on California
Is this really what our taxpayer dollars are paying for? Lino Silva is one of the 344 juveniles currently incarcerated at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, a 98-year-old youth facility that is crumbling beyond repair.  Facing inhumane and dangerous conditions, and under the threat of reprisals from guards, Lino launched a petition drive through Change.org to improve basic living standards at the Ventura facility. Titled "A Stain on California," Lino's petition states…
DJF culture shift absent as lawsuit continues
As of January 2012, three of California's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) remain, O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility (OHCYCF), N.A. Chaderjian (NACYCF) in Stockton, CA and Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) in Ventura, California.  The Southern Reception Center closed down at the end of the 2011, transferring the remaining youth and 77 staff to VYCF, now the only DJF facility in southern California.  Already plagued with abuses and strained past capacity, VYCF continues to…
Developing Leaders [guest video blog]
CJCJ's guest video blog by Will Roy, discusses challenges to re-entry from the state's youth correctional facilities and what he thinks should be the way forward for juvenile justice in California.   Will Roy is currently a psychology student at the City College of San Francisco.  He was made a ward of the California Youth Authority (now the Division of Juvenile Facilities) in 1997, as a first time offender at the age of 15, and remained a ward until 2003. During his six year CYA…
DJF: No special treatment for youth with special needs
The 19th report of the Special Master , in the ongoing Farrell v. Cate lawsuit to reform California's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) was released early September.  A major theme I discovered was the lack of DJF's ability to provide for those individuals with special needs, particularly in the areas of special education, mental health, and wards with physical and mental disabilities.   While these populations may be more challenging to serve than the general population, the presence of…
Give me that old time religion III
In my previous two blogs I wrote about the investigations surrounding several so-called "Christian" homes for "troubled teens" as reported by Kathryn Joyce .  As shocking as these cases are, they are really nothing new, for such abuse extends far back in the history of juvenile justice.  The victims -- conveniently called "troubled teens" (thereby justifying their incarceration, all "for their own good") -- are like other teenage victims: they are at the mercy of adults who ostensibly love and…
Give me that old time religion II
My last blog covered a portion of an article about a so-called "Christian" home for "troubled teens. As promised, this is a continuation of that blog. As previously noted there were several rather sad stories about the abuse suffered by teenagers in a program called New Beginnings Ministries .  The writer of this story, Kathryn Joyce, noted that there are several of these kinds of "homes" that are part of an "Independent Fundamental Baptist" community that is "a web of thousands of…
Give me that old time religion: cruel and usual punishment inside Christian homes for troubled teens
From the very beginning of juvenile "correctional" institutions religion has been one of the driving forces.  Religion played a key role in the development of the New York House of Refuge in the early 1800s, as it did throughout the history of American prisons for both youths and adults.   The reformers of the late 18th and early 19th century spent a good deal of time and energy complaining about the "moral decline" of the country.  Little wonder that "immorality" would be a common charge…
Who is in the SHU? The need for reform in prison isolation units
Demonstrations are taking place at Governors' offices across the country  today in New York, Connecticut, and Illinois in solidarity with those pushing for basic rights and humane conditions within the Security Housing Units (SHU) at the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison, located in the northwestern tip of California.  The conditions of the SHU will be the topic of discussion at today's oversight hearing by California's Assembly Public Safety Committee (listen live at 1:30 pm ). The…
Conditions in California's SHU
On July 1, 2011, eleven inmates in the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU) began a hunger strike to protest the egregious conditions of their confinement.  In particular, they objected to the lack of adequate food or programming and the lack of justification for indefinite SHU confinement.  They demanded that CDCR comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons 2006 recommendations, and provide conditions comparable to that of solitary confinement units…
DJF promotes 85% compliance, but let's not forget the past...
Recently, the Department of Juvenile Facilities (formerly known as the California Youth Authority) claimed to be in 85% compliance with the consent decree under the Farrell litigation.  This percentage cultivates a skewed perception of the state youth correctional facility's progress towards reforming into a rehabilitative environment.  In April 2010, CJCJ's Executive Director Daniel Macallair highlighted this issue in the California Progress Report .  As DJF touts its progress it is important…
Kids with Mental Health Issues Still Languish in Detention Centers
In the early 2000's several reports began to document the existence of thousands of juveniles with diagnosed mental health issues sitting in detention facilities waiting for placement in a mental health facility.  For instance, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette surveyed 172 detention centers nationally and found that more than 40% of them "said children with mental health problems stay in detention longer than others because placements can't be found for them." The director of a detention center in…
The epidemic of abuse continues
In my most recent post I said that I would continue my investigation of what I termed an "epidemic" of abuse inside juvenile institutions.  This led me first to the state of Mississippi. In Mississippi the situation has become so bad that a special web site has been set up devoted to following the issue. It is called "A Mississippi Gulag ." Back in 2002 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) began an investigation of the conditions inside the Oakley Training School in Raymond,…
Public Relations and the California Youth Corrections System
Daniel Macallair, MPA, Executive Director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, article titled "Wasting Tax Dollars: Public Relations and the California Youth Corrections System " was recently featured in the California Progress Report. Mr. Macallair discusses that despite the class action law suit (Farrell v Cate) against the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the state is not in full compliance with reforming the State's youth correctional facilities. Further, the article exposes…
An Epidemic of Abuse Inside Juvenile Institutions
At the close of my last blog ("More Abuse in Youth Prisons") I suggested doing a simple search on the Internet and type in words like "abuse in juvenile institutions" and select some states at random.  I said at the time that I would continue my search.   And so I did.   And what I found was way beyond what I expected.   I don't often like to use the word "epidemic" since it is so value-loaded and defies precise definition.   One definition from Webster's includes "widespread growth" and so I…
Abuse in Youth Correctional Institutions
One of the most common examples of widespread abuse in American juvenile correctional institutions is the callous and malicious treatment often employed by institutional staff.  Institutional abuse can mean many things, but usually refers to the physical or emotional cruelty inflicted on youth by staff. This pernicious reality has been constant throughout American history since the opening of the nation's first youth correctional facility in 1825 - the New York House of Refuge. Occasionally,…
The end of an era?
A story in the Los Angeles Times caught my eye.  The title tells most of the story: "California to close its largest juvenile prison ." The institution is the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino.  They will convert it to an adult prison and eventually transfer the young offenders to other programs in the state, mostly in county facilities closer to their families. Stark has been part of what most experts consider one of the "dinosaurs" of juvenile institutions, the California…

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