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Texas Boy Lockup Abuse, US Department of Justice Investigating Abuse

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The federal government began investigating the detention of a long-problem boy in Texas on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice said that children detained in five Texas Juvenile Justice Department lockups were “physically and sexually abused by staff and other residents, excessive use of chemical restraints, and excessive isolation. Announced to investigate whether it is reasonably protected “from use”.

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The announcement comes days after authorities report the recent arrest of a former employee accused of improper sexual activity with a detainee. Devin King, 29, was arrested Friday on suspicion of touching his chest while an 18-year-old detainee was working as a detainee. The case was first reported in July, officials said.

For more than a decade, TJJD has been accused of recurring sexual and physical abuse, as well as reports of lack of control. Last year, advocacy groups called on the federal government to intervene, claiming that the ministry had admitted “a serious breach of children’s constitutional rights.”

“Children in juvenile training schools are often abused and abused and deprived of their constitutional rights,” said Deputy Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the US Department of Justice in a statement from the Department of Justice. “State authorities have a constitutional obligation to ensure reasonable safety for children in these facilities.”

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In a statement, TJJD’s managing director said the authorities would fully cooperate with the investigation.

“We all share the same goals for young people in our care. Offering their safety, effective rehabilitation, and the best opportunities for them to lead a productive and fulfilling life. That’s what you do, “said Camille Cain. “It has been the agency’s mission since I joined TJJD, and it remains our constant focus.”

The agency’s board of directors commanded Cain in 2018, when the department was accused of the latest scandal. In 2017, the Dallas Morning News reported an agency report revealing that security guards at Gainesville State School in northern Texas were sexually abusing devoted young people. Youth advocates urged the state to close five juvenile lockups, state senators shouted that government agencies needed a “complete shakedown,” and Governor Greg Abbott was sent to the Texas Rangers to numerous. Prompted for arrest.

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Last year, Cain said TJJD is building a “system that allows people to work at a sustainable staff level in a low-population environment with direct care staff salaries that match the skills needed for their work.” She said reforms “will not happen immediately.”

As with arrests, reports of sexual and physical abuse continue. Defenders’ complaints against the DOJ last year claimed that staff shortages led to unchecked gang activities throughout the lockup. Independent investigators reported that the lack of youth supervision led to an increase in tattoos.

This summer, Abbott was sent back to the Texas Rangers for an investigation. In a statement Wednesday, Abbott spokesperson reiterated Cain’s commitment to cooperation, and the governor “has always prioritized the safety and well-being of all Texas children, including those caring for the state.” Said.

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On Wednesday, one of the advocates who filed the complaint, the Youth Justice Director of Texas Appleseed, said she was encouraged by the DOJ’s investigation and was eager to see what would happen next. Director Brett Murfish said the investigation could lead to agreed changes and proceedings.

“We really need to make a real difference and we need to abandon facilities in these five states and … move them to facilities that meet their needs and really focus on rehabilitation.” Murfish said.

According to state budget reports, less than 700 boys were detained in five TJJD safe facilities in August. That number has dropped significantly over the last decade. ..

Similar abuse scandals in 2007 and 2017 have led state legislatures to implement several reforms, with more county judges opting out of outsourcing young people to state-owned facilities. At that time, the state had custody of 12 boys, and about 5,000 young people had custody of the state, the state report details.

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Murfish and other youth advocates are calling on Texas to completely eliminate state lockups and instead keep children in their home communities. They quoted reports that they found that children released from state-wide facilities were more likely to commit new crimes than children near their homes.

“We are not helping them,” Murfish said. “We are further hurting them by putting them in these facilities.”

Disclosure: Texas Appleseed is a financial backer of Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news organization partially funded by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in tribune journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Texas Boy Lockup Abuse, US Department of Justice Investigating Abuse

Source link Texas Boy Lockup Abuse, US Department of Justice Investigating Abuse

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