13,000 Abused in Detention

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An investigation by The Associated Press uncovered more than 13,000 claims of abuse reported to juvenile correction centers nationwide from 2004 to 2007. AP surveyed each agency in charge of state juvenile correction centers about deaths and allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by staff. Authorities at the centers substantiated 1,343 – about 10 percent – of the claims, the AP reports.

Juvenile justice advocates said the survey appears to be credible, and the key to combating abuse is more and better staff training.

“There’s a national crisis of abuse in these facilities,” said Barry Krisberg, president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. “There’s a huge need for training and support on how to fix these problems.”

“There is no doubt that physical and sexual abuse is on the incline in these environments,” said Earl Dunlap, CEO of the National Partnership for Juvenile Services. “We need to do a better job of training people” to deal with youth in detention.

In 2007, about 46,000 juveniles were being held in juvenile correctional facilities throughout the country. While the federal government has not tracked such claims, it has recently shut down or sued nearly a dozen juvenile corrections facilities for abuse or neglectful supervision, AP reports.

To read the full report, use a search engine to find “13,000 claims of abuse.”

– Anthony Glynn