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Archive for Friday, November 27, 2009

Letter claims bad conditions at juvenile facility

November 27, 2009

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— State officials are investigating a Topeka juvenile detention facility after receiving an anonymous letter claiming boys are housed in “inhumane and immoral” conditions in a segregation unit.

Someone purporting to be a social worker at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex sent the letter earlier this month to numerous governmental agencies.

It raises issues such as inadequate sleeping provisions, insufficient hygiene materials, a lack of medical treatment and placement of juveniles in isolation for long periods of time.

Corrections spokesman Bill Miskell says complaints against detention centers are common, and the letter’s claims are being investigated.

Comments

zettapixel 4 years, 10 months ago

Suck it up and deal. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time (and put up with the "horrific" conditions of jail / juvie.)

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costello 4 years, 10 months ago

There's more to it than this article indicates - including allegations that a 12 year boy was raped repeatedly over a three day period by his roommate.

http://cjonline.com/news/local/2009-10-17/youth_detention_center_in_chaos

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AnnaUndercover 4 years, 10 months ago

@zettapixel Hurting children is unproductive.

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babyjontheway 4 years, 10 months ago

That is horrible LJW why are you not providing more facts? This is something that needs to be brought to light, that could have been any unruly child. If that happened to either of my kids the child that did it better run. That facility should be shut down, no excuses.

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ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

Sure, the rape allegations should probably be included, but I think the allegations mentioned here are pretty bad in themselves. Failing to provide adequate hygiene, medical care, and sleeping conditions is unacceptable. Those are basic health needs that any detention facility needs to provide. That goes beyond just providing an unpleasant atmosphere that juvies should just "suck it up and deal" with.

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Steve Jacob 4 years, 10 months ago

Less and less money to operate and staff jail facilities will bite the state in the butt at some point.

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 10 months ago

I go to that facility several times a month; and yes, I've visited segregation frequently. It is actually a pretty nice facility; a new superintendent just took over recently and they're using some creative discipline measures. For instance, if the kids misbehave...their mattress is taken out of their room for a time. Gee, now how inhumane is that!? I can also tell you, as crazy as this sounds; there are several kids who stay in segregation on purpose. I've been going to the facility for about a year and a half now, and they're down there each time...and they've confessed to me that they don't want to get out. The segregation unit is not designed to be like a hotel stay; but inhumane?!

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 10 months ago

btw...I've also visit the Douglas County Jail...KJCC has newer and nicer facilities than our own county jail! (In my opinion...)

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bearded_gnome 4 years, 10 months ago

thanks Costello, I wondered about the "immoral" reference, not really supported by the material in the ljworld snippit.

no juvie shouldn't be a nice place.

sadly (at least in the past) some kids wind up at juvie without being convicted of any crimes at all, it is used as the system's holding pattern of last resort. and kids shouldn't suffer rape. no way.

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ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

The article indicates a lack of medical treatment. For those who are only appalled upon hearing about rape allegations, I have to ask how is not providing medical treatment to juvenile inmates anything but immoral?

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denak 4 years, 10 months ago

".....if the kids misbehave…their mattress is taken out of their room for a time. Gee, now how inhumane is that!?..."

It probably isn't inhumane buy what lesson does it teach. If a child is misbehaving, how does taking his mattress out of his room going to teach him anything???

If the child is an arsonist and has been caught with matches and he poses a fire threat, then taking a mattress out of his room might make sense but denying a child a mattress for "misbehaving" doesn't really.

Any punishment, in order to be effective, has to be immediate and has to have something to do with the infraction.

Dena

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BlackVelvet 4 years, 10 months ago

Part of the problemwe have in this country is the fact that folks who break the law are mollycoddled and treated with kid gloves! There isn't any incentive for them to want to stay out of jail! I don't condone rape, but unfortunately that sometimes happens in any correctional facility! If the conditions in jails are unpleasant enough, perhaps the cretins in our society will try their best to avoid behavior that will put them in jails! In other words, jail/prisons should be PUNISHMENT for their bad deeds. Rehabilitation has been proven not to work in the majority of cases.

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Mixolydian 4 years, 10 months ago

costello (Anonymous) says…

There's more to it than this article indicates - including allegations that a 12 year boy was raped repeatedly over a three day period by his roommate.

http://cjonline.com/news/local/2009-1

Two completely different facilities. One is a privately operated secure facility (Forbes Attention Center, where the alleged rape occurred) and the other (referenced in the article above, where the above allegedly occurred) is state operated. This article deals with the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex, nee Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility, nee Youth Center at Topeka, nee Boys Industrial School.

Regarding the other ill informed statements above, 1) Not a single kid in "juvy" is ever convicted of a crime. Kids are adjudicated for doing offenses, that if done by an adult, would be a crime...big difference. 2) Rehabiliatation IS proven to work, does work and IS working.

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

"It probably isn't inhumane buy what lesson does it teach. If a child is misbehaving, how does taking his mattress out of his room going to teach him anything???

If the child is an arsonist and has been caught with matches and he poses a fire threat, then taking a mattress out of his room might make sense but denying a child a mattress for “misbehaving” doesn't really. "

  1. The mattress is the only 'soft' thing in each cell of segregation, these kids (rightfully so for 'segregation') have absolutely NOTHING to do in their cells, it's a small room with a concrete shelf to put their mattress on and a toilet and sink controlled by officers.. So for about an hour they can either stand or just lie down on hard cold concrete. (I'd think when you take this into consideration you'll see that a mattress is an important luxury in this environment!) I'm sure they have other options for discipline, this is just one I noticed and asked about.

  2. I'm not sure how often this 'punishment' is actually used, but it is not used as punishment for the reason they are in the facility. It is used to deter them from being disrespectful or disobedient to officers in charge of them.

I'm guessing the Shawnee County (or maybe even Kansas) chapter of the ACLU hasn't had much to do lately and perhaps their donations are down, so a member sent in this complaint!

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Okay, I'm completely at a loss as to how you got that from what I wrote. I volunteer twice a month at KJCC (I even went there Thursday night.) I volunteer at the Douglas County jail one day a week. I used to put in time at the Douglas Co. detention center as well, but I just don't have time for all three anymore. How much time does a compassionate, judgemental person like yourself spend at correction facilities each week? So which one of us is attempting to be part of the solution? Despite what you've written, should you ever end up in our county jail, I'll still stop by and say "hi"!

(Boy...what a selfish jerk I am!)

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emptymind 4 years, 9 months ago

27 November 2009 at 8:26 p.m.

Suggest removal

Permalink denak (Anonymous) says…

“…..if the kids misbehave…their mattress is taken out of their room for a time. Gee, now how inhumane is that!?…”

It probably isn't inhumane buy what lesson does it teach. If a child is misbehaving, how does taking his mattress out of his room going to teach him anything???

Would you want to sleep on a hard cold concrete floor?

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Steve Miller 4 years, 9 months ago

you're all right, it's not intended to be a cake walk.. All they need is a fresh mule, a jug of water and a pair of sandles, that ought to keep them quite for a while. and if that don't keep'em quite, givem a short handeled hoe..

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

There is no excuse for this kind of treatment. The only thing it is going to accomplish is to foster hate and bitterness. It will teach them that they do not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. They don't even deserve a shower or a bed. Obviously making living conditions as miserable as possible in a correctional facility is not working.

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

i've always heard the officers be pretty clear with them on that...you give respect, you get respect. You disrespect and disobey, you're going to lose privileges. (You have to keep in mind; they are in segregation for being disruptive in their assigned pod--'general population'-- to begin with.) As I said before, there are a handful of kids who prefer to be in segregation. It concerns me how anti-social those kind of kids can be. Do they even look towards being out in the world one day, or ideally do they hope just to move from cell to cell, always by themselves. That is exactly why segregation is an area of KJCC I visit.

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somebodynew 3 years ago

mr_right_wing actually is providing good information. I too have spent a lot of time at KJCC and find the conditions adequate (actually better than I think they should be).

Two things: First this is just a letter listing complaints. I have heard some of these people complain about nearly everything. Some are serious and are investigated, some are just nonsense. But, there is a system in place where they complain to an outside Agency (not the JJA) and it is investigated by the other agency, who has no reason to hide anything or not do a good job.

The mattress thing: The only people who get their mattress taken away are the people in segregation (who have done something to be put there) and it is not used as punishment. They discovered that some of the residents (as m_r_w said) try to stay there. They were staying up all night causing trouble (yelling back and forth between rooms) and then sleeping all day. They took the mattresses out ONLY during the day and put them back at night. Sleep at night, stay up during the day - - yeah, pretty harsh conditions.

Before we all get too righteous about this letter, let's wait and see what really is going on.

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somebodynew 3 years ago

Also - don't be confused at to what these facilities are. This is not where Little Suzie or Johnnie goes when picked up for shoplifting the first time. These residents have been through 'trial' and been ajudicated for their crimes: like murder, arson, multiple burglaries, sex crimes, the whole works. This is not the local county detention center, this is the equivilant of being convicted enough to be in prision, if they were adult. And I have talked to several who made it clear that getting to adult prision is their goal. (Seriously) Very sad, but that is some of who are in there.

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