Children beaten and killed in American jails

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Boston: An ugly underside of America's growing problem of prison overcrowding is the plight of arrested youths who end up as cellmates to hardened adult criminals. Beating, rapes, and suicides, as well as verbal and emotional abuse, often attend such incarceration. Recent cases in Idaho, Kentucky, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., have involved assaults on youngsters and, in many cases, deaths resulting from adult brutality behind bars. Other lawsuits are pending. [...]

Juvenile studies by the YLC and other agencies estimate that as many as 500,000 children - some as young as nine years of age - are put behind bars in adult jails and police lockups in the United States every year. In the large majority of these cases, youngsters are incarcerated for "status" offenses such as resisting discipline and running away, according to YLC director Mark Soler. [...]

Mr. soler adds that jailing youngsters for offenses like petty theft or traffic violations "is ridiculous." A United States Department of Justice study indicates that only 10 percent of jailed juveniles are charged with serious crimes. And only 1 in 4 has committed any crime at all. The rest are placed in custody as victims of abuse and neglect, the report says.

source: Article 'Children Beaten and Killed in American Jails' by Curtis J. Sitomer; From: the Christian Science Monitor; NAMBLA Bulletin, vol. 9, n. 9; November 1988