The release of this draft report (pdf)on New York's juvenile justice system should be eye-opening. To call the system failed, horrific and beyond the pale of acceptable policy doesn't begin to describe it.
The New York Times reports here.
The report, prepared by a task force appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson and led by Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, comes three months after a federal investigation found that excessive force was routinely used at four prisons, resulting in injuries as severe as broken bones and shattered teeth. The situation was so serious the Department of Justice, which made the investigation, threatened to take over the system.
The financial aspect is also absurd: New York is spending $210,000 per child to keep these juveniles, more than 50 % of whom were sentenced for misdemeanors, locked up. And,
More than 80 percent were black or Latino, even though blacks and Latinos make up less than half the state’s total youth population — a racial disparity that has never been explained, the report said.
This is a system in crisis, and New York needs to address it -- sooner, rather than later.