The state of juvenile facilities in New York is dismal. In 2012, there was a threefold increase in the assaults on inmates in juvenile facilities. The New York State Commissions on Corrections found more than 335 assaults took place in four juvenile holding facilities in 2012. This averaged out to approximately 1 ½ assaults for each and every child held in these juvenile facilities. The median age of the children held in juvenile facilities is approximately 16 ½ years old.
Commission chairman, Thomas Beilein, in his report wrote “[t]here has been an alarming increase in the total number of violent incidents taking place at OCFS secure centers in just the first half of this year.”
The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) operates the Brookwood Facility, Columbia Girls and Goshen Secure facilities which are in the Hudson Valley and the MacCormick Facility located near Ithaca, New York.
To explain the large number of assaults on youths in state run facilities, Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for OCFS, stated “[t]his is a difficult population. These are kids who have done very serious crimes often violent crimes.” In addition they have significant mental health problems and drug abuse problems, stated Barry Kristberg, a consultant to the State of New York.
Juveniles are placed in facilities for both re-education to get them to perform to societal norms and for punishment. They should be safe in the facilities they are placed in. Juvenile facilities should not be gladiator schools where already tough, difficult youths are taught to be even more violent.
About The Author
Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney practicing criminal defense law throughout the metropolitan New York area. He has extensive experience representing juveniles and adults who are being criminally investigated, who have been placed under arrest and who are facing criminal prosecution. He is available seven days a week for consultations.