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Friday, July 17, 2015
Children In Adult Prisons Across US; This Cruel And Unusual Punishment Has To Stop! Seattle Passes Resolution To Ban Children In Prison, Restorative Justice As Solution

"Children are being housed in adult prisons across the country — it has to stop

The petition to Attorney General Loretta Lynch reads:

"The Department of Justice must immediately launch an investigation into the practice of trying and jailing children as adults."

You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

It’s a nightmare that plays out across the country. Children are jailed in adult prisons, where they are subject to physical and psychological abuse that leaves lifelong scars.

This week, an in-depth investigation by the Huffington Post shed new, and horrifying, light on what young people in adult prisons face. They are subjected to sexual and physical assault and psychological torture, with little to no developmentally appropriate services or support.

It’s no wonder that, “compared to kids who do their time in juvenile detention, those in the adult system attempt suicide more often, [and that minors] in custody for similar crimes… who had served in the adult system were 77 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent felony than those who were sent to juvenile institutions.”1

In 2013, more than 6,000 young people were in adult prisons.2 It’s a cruel and all-too-usual punishment that requires immediate intervention.

Tell Attorney General Loretta Lynch: Launch an immediate investigation into the practice of putting children in adult jails.

We have a juvenile justice system because children have an amazing capacity for change. Because their brains are still developing, children not only make impulsive mistakes that get them in trouble with the law, but have a better chance to overcome those mistakes and be rehabilitated.

When teenagers are put in adult prison, they lose access to the trained staff and supports of the juvenile system. They also find themselves in an environment that can be actively hostile to their reactive, impulsive emotional state.

According to the Huffington Post report, “Minors can be punished simply for exhibiting typical teenage behavior, like disobedience, not fully understanding prison rules, or not knowing how to cope with anxiety.”3 The investigation uncovered video evidence of conflicts between guards and young inmates. 

Where an older inmate might have been able to comply with guard demands, or remain calm in the face of emotional abuse, young people ended up in situations of appalling physical and emotional abuse — gassed with chemical spray, forcibly restrained, tied to their beds unsupervised, forced to strip naked, and verbally taunted.

The consequences of such abuse are enormous:

There is an increasing body of scientific research showing that when adolescents suffer from extreme stress and trauma, it can inflict permanent damage on their bodies and brains. A study led by the CDC found that children who experienced multiple forms of trauma, such as physical and sexual abuse, had a life expectancy 20 years shorter than their counterparts.4

Children deserve rehabilitation, not abuse. The Department of Justice must launch an investigation immediately.

Young people in adult prisons are subject to rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment from fellow inmates and guards. They are supposed to be protected by the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, which requires “sight and sound” separation of youth and adult inmates. But in 2015, only 10 states reported that they were in full compliance with the law. 5

Young people are also especially at risk when they are subjected to solitary confinement. The devastating impact of solitary confinement was highlighted earlier this year with the tragic suicide of Kalief Browder, who spent more than two years in solitary confinement on Riker’s Island after being accused at age 16 of stealing a backpack. Solitary confinement is torture. Prisoners subjected to it suffer devastating, and life-long, mental and physiological harm.

Our justice system should not be torturing children. Tell Attorney General Loretta Lynch to step in now.

Whether children are charged as adults has little to do with their crimes. Nine states automatically charge 17-year-olds as adults. But otherwise the decision is left to judges and prosecutors who are often affected more by “hidden bias” than by real concerns about public safety. “One national study found that in a single year, almost 10 times more black kids were committed to adult facilities than white kids. Of 257 children prosecuted as adults in Chicago between 2010 and 2012, only one was white.”7

We owe young people who make mistakes the chance to turn their lives around. If the Department of Justice steps in, there’s a real chance that these horrible practices will stop.

We also urge you to take the time to read the important (and shocking) investigation by the Huffington Post: Cruel and all-too-unusual punishment: A terrifying look at life in prison — as a kid 

Thanks for standing up for children.

Children are tortured in police custody. They are held in prisons in inhuman and degrading conditions. They are denied the due process which should guarantee them fair trials. They are held for years without charge. They are forgotten by the world that walks past the bars of their existence.

YES MAGAZINE: "After a three-year crusade of protest, agitation, and organizing, a Seattle City Council meeting on September 21 brought a major victory to a diverse coalition of youth-prison abolitionists and anti-racist organizers.


“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the youth activists.”

In a 9-0 unanimous decision, Seattle’s City Council passed a resolution that fully endorses the goal of zero-percent detention of youth, and called for the city to develop policies eliminating the necessity of their imprisonment."



If the petition no longer works above at some point, there is always something else that can be done....

Activist Teach In; 16 Things Anyone Can Do To Make A Positive Difference

Your activism efforts can accomplish goal in your town.. Just copy the model from Seattle.


What if there was a better way of dealing with misbehaving juveniles? What is the alternative to punishing and locking up juveniles, and/or adults? 

A sacred circle can be formed by anyone, anywhere, including inside of a school, college, church or other group. The value of a sacred circle should not be underestimated. Modern civilization often disconnects young people by the age of 9. Schools often beat curiosity, positive emotional connections, meaning of life, love, a search for truth, empowerment and positive value out of students, in favor of rote repetition, memorization, blind science, and/or 'standards' testing. To some extent, these things can be put back into schools via the following circle programs.

Half of all students drop out of high school and college for these and other reasons. Schools and colleges can feel empty of inner meaning and REAL value to a human being that is more than just a logical mind. 

After a student or adult is trained to be a good factory worker, but not a compassionate spiritual human being, they are often completely lost. A young adult coming out of college often has no real awareness of who they are, the meaning of life, or what their real purpose is in life. They cannot relate in a compassionate or empathic way to another human being, despite being very intelligent, and they have no idea that they are souls inhabiting physical bodies. 


Oakland School System Restorative Justice Circles

Another example of a restorative justice program working in a school

Opening Up, Students Transform a Vicious Circle

Implementing restorative justice: A guide for schools

The sacred circle group can be called anything that the group wants to call it. It may be called a men's group, a women's group, a sacred circle, A Green Road Project meeting, a coffee clatch, an interfaith meeting, or whatever that group wants to call it. The name can be changed along the way, to reflect the wishes of the group at that time, by consensus. This naming discussion may come up on a periodic basis, and that is ok. 


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Children In Adult Prisons Across US; This Cruel And Unusual Punishment Has To Stop! Seattle Passes Resolution To Ban Children In Prison, Restorative Justice As Solution

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