The United States Justice Department started to investigate the complaints against Texas’ Juvenile Prisons. The investigation is part of the aim to overhaul the country’s most troubled prisons.
The complaints against Texas’ Juvenile Prisons include violence and sexual abuse. Advocacy groups and families filed the complaints on behalf of the victims.
The Complaints Are Disturbing
The New York Times reported that in one juvenile detention in Central Texas, a prison officer was charged with sexual assault in October 2019. This came after the prison officer was accused of forcing a boy in custody to perform oral sex on him while in his cell. The incident became news a day after the alleged crime because the boy tried to kill himself.
In another detention facility in Texas, a corrections officer was fired as a teenage girl claimed she was pregnant with his child. The corrections officer was later charged.
Just last year, another prison worker was arrested as there were allegations he had a relationship with a teenager who was on parole. In other complaints filed to the Justice Department, they claimed that guards often resorted to force. There were also reports of gang wars, fights, and suicide attempts at the facilities. Over the years, nearly a dozen of the staff members of Juvenile Prisons were arrested on charges of sexual abuse and the like against the juveniles.
Investigation Comes After Federal Government Urged To Interfere
The investigation of the Justice Department came almost a year after two Texas advocacy groups called Disability Rights Texas and Texas Appleseed filed a complaint to urge the federal government to intervene. The New York Times noted that these two organizations have been working together since 2007 to push for changes regarding Texas’ juvenile justice system.
In light of the investigation, the executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Camille Cain, told The New York Times that they would fully cooperate with the investigators as they share the same goals for the youth in their care. She added that they want to provide safety, effective rehabilitation, and the best chance to lead a productive and fulfilling life.