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Violence Rises at City Juvenile Detention Centers

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A law passed by Albany lawmakers seems to be causing a grim uptick in violence in New York City’s juvenile detention centers. The Raise the Age law directed the city to transition the 16- and 17- year olds being held in the Rikers Island prison facility and other city facilities to Horizon Juvenile Center in Mott Haven and Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn, both managed by city Administration for Children’s Services. While this is disconcerting, to say the least, the numbers of increased incidences of violence speak for themselves.

Violence Rises at City Juvenile Detention Centers

The Raise the Age law moved under age offenders being held at adult facilities to juvenile centers. There are a number of significant differences between Rikers Island, and other adult jails, when you compare them to juvenile detention centers. For starters, juvenile detention centers are more dormitory-like settings. Those being held at these centers do not live in cells behind bars. In fact, during the day, the rooms remain unlocked. Furthermore, those held at juvenile detention centers attend school and are able to participate in a number of other programs and activities.

While there may be no doubt that lawmakers who passed the Raise the Age law had the best of intentions, giving leniency to those underage offenders, the law seems to have had some violent consequences. Underaged accused killers formerly held at adult facilities have now been transferred to city juvenile facilities. In fact, in the last fiscal year, 132 of the 1,197 juveniles being held at either Horizon and Crossroads faced either murder charges or attempted murder charges. That is an increase from 92 in the 2021 fiscal year. The Administration for Children’s Services data shows that there were 257 youth on youth attacks at Horizon Juvenile Center during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022. This is almost double the 135 reported incidents during the same period of the 2021 fiscal year. During the same time frames, incidence of attacks on staff by inmates rose from 128 to 150, an increase of 17%.

A court-appointed federal monitor by the name of Steven J. Martin has also noted the violence plaguing juvenile facilities like Horizon. The monitor has also noted a hesitancy in juvenile detention staff to intervene during violent incidences. He reports that staff members hesitate to physically intervene in such conflicts because they fear for their own safety or they do not trust their staff partners to have their backs if they need further assistance.

Personal Injury Attorney

Problems such as the uptick in violence in the city’s juvenile detention facilities can lead to injury by inmates as well as staff. Attorney Michael LoGiudice is well-versed in the problems and rights violations that continue to plague city correctional facilities and detention centers. If your rights or the rights of a loved one who is currently incarcerated have been violated, you can count on Attorney Michael LoGiudice to pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us today.

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